Let's go back to the Olympics again for a second. Before big TV contracts, we saw underfunded athletes toiling away on neighborhood tracks and rinks for no other reason than the love of the sport and the chance to compete at its highest level. After big TV contracts, skaters, gymnasts, skiers, sprinters and even beach volleyball players became household names, replete with the accompanying endorsement contracts.
TV killed the radio amateur athlete -- at least the top amateurs in telegenic sports.
The same is true of college football and (for a couple of weeks in March) college basketball. It's hard to consider such high-profile college athletes amateurs when they're being hyped on TV every week.