With Regards To The NCAA/’Scholar Athletes’ Hypocrisy…
For the longest time, my stance on this whole thing was — “Pay the players! They’re generating billions for these fat, unathletic oafs in the NCAA and over these universities who do nothing more than sit back and make decisions!” And rightfully so. I do not nullify that argument nor necessarily disagree with anyone who still holds it.
But let’s consider it from another angle for a moment.
In the wake of all the conference shake-ups in the NCAAs recently (The Big 12 conference seems to be imploding before our eyes, as all of its core teams are leaving for the Pac-10, Big Snooze aka Big 10, or even the Mountain West), I began to think. As always everything with the NCAA is done with regards to TV contracts, millions filtered to each school annually and ultimately how to continue to line the pockets of the aforementioned oafs who do nothing but make decisions and aren’t the players who generate the great majority of the revenue for most of these schools. Everything is about money, power and control over resources. EVERYTHING. If you don’t understand that now, just live a little longer so your naiveté has a chance to wear off.
I know the players put a good number of schools on the map that would otherwise not be bastions for academic success without the visibility that NCAA sports has provided them. I know and understand the term “scholar athlete” fully. I still believe that at its core, the INTENTION is pure, but the practice is beyond corrupt and almost always has been (even dating back to the City College Point Shaving Scandal of the early 1950s). These guys get nothing but a full-ride tuition, room and board and a few basic sports-specific amenities. That’s if the NCAA has their way. We all know what most schools, even the mid-level ones, do with their big name athletes who just HAPPEN to go to the school, so I don’t need to delve into that any further.
But as someone who transferred from a Division I basketball school (Long Island — back when Richie Parker and Charles Jones were classmates of mine) and no football, to another Division I basketball school with no football, and saw both schools play it right, I have to wonder about a few things.
Where are we in society today that we place amateur COLLEGE athletes above their classmates? We go to class with them, we party with them, we drink and smoke with them, we play ball with them. But we aren’t getting cars, apartments and clothes/spending money. No shots/no jealousy. Just wondering why our priorities are so misaligned.
I mean, the NCAA prohibits scholar athletes with amateur status from making money. And being an undergraduate student with a full courseload DAMN SURE prevents most sane people from making money (legally) ha, so I guess they just want us all to go to class and be content with having 25-30 years of student loans to repay?
Just like the hustlers and entrepreneurs among us, college is someone an accessory/somewhat incidental. It is not a be-all, end-all for sure fire future professional athletes nor is it for us as entrepreneurs and hustlers. I got my degree, sure, and will get an MBA, JD and Ph.D. to go along with the two licenses I already have, the few others (and certificates) that I plan to get. But most of that was done to maintain credibility, not because I just fully BELIEVE that you must go to college in order to be successful. The best entrepreneurs either did not go to college at all, dropped out shortly after enrolling, or only went to maintain the status-quo in their families or just for personal enrichment.
My point here simply being that if the NCAA is not going to allow the players to be paid, then the players should have their full right to ply their craft in whatever medium presents itself — and be paid in the process. And if that means continued dilution and watchability of NCAA sports, then so be it. Maybe the truest, purest sense of the term “scholar athlete” will allow some people who have the ability to play collegiately (but never get the opportunity because of the one-and-done mentality of the past 20 years) to finally have a chance to showcase their abilities as opposed to being relegated to no scholarship and “walking on” as their only means to play because the school covets a player who can’t pass a class, an SAT/ACT and can barely read and write — all in the name of going 11-1 or 29-4 and winning a national title for the school (which means an extra $10-$30 million; depending on the school) on TOP OF the money the schools already receive for their affiliation with their conferences.
And Notre Dame with its big NBC TV contract.