Shark Tank star Daymond John appeared on TMZ Live Friday and criticized the NCAA Tournament, calling it “modern-day slavery.”
The NCAA has faced an onslaught of criticism for its handling of student athletes’ well-being and for profiting largely off the backs of players who previously were prohibited from earnning income.
Although the Indianapolis-based organization announced an interim policy that allows student athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness (NIL) — there are still some who criticize the collegiate governing body.
In an interview with TMZ Live on Friday (March 18), FUBU co-founder Daymond John took aim at the NCAA tournament.
“I think this is horrible actually guys — not where the progression is now — but as I dug deeper into it… There’s no other business like this and this is the modern-day version of slavery,” John said.
The esteemed entrepreneur broke down several of the organization’s lopsided revenue streams. “TV rights in 2021 alone made over $50 million; sportsbooks are going to gamble somewhere around 10 billion for March Madness, and that has nothing to do with the merch; what New Orleans is going to make,” John explained. “Other alums who are donating to the schools and selling more entry levels to the schools and the players make nothing — zero off all that.”
“I think this is modern-day slavery and their just giving them a little bit of a crumb,” John added.
In June 2021 the Supreme Court addressed the matter in the NCAA v. Alston ruling stating that NCAA restrictions on “education-related benefits,” such as tutoring or scholarships, for college athletes violate antitrust law.
John’s remarks mirror Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s comments on the matter.
“Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate,” Kavanaugh wrote at the time. “And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different … The NCAA is not above the law.”
The “Shark Tank” investor also clarified that the NCAA is not directly paying athletes now that its NIL policy has gone into effect. Instead, as John notes, it’s businesses, brands and people like him who are paying them for endorsements.
Watch the full interview below: