Campus Coverage: Of money and madness
By: Matthew Bourgault
I guess while I'm out here in San Antonio, I can take some time off from becoming a minor internet celebrity (Boosie is free!) to give you guys a column.
March Madness is a wonderful time of year. It's a time filled with heartwarming stories and scrappy underdogs. It's also a time of money exchanging hands and statement being made.
This year even more so, with Warren Buffett offering up a billion dollars to anyone who could come up with a perfect bracket.
While that contest is over for this season (in the sense that no one is perfect anymore), there is the possibility that it could be back in the future. Buffett is worth over $58 billion, so it's safe to assume that the guy might be willing to put another one up.
I mean, it's a safe bet right?
The odds of picking a perfect bracket (excluding the completely inept) are somewhere around one in 128 billion, according to DePaul mathematician Jeffrey Bergen. That number is incredibly daunting, and it's likely that we won't see a perfect bracket for a long, long time.
It's almost as if the only way we could ever see a perfect bracket is if the results were pre-determined.
But that would be crazy, right? There's no way that a single entity could fix every game, all 63 (67 if you want to be that guy) contests unnoticed.
This kind of fixing would be a public statement, and I don't know any groups that are trying to make a statement right now.
I don't think there is any underrepresented workforce in America searching for compensation. I don't think there are any people looking to unionize to show how broken a current system is. And if a group like this did exist, they wouldn't have any control over the outcomes of tournament games. Right?
Of course I'm talking about the nation's favorite unpaid workforce, student-athletes. Now before you guys race off to your torches and pitchforks, hear me out.
I used to be like you.
I used to think that an education was enough to justify not paying athletes. But that all changed when I started receiving paychecks.
For a year-and-a-half, I was paid by Creighton University to do this. To write columns that took 400 words to reach a point.
I didn't make any money for the University, and I didn't bring in any (positive) publicity. And yet, I was being paid.
So back to the original premise, how can this group take advantage of Mr. Buffett's billions?
Well, the first thing they would need is an outside man. I offer myself, and I'm willing to serve the jail time if necessary.
The outside man's job would be to fill out a bracket full of absurd picks that no one else would have. This part isn't exactly as hard as it seems. Just throw in a couple losses by big teams and you're pretty much done.
The hard thing would be getting every player on board. This is where money helps. I would find it hard to believe that there are 1,000 players in the tournament, but even if there were, that's $1 million a person.
But this isn't just about basketball; it's about all student athletes. The NCAA estimates their numbers to be around 450,000. That's fine, as each athlete's cut would be over $2,000.
In a single stroke, the student-athletes could strike a blow for their rights while ruining the NCAA's biggest event.
If they get caught, the debate would be moved to forefront of conversation in America. If they didn't, everyone gets paid.
This year might have been a missed opportunity, but there could be a chance that the offer stands next year. Give me a call, student-athletes. I promise not to keep all of the money for myself.