Your weekly update from the Ohio State press conference as well as notes from around the world of college sports- this week, we take a pointed look at the NCAA after the jump.
You know, to me, I think it’s important for Braxton to grow. He’s continuing we want him to be visual inches anything on the sideline. To me, that’s how most of those guys learn, the more you can stress them to be a visual learner. That’s what I think they are used to. We are really trying to push them along visually to see what we want them to see, as opposed to just listening here and sometimes when you listen here, you know what’s going to happen, so you stop paying attention at times and really processing it in your head.
College Football News
NCAA And Money
Today was an interesting day for me, beginning with the “Nike Announcement” and ending with the NCAA’s decision on the “Charity Cases”. Both impacted Buckeye fans, but for me there was another thread that I couldn’t help but notice… I was reading about all of these things at the same time that I was hitting “refresh” on my favorite source of Conference Expansion news and also reviewing this amazing article in the Atlantic about the current state of affairs in College Sports.
There aren’t many “damn, I wish I’d written that” moments in my life, but reviewing this was definately one of them; it covers the history of the NCAA, the constant struggle against commercialism, wrestling with the academic mission fit in college sports, and the copious amounts of cash that have been a part of the landscape ever since Harvard alumni built a stadium for the Crimson without using any University funding. While I feel pretty strongly that the NCAA is in need of overhauling and significant reform, it’s also my opinion that they’ve been destined for failure from the beginning- trying to fight a flood with a slotted spoon, as it were.
While I think the entire thing is worthy of a read, I want to use some of author Taylor Branch’s work to frame the rest of today’s updates.
In 1991, the first Knight Commission report, “Keeping Faith With the Student Athlete,” was published; the commission’s “bedrock conviction” was that university presidents must seize control of the NCAA from athletic directors in order to restore the preeminence of academic values over athletic or commercial ones.
By 2010, as the size of NCAA headquarters increased yet again with a 130,000-square-foot expansion, a third Knight Commission was groping blindly for a hold on independent college-athletic conferences that were behaving more like sovereign pro leagues than confederations of universities.
The greatest threat to the viability of the NCAA may come from its member universities. Many experts believe that the churning instability within college football will drive the next major change. President Obama himself has endorsed the drumbeat cry for a national playoff in college football. This past spring, the Justice Department questioned the BCS about its adherence to antitrust standards. Jim Delany, the commissioner of the Big Ten, has estimated that a national playoff system could produce three or four times as much money as the existing bowl system does. If a significant band of football schools were to demonstrate that they could orchestrate a true national playoff, without the NCAA’s assistance, the association would be terrified—and with good reason. Because if the big sports colleges don’t need the NCAA to administer a national playoff in football, then they don’t need it to do so in basketball. In which case, they could cut out the middleman in March Madness and run the tournament themselves. Which would deprive the NCAA of close to $1 billion a year, more than 95 percent of its revenue.
The late Myles Brand, who led the NCAA from 2003 to 2009, defended the economics of college sports by claiming that they were simply the result of a smoothly functioning free market. He and his colleagues deflected criticism about the money saturating big-time college sports by focusing attention on scapegoats; in 2010, outrage targeted sports agents. Last year Sports Illustrated published “Confessions of an Agent,” a firsthand account of dealing with high-strung future pros whom the agent and his peers courted with flattery, cash, and tawdry favors. Nick Saban, Alabama’s head football coach, mobilized his peers to denounce agents as a public scourge. “I hate to say this,” he said, “but how are they any better than a pimp? I have no respect for people who do that to young people. None.”
Saban’s raw condescension contrasts sharply with the lonely penitence from Dale Brown, the retired longtime basketball coach at LSU. “Look at the money we make off predominantly poor black kids,” Brown once reflected. “We’re the whoremasters.”
This danger helps explain why the NCAA steps gingerly in enforcements against powerful colleges. To alienate member colleges would be to jeopardize its own existence. Long gone are television bans and the “death penalty” sentences (commanding season-long shutdowns of offending teams) once meted out to Kentucky (1952), Southwestern Louisiana (1973), and Southern Methodist University (1987). Institutions receive mostly symbolic slaps nowadays. Real punishments fall heavily on players and on scapegoats like literacy tutors.
A deeper reason explains why, in its predicament, the NCAA has no recourse to any principle or law that can justify amateurism. There is no such thing. Scholars and sportswriters yearn for grand juries to ferret out every forbidden bauble that reaches a college athlete, but the NCAA’s ersatz courts can only masquerade as public authority. How could any statute impose amateur status on college athletes, or on anyone else? No legal definition of amateur exists, and any attempt to create one in enforceable law would expose its repulsive and unconstitutional nature—a bill of attainder, stripping from college athletes the rights of American citizenship.
a once sober journalistic enterprise has in many ways become a source of entertainment, parceling the failings of intercollegiate athletics into the simple, binary terms sports fans can appreciate: winners and losers, sinners and saints.
Something Completely Different
The best way I can think of to re-configure my faith in college athletics is to remember the young adults whose lives are being changed by these opportunities. With that, here’s the latest tune from Buckeye Evan Blankenship (nice shirt):