In 2012 the NCAA reported $871.6 million in revenue. In that same year, the University of Texas’ athletic department generated $163.4 million in revenue. It’s no question that there’s a lot of money in college sports, but the ones who generate the income are not those who benefit from it. Tonight, HBO Real Sports will examine depression among college athletes and the deficiencies in student healthcare.
*The Wreckage. The stakes are high when a college athlete suffers a serious injury and a possible pro career hangs in the balance. Injuries sustained on the field can not only leave devastating scars and require years of painful rehabilitation, but also create mounds of debt that become the athlete’s legacy long after the headlines fade.
Correspondent Bernard Goldberg meets with numerous former college student-athletes who endured massive injuries and discovers that once players are no longer at school, they’re typically on their own to pay medical bills and support their debilitated bodies. He speaks to players from the University of Washington, Oklahoma University, Eastern Illinois University and Illinois State University, who document financial difficulties stemming from medical expenses and the lack of earning potential resulting from injuries suffered while representing their colleges. REAL SPORTS also talks to national health and labor experts, asking how the NCAA and the schools have been able to avoid paying for these injuries and sidestep labor protections available to nearly every worker in all 50 states.
*Under the Radar. College athletes are often regarded as well-rounded young adults, brimming with self-confidence and good character, and in peak physical condition. However, a sizable number of them are currently being diagnosed as clinically depressed. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel examines this alarming mental health crisis and discovers that many athletes report feeling overwhelmed by team responsibilities, performance mandates and academic workloads, while suffering under increasingly abusive coaches who often control their athletic and academic future. Frankel sits down with the NCAA’s chief medical officer, a workplace abuse expert and former NCAA athletes to learn more.
To lend perspective, host Bryant Gumbel will lead spirited discussions following both segments, with panelists discussing the two pieces and tackling related issues at a time when interest in college athletics is exceptionally high.
HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel debuts tonight, March 24th at 10pm est, exclusively on HBO.