US Sen. Chris Murphy Issues Report Calling for NCAA to Pay Student-Athletes

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

US Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut addresses the third evening session of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB        (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

The debate over paying college athletes has reached the United States Congress. 

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy released a 15-page report entitled "Madness Inc.: How everyone is getting rich off college sports—except the players," which examines the NCAA and follows the money around football, basketball and other sports.

"I am a big college sports fan, but I think most fans recognize that the NCAA today isn't acting in the best interest of many student-athletes," Murphy said in a statement, per Keith Sargeant of NJ.com. 

"College basketball and football have become a multibillion dollar industry where everyone's getting rich except the students actually doing the work. Frankly, it's a civil rights issue that no one is talking about. That's why I'm speaking out."

The report highlighted the amount of money generated by the NCAA, including $14.1 billion over the past year. It has seen a steady rise since 2003 when there was a total of $4 million made across all sports.

There is also a discussion of specific players, including Duke star Zion Williamson:

"The money all around college sports has particularly profited the corporate interests that find every way imaginable to market student-athletes. Those same corporations have directly fueled the massive growth of the industry, while making sure their margins expand off the backs of 'amateurs.'

"Again, Zion Williamson offers a perfect example, in this case how corporations exploit the unique and immoral amateurism of college sports."

The report pointed out how the freshman was a star well before heading to college but is unable to profit off his marketability.

Paying athletes has long been an argument surrounding the NCAA, with the discussions becoming more prevalent of late, especially after former student-athletes have filed lawsuits against the governing body.

Condoleezza Rice, the chair of the Commission on College Basketball, argued last year players should at least be able to benefit from their likeness

The U.S. Senate getting involved could help push the situation forward.