Category Archives: post-mandatory-amateurism planning

If and when amateurism ends, the work will just be starting

Yale Bowl construction, 1913. And here our troubles began.

Construction of the Yale Bowl, 1913. And here our troubles began.

Last week there was an NLRB ruling that you may have heard about concerning the Northwestern football team, and there is also a collegiate sporting event this weekend that is fairly well publicized in its own right. This has meant a deluge of polemic on the subject of what is to be done with college sports. I believe the deluge is a positive development, and, even if it weren’t, I’m a good host. So:

Welcome, reformers. We’ve been hoping you’d arrive. I too have my torch and pitchfork, and I trust we can all agree there’s more than one tweak to be made when it comes to revenue sports.

I’m proud to announce I’ve discovered an “ideal of the amateur coach.” Compared to the thin and meager history behind that wobbly and dubious model of the amateur athlete, I can footnote my exciting new ideal something fierce, citing precedents dating back to Socrates. Henceforth coaches will receive no outside compensation, no endorsement deals, no fees from speaking engagements, nothing. Schools can pay for a coach’s room and board and a few other incidental expenses, but that’s it. After all, college sports are not about the coaches. How many people do you think would come out to see John Calipari coach a bunch of D-League players?

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Players may need coaches and colleges less than we think

Correct response of Division I head coaches and the NCAA to this graphic: Uh-oh.

Proper response of Division I head coaches and the NCAA to this graphic: Uh-oh.

The evergreen topic of the NBA’s age limit has popped up again in the news, as it is wont to do every couple of years. Whenever this discussion recurs, it’s informed and to a certain extent framed by two implicit assumptions:

1. Player development is a gift waiting to be bestowed by wise college coaches if only blue-chip Division I programs can get the nation’s best young prospects in-house for a season or, even better, two.

2. College ball and the NBA together comprise a closed-loop pipeline that elite players will always have to navigate, international prospects and the occasional Brandon Jennings notwithstanding.  Continue reading

Mark Emmert is exactly right

Official NCAA mascot J.J. Jumper is actually less efficient in his scoring than Trey Triples or Attila at the Rim.

Official NCAA mascot J.J. Jumper, a markedly less efficient scorer than Trey Triples or Relentless Rim-Attacks. (NCAA)

Speaking at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York yesterday, NCAA president Mark Emmert answered a question about the criticism that’s been directed his way by my ESPN colleague Jay Bilas. “I don’t like the ad hominem attacks,” Emmert said, to which Jay immediately responded: “They’re not attacks. The criticism is fair, and right on.”

As Jay himself is wont to say, reasonable people can differ on the precise point at which substantive criticism becomes an exercise in ad hominem polemic. For Emmert, that point was apparently reached earlier this year when Jay called the NCAA’s head man “an absentee president.” Personally I think that’s self-evidently an assessment of performance rather than a prejudicial slander — pallid grounds for a duel, if you ask me.  Continue reading

Dumb NCAA rules harm athletes with normal bios too

Bravo, NCAA, for vigilantly protecting college athletics from unsavory elements like these Georgia Sports Leagues thugs.

Emmert to Colgate: “Not on my watch!” Bravo, NCAA, for vigilantly protecting opponents of mighty Colgate (KenPom No. 306) from the unfair advantage provided to Nathan Harries after he played three Georgia Sports Leagues games against fearsome opponents like these guys.

By now you’ve heard the outcry over the NCAA’s initial — though perhaps not final — ruling that Colgate freshman Nathan Harries is ineligible to play basketball this season. After graduating from high school, Harries served a two-year mission as a Mormon before playing in three Georgia Sports Leagues games this past summer at the Dunwoody Baptist Church outside Atlanta.

I’ll get to all that in a second, but first a note to aspiring writers. This is a pretty fair lede: Continue reading

NYT blames NCAA for Grambling boycott, World War I, Star Wars prequels

William C. Rhoden swears Grambling has something to do with the NCAA.

Shelbyville understands the connection between Grambling football and NCAA reform.

Grambling State’s football players boycotted last week rather than play a game against Jackson State, a course of action that seems eminently rational when your school’s athletic budget has dwindled to the point that wearing the team’s uniform puts you at risk for an infection. Meanwhile up in Indianapolis, the NCAA fairly swims in all of its cash.

Today the New York Times connects those two dots with help from Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association. Continue reading