Top college basketball teams from across the nation are facing off over the next three weeks during March Madness. The highly-anticipated sporting event is watched by millions and generates over a billion dollars, but none of that goes to the players.
Meanwhile, an attorney representing four college athletes filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA on Monday arguing that universities should have the option of paying players. "The reality is that it is already pro sports for everybody but the athletes," Attorney Jeffrey Kessler said in the landmark anti trust suit.
Is it time for student athletes to get paid?
In an exclusive online edition of Crossfire, legendary NBA basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar argues in favor of giving college football and basketball players a salary. "There’s so much money being made and the people who are creating this wealth do not get to participate," says Jabbar. "College athletes are vulnerable and if they get hurt, they lose their scholarship, then what?"
USA Today columnist Christine Brennan says that it's not possible to pay them under the current model because of Title IX, which protects people based on discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities. "If we have to pay the football players, we have to pay the field hockey players, and we have to pay the men and women swimmers, and we have to pay the lacrosse players, softball players, baseball players," says Brennan.
Watch the full debate, hosted by Newt Gingrich and Van Jones and chime in: Do you think college athletes should get paid? Join the conversation by tweeting your thoughts using #crossfire or leave a comment below.