Duke and North Carolina faced off in Cameron Indoor Stadium for the 249 time Wednesday night. The ticket for the game was a hot one. The average ticket price was $4000 dollars and the lowest ticket prices were around $2600 dollars. There was a report that someone paid $10,000 for a single ticket. The game was a star-studded affair former President Barack Obama, Hall of Fame baseball player Ken Griffey Jr., and director Spike Lee were just some of the celebrities and famous people in attendance.
They all came to watch Zion Williamson and the three other top prospects that will be taken in this coming NBA draft. The excitement and electricity were in the air as both teams prepared for the tip-off. The referee blows his whistle and tosses the ball in the air and just like that the “Sham of Amateurism” continues.
Thirty-six seconds into the game Zion Williamson catches the ball at the free throw line. As he turns to make his move everyone ’s biggest fear happens Williamson slips after his left shoe blows out and the once in a generation player goes down awkwardly and begins holding his right knee. You could feel the air go out of the gym as the fans held their collective breathes as they looked on in horror. Williamson would suffer an injury to his right knee and would not return to the game. He would be later diagnosed with a sprain of the right knee. The injury was not seen as serious and he would be reevaluated tomorrow.
Many storylines and facts will come out of this game. One storyline and fact that should not be overlooked is the amount of money that Duke University, the secondary ticket market, and ESPN who televised the game made off this one regular season college basketball game. Cameron Indoor Stadium has an estimated capacity of 9,314, let's do some quick math.
Including student ticket prices lets say the number for the average ticket price for last night's game was indeed accurate at $4,000 dollars. According to my calculations that means $37,256,000 million dollars was made just in ticket sales.That is an unbelievable amount of money. That does not include concessions and merchandise sells. Now Duke may not see all of the ticket revenue, because a high percentage of the tickets sold were sold on the secondary ticket market. One has to be naïve to think that Duke did not make out like bandits last night making tens of millions of dollars.
The overall point is everyone is making money and benefiting from the talents of these young men except the young men. These young men are not Amateurs they are professionals. We as a society can not continue to hide behind scholarships and amateurization as an excuse not to pay these players. While continuing to profit off the backs of these young men.
Not when that kind of money is being made off one college basketball game. Those days are long gone of just going to school playing basketball an earning a degree. College sports has become big business with the universities, the school administrators, the athletic directors, the conferences, and the coaches making millions of dollars a year.
It is time for the players who are bringing in this astounding amount of money to be paid. The two coaches in tonight's game Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski make a combined $10.9 million dollars a year. Krzyzewski is college basketball highest-paid coach with a base salary of $8,890,000 million dollars a year. Roy Williams salary is $2.1 million dollars a year. Just for a comparison, Geno Auriemma the head coach of the UConn Women Huskies Basketball the most successful program in women's college basketball an arguably in overall college period. Makes a little bit over $2.2 million dollars a year, and yes some women players should be paid as well.
This should not be a conversation of fairness. In a capitalist society, there is no such thing as fair. If you can produce a product, provide a service, or talent that the public is willing to purchase you are compensated. Depending on the product, talent, or service being offered people are willing to pay a lot of money to consume that product. That could not be more evident last night in Durham, North Carolina. People were willing to pay exorbitant prices to consume a product. The product being provided was a college basketball game. The difference this time those providing the talent were not being compensated.
If we as a society want to make things fair pay all the coaches for every sport across the board the same fair salary. That way everyone will be on the same level playing field. The issue is that will never happen, and as long as we decide to keep this NCAA system we are actively supporting a system of exploitation. I'm just happy that Zion Williamson was not seriously hurt and his future NBA career was not ruined, but next time a player may not be so fortunate.