Amateur Athletics 101: The Farce of the NCAA

Written June 8th, 2011 by Eric

tBBC Investigative Reporter Westy drops in to provide another point of view on the recent Terrelle Pryor news.

Continuing the excellent tradition, of having No Clue At All

I had a rough day talking about Buckeye football yesterday, so to prevent myself from getting all preachy to the OSU fan base in my first ever blog post, I’ve decided to take a step back and let feelings and facts simmer for a while before commenting on the events of yesterday.  So lets try something different for now….

I want you to picture something for me, an alternate life for yourself.

Let’s imagine you’re 18.  You’re 18 years old, and you’re about to graduate High School.  Now by the good grace of God you happen to be a financial genius.  You have the talent and the know how to go into the stock market and start earning hundreds of thousands, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  People are already beginning to whisper that you may be the next Warren Buffet, or possibly even greater!  But there’s one problem.  Wall Street recently decided to enact a rule that you have to be at least three years removed from High School in order to trade stocks.

This is devastating news for you isn’t it?  What are you going to do now?  Get a job at McDonalds or something for three years?  Maybe you can go trade stocks in the Canadian Stock Market?  But wait, there is still hope!  Lucky for you the local University has a program for people just like you.  They are going to offer you free room and board, along with a pretty nice monthly stipend of $1000.  You’ll get to practice trading on the stock market under a legendary financial guru, one of the best of his time.  On a frequent basis you’re going to have a place to show off your talents to the big whigs running financial firms on Wall Street.  Assuming you live up to your potential, they’re going to be licking their chops to get at you when your three years are up.  The University is even going to give you free tuition towards a degree in finance!  In return all they ask is that you go out into the stock market and use your talent and trade in their name.  Use your talent and make them millions of dollars, millions upon millions of dollars.  If you’re talented enough you might even make them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Side note: failure to  attend and pass the classes you could care less about, will result in your dismissal from the program, and the full degree will require 4 years of school and cannot be completed in the 3 years you plan on spending there.

Now let me ask you this.  At the end of your three years at the University how do you feel?  Do you feel satisfied that you have finished ¾ of a degree?  Are you happy that you didn’t have to spend money on rent and food for the last couple years and even got some pretty good spending money?  Hey you probably even have some awards from the University for particularly awesome trades you made or maybe to commemorate a good year of trading, trades that netted the University millions of dollars.  Are you happy with this arrangement and how it turned out?

OR, are you upset?  Upset that you just earned hundreds of millions of dollars for that University, and all you have to show for it is ¾ of a degree you didn’t want to begin with, and some knick knacks you may be able to pawn for a few grand?  Upset that you just wasted three years of your life where you could have been making money, and still studying your trade under guru’s who can develop your talent to the next level, without the restrictions of college.

We are kidding ourselves when we call a lot of these college football players amateur athletes.  Whether or not their dreams of football stardom will ever come to fruition, I’d be willing to bet a hefty chunk of change that most of the kids in the top 100 on any ranking web sites aren’t to worried about getting that college degree, and would sign up for the pro’s tonight if they could.  This system we have is a joke.

As I can’t just end this blog on a rant, I will propose a solution I heard floated on the local radio by a call in listener last week.  I’ve looked at it a bit more thoroughly and it seems like a solid idea to me.  What if the UFL came out and said they would start accepting players out of High School into their own draft (I’m not sure if the UFL actually has a draft, but hey they could make one).

They could accept the best of the high school class, the top 50-100 guys, and pay them right away.  It obviously wouldn’t be on par with the millions the guys would like to be making in the NFL, but I would guess they could get at least 30-40k, and maybe up to a few hundred thousand dollars for the best of the best (your first overall picks if you will).  You could argue that right out of High School these kids will never be able to compete with “professional” players, I mean the UFL is full of free agents who couldn’t land an NFL gig for heavens sakes!  But lets be honest here, the UFL is chock full of guys who couldn’t cut it in college, and couldn’t cut it in the NFL.  The UFL is full of the type of guys who were getting pushed around by star freshmen during their Senior years in college.

As an alternative you could have the NFL set up some kind of minor league system, cannibalizing the UFL and probably Arena leagues in the process.

So now your guys out of High School, your financial genius’ if you will, are getting paid to showcase their talent.  They’re getting to practice right alongside guys who have actually played in the NFL, not to mention study under coaches who are often just as good (and I suspect with the added attention the UFL would get nationally, they would attract even more viewers, hence dollars, hence talented coaches).  In three years time they can hop right into the NFL draft, assuming they’ve lived up to their potential.  Problem solved.  You’re by in large only getting the guys who want to be in college in college, the guys who want to go get paid are getting paid… everyone is happy

I don’t know if that would work.  I don’t know what the real solution to this is.  I’m not even sure I know where I’m going to eat for lunch today.  The one thing I do know, is the current system is just an incredible joke.


  1. Jon JohnstonNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    That’s pretty much how it works when you’re a young financial genius. You get to make other people millions of dollars before anyone really trusts you with your money. In other words, you have to prove it. That’s how pretty much everything works, unless you’re Bill Gates and your family already has the money for you to start your own business, and become a successful gazillionaire.
    Stop rationalizing the behavior. It’s wrong. Everyone knows it’s wrong. Does it suck? Yeah. But that’s pretty much how things work.


    EricNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Nice to see you stop by Jon.

    I wouldn’t call this a rationalization of the behavior, merely an attempt to derive some perspective on what happened. We’re definitely not saying that what Pryor did was right (it wasn’t).

    What Westy is saying is that the NCAA amateurism model is untenable in its current form. Its always worth questioning a system, particularly when things hit the fan.

    I would also point out that when you’re a young financial genius making millions for other people, you see some of that come through your own pocketbook in the form of a bonus. Do you see all of it? No, but you’re also not the guy calling the big shots and making the tough decisions.


    DavidNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    The “knick knacks” are the bonus. Unfortunately they are sometimes awarded to people who do not realize how valuable they are.


  2. TerriNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I stopped reading after you called them knick knacks. They should mean more than that after all we are talking about TRADITION….for tatoos…

    Please don’t make excuses for his poor behavior or try to spin it into something that it’s not. They all know going in what the deal is and what is expected.


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks for checking in… you know that Westy was talking about a hypothetical situation with a hypothetical student athlete at a hypothetical institution, right?

    This wasn’t as much of an “excuse” (we don’t do those much around here), as it was a continuation of a conversation that’s been going on for a long time and has ramped up lately. Heck Eric and ESPN’s Jay Bilas were just discussing this on the old Twitterbox last night.


  3. ToddNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Totally agree. I blogged myself on the end of the Tressel saga – albeit on my personal blog which has just a couple dozen readers. I said the only real solution is a minor league for football. Anything else is a joke.


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Give us the link, and we’ll show you some love!


  4. TerriNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I get the hypothetical, it just isn’t well with me. Sorry! XOXO


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    June 8th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Sure… too soon. Completely understandable.


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