“The NCAA doesn’t pay athletes because they consider them amateurs. The NCAA considers them amateurs because they don’t get paid.” That’s the succinct description Last Week Tonight with John Oliver included when it posted video (below) of Oliver’s NCAA takedown. It’s an old story even South Park has tackled: the NCAA is a cauldron of contradictions. The schools derive far more financial benefit from their student-athletes than the athletes get, despite a free education. The coaches are millionaires with sneaker deals. The kids can’t accept a free meal. Etc. Etc.
But Oliver pummels the NCAA absurdity with his typical brio. And it’s more satisfying than a long 60 Minutes expose. (60 Minutes ignores the subject, and when it does engage, it goes lightly because CBS pays billions to broadcast NCAA games.) One thing is for sure: the massively commercialized NCAA tournament product that CBS/ESPN offers will be a lot less fun to watch after you’ve seen this John Oliver bit–or bite. So proceed, but be warned.