Imagine you’re the father of a son playing in the NCAA tournament. Your son likely won’t be going pro, so this is the grandest stage he’ll ever compete on. The NCAA will rake in over $1 billion in revenue from media rights fees, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and a proliferation of television ads from the three week tournament starring players just like your son.
And you cannot watch him pay because the cost of flights and hotel rooms is outside your budget.
This is the sad reality of countless families in this year’s tournament and in tournament’s past, and it’s nearly impossible to think that these families aren’t getting railroaded.
Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, who coaches many players from low-income homes in the Houston area, spoke about this unfortunate dilemma and how the NCAA has to do more to accommodate these families.
“It’s not money, it’s travel. And hotel rooms,” Sampson said. “I had one of my kids — I’m not going to mention who it is — His parents would like to come and the only way they’d be able to is drive.”
“For a lot of people that’s not a big deal. But it’s a big deal for that family. They don’t have the money to do that. So they would have to decide how they would do it,” Sampson said, noting that the family asked if they could sleep on the floor of their son’s hotel room.