Tag Archives: college sports

NCAAbsurdity

I love college basketball and really like pretty much all college sports. It's fun watching these kids compete and, especially with the "big" sports like basketball and football, it's great seeing the excitement the teams produce for the students, alumni and the rest of the school's community. All that said the current state of college sports is absurd and hopefully something is soon to be done about it. First let's highlight the absurdity of the NCAA:

Exhibit 1: Walk-ons, aka non-scholarship players, are allowed to participate in team meals but they have to pay for them. "Walk-ons, by NCAA rules, are free to eat team dinners, but they have to pay. It comes out to roughly $15 per meal, which Auslander figured wasn’t fruitful, because that could buy two meals at Chipotle."

Exhibit 2: Everyone but the players is making an absurb amount of money. Sure the kids get a "free" education, but is that really a fair trade when you consider what everyone else is getting out of the deal? Hell, the men's basketball tournament alone brings has a 14 year, $10.8 billion TV deal attached to it. How is it then that a walk on, who isn't even getting a free education, has to pay for his own team dinner?

The absurdity that is the NCAA is obvious, and has been for years, but until now there hasn't been a whole lot done about it. Thanks to a potential class-action lawsuit that might soon change:

Sports labor attorney Jeffrey Kessler has filed suit against the NCAA and five power conferences, alleging that capping player compensation at the cost of a scholarship is an antitrust violation. Unlike previous suits, this one does not seek damages. It wants to tear down the NCAA. "We're looking to change the system," Kessler said. "That's the main goal."

The suit names as defendants the NCAA, the ACC, the Big 12, the Big Ten, The Pac-12, and the SEC. The plaintiffs are Rutgers forward J.J. Moore, Clemson DB Martin Jenkins, UTEP TE Kevin Perry, and Cal tight end William Tyndall, though as a class action claim, it hopes to represent all FBS football players and D-I basketball players.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see college sports stick around, but not in their current form. Hopefully the reform that is most definitely coming will change the system for the better and we'll end up with a something that is fair to all concerned, especially the players, and can be a continuing source of pride for the schools they represent.

 

Priorities at My Alma Mater

Okay, I love my alma mater and I was as proud as anyone when its men's basketball team made the Final Four a few years back, but I cannot say that I'm at all happy that according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch GMU's new basketball coach, Paul Hewitt, is the highest paid state employee in Virginia while the school's president, Alan Merten, is the 11th highest paid.  I'm not gonna argue whether or not anyone working at a state university should be among the highest paid employees in the state, but I am gonna argue that there's no way a coach should make more than the school's president.

The way big time college sports work I'm willing to bet that Hewitt's state salary is probably a small part of his overall income package – who knows what he's getting from endorsements and other sources, but I'm willing to bet it's more than the almost $660k the state is paying him.  (Looky here, thanks to a link at the GMU Hoops blog we can see that the coach is getting $7.5 million over five years thanks to his severance package from Georgia Tech). Major college sports like football and basketball generate a lot of income and, right or wrong, the coaches are able to make a great living regardless of their base salary, so it's ludicrous to have a coach making more in salary than the person in charge of the whole educational enterprise. After all there wouldn't be a team without the school right?

You don't have to be an expert on the college sports industry – and that's what it is, an industry – to know that it's seriously out of whack.  I love what the teams can bring to the campus in terms of school spirit and alumni engagement, but I don't think you have to have a multi-million dollar enterprise to get what I think are those core benefits.  College sports have become a big business and in the process they've totally skewed the priorities on campus.  WTH kind of signal are we sending our kids when we tell them that running one sports team with 12+ kids on it is worth more than running an entire university that serves over 32,500 students on mutliple campuses?  

I'd hate to think what we'd be paying a football coach if we had more than a club team.