The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Aggie players mistreated by greedy NCAA


According to a report from Kantar Media in AdWeek, March Madness generates $1 billion in advertising dollars a year, making it “the most lucrative postseason advertising juggernaut.”

More lucrative than even “the respective pro playoffs and championship series of the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League,” with spots in the Final Four sold for as much as $1.45 million each.

The NCAA gets a cut from selling broadcast rights, tickets and sponsorships, and March Madness accounts for 96 percent of the NCAA’s total annual revenue, according to

And yet the NCAA would not allow the New Mexico State Aggies, who helped launch this campaign for cash in the second round, to spend a night in a Spokane hotel after their heartbreaking overtime loss to the San Diego State Aztecs. The Thursday game also started late because the prior game had also gone into overtime.

Officials ignored the clock and made the players check out, hop a 2 a.m. Friday charter flight to El Paso and then a bus to Las Cruces.

Adding insult to injury, the NCAA only sent one bus to pick the team up from the El Paso airport at 7 a.m., though it took three to get them there.

In other words, thanks for playing until you’re not — don’t let the door hitcha’ on the way out.

The NCAA has issued a backhanded apology for the Aggies’ ordeal, saying everything did go according to plan except for the buses, and students need to be in class the day after a losing game.

How many Aggies does the NCAA think actually made it to a Friday lecture after playing the night before, flying all night, waiting 2 hours for additional buses to pull up in El Paso, then traveling up Interstate 10 to NMSU?

Aztecs coach Steve Fisher, who could have been shepherding his team to the tarmac had the score been reversed, calls the win-or-go-home plan “disgraceful” to student athletes and has challenged NCAA administrators to try the grueling travel with the teams.

“See what it’s like to get home at 5 in the morning,” he says “It shouldn’t happen.”

He’s right — when a billion is being made on the backs of college kids who just want to play the game and win, those kids shouldn’t be forced to get the heck out of town like real losers when they don’t.

— Albuquerque Journal


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