Time to pay the players

College sports is big business, and everyone is making out. Except the athletes.

The numbers are staggering: CBS and Time Warner together pay close to $1 billion a year for the broadcast rights to March Madness. ESPN pays $470 million a year to air the College Football Playoffs and related bowls. Nick Saban will make $11 million to coach the Alabama football team next year—and he has several assistants making in the $1 million range. Schools make tens of millions of dollars when their teams wear shoes and uniforms from Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas. They keep teams of attorneys on retainer to shut down any attempt to use their copyrighted logos.

College sports is big business. There’s plenty of money to go around for everyone—except the athletes.