They just happened to do build it on the backs of underpaid immigrants and the occasional child laborer, which was all fine and dandy until those people started demanding rights. They got them, eventually, and into history went the era of the robber baron.
However, there is one important thing these men taught us which is still relevant — exploitation is a terrific business model. It’s just so damn hard to practice these days.
Fortunately, the commissioners of the NCAA’s major conferences and their compliant university presidents — men like Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany — have found a way to bring robber baronhood back into style. It’s called making millions off of unpaid student-athletes, with the “student” part sometimes being optional.