The people in them and on them? They kinda sorta don't get paid.
Last year, former college star Ed O'Bannon sued the NCAA in federal court for profiting off of his name and image without his consent or compensation. And in August, a judge in California actually ruled against the NCAA, stating that college athletes must be paid when they appear in things like video games, advertisements, and merchandise. But the NCAA is still fighting the ruling.
The NCAA relies heavily on the argument that... the NCAA says protects amateurism in college sports. The 1984 Oklahoma v. Board of Regents case that ended the NCAA's monopoly on television contracts includes this passage from the Supreme Court: “in order to preserve the character and quality of the (NCAA's) 'product,' athletes must not be paid, must be required to attend class and the like."
The "character and quality of the NCAA's 'product.'" I'm just going to ... leave that right there.
Still, if you squint at things the right way, if lawsuits like these, combined with Northwestern's historic unionization drive, are finally making famous popular TV folks like John Oliver stand up and take notice, it could make it seem like we're actually on our way to some real progress on this issue.
But then again, I picked North Dakota State to go all the way this year, so what do I know?