Dick Vitale didn’t even need to be prompted to bring up the hypocrisy that underscores college sports in the middle of a conversation about the NCAA tournament last week.
“I’ll tell you this, kids like Zion (Williamson), they deserve to make some money,” Vitale told SB Nation. “There’s no doubt in my mind. Want to get rid of all the sleaziness? Want to get rid of the agents behind the scenes? All the wheeling and dealing and nonsense we read about? It’s very simple.”
Vitale has had a four-decade career in broadcasting after coaching both at the college and NBA level in the 1970s. Months ahead of his 80th birthday, Vitale continues to be one of the sport’s biggest and most visible cheerleaders. When even Dick Vitale can see the sham of athletes going unpaid while billions of dollars shuffle hands below them, you know the NCAA has a problem.
“The NCAA can’t pay the players,” Vitale continued. “Don’t have enough money they say to take care of every athlete in all sports. If a kid is good enough, and an agent wants to give him money, let them give him money. If Zion wants to get an agent, what’s the big deal? What about if you make an appearance, and do endorsements, why not? Let them do it. Let kids do that.
“If Taylor Swift was on campus as a student, she’d be allowed to do concerts and make millions. Certain kids in every profession, be it the corporate world, the legal world, people on the top and people on the bottom, can make those dollars. Why should we deny them? It would get rid of all the sleaziness because now you don’t have those sleazy guys operating because it’s legal.”
Vitale talked to SB Nation about the favorites in March Madness, his way way of getting more mid-majors in the NCAA tournament, and his love of live music all while promoting paper towels and dishing out recipes with Bounty.