This week the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) launched NCHC.tv, a website that will stream most (like everything involving money, there are contractual restrictions) games and features highlights of hockey action from all eight teams across the conference. In its second year of operation, the NCHC is joining other major conferences in creating conference entertainment packages.
But what is unique about NCHC.tv compared to other conference sports networks such as the Big Ten Network, Pac-12 Network, and the SEC network? NCHC.tv is strictly online and not connected to any particular TV cable package (hence, the dot-tv).
Similar to those other major conferences, though, it will cost you. $89.95 to be exact ($81.95 if you sign up before Sept. 25! Think about the Wooglins turkey avocado bacon sandwich you could almost get with those 8 bucks).
I support this move by the NCHC, and despite the price, I anticipate it will be received well across the NCHC (especially by the season ticket holders not living on a college budget). Nonetheless, it brings to light an even bigger issue—the millions of dollars made off of these college athletes’ performances.
At the “Big 5” conference level consisting of the major football and basketball programs across the country, we are talking about hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars, none of which goes to the athletes.
Certainly scholarships, education, and housing are valuable commodities that are exchanged for play, but the pie has grown even bigger, beyond ticket and merchandise sales due to these online viewing packages. Especially with the addition of major TV networks, it’s about time these student-athletes get a piece of the profits.
I support paying college athletes—not on a pro level, of course—but they should get a respectable share from the money that’s brought in due to their hard work. Perhaps a stipend of between $5,000 and $10,000 a year would compensate a player whose program brings in millions of dollars to its university.
Growing up in Michigan, I was lucky to be able to help pack “The Big House” where over 110,000 other crazed football fans paid to see the University of Michigan’s home games. Even before you factor in these multi-million dollar TV contracts, the opening game of football at U of M pays for every other varsity sport the university has to offer for the entire year. Imagine what they do with the other games’ revenues.
This surplus is not unique to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Student-athletes across the country are helping fund institutions beyond the athletic facilities and into the classrooms. While it’s understandable that college athletics make so much money and continue to expand the ways in which they profit, continuing to not pay the workers—the student athletes themselves—is not acceptable.