So how dire are things with collegiate athletics? So dire somebody actually said this with a straight face:
The NCAA has reached the point on unfavorable legal rulings that retiring University System of Maryland chancellor William Kirwan, co-chair of the reform-minded Knight Commission, said he now views Congress as “our last, best hope for getting anything right with intercollegiate athletics.”
Tom McMillan, former member of Congress and now a board member at the University of Maryland, isn’t willing to see his former mates go that far, but does think a joint Congressional-Presidential Commission wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Eh. In any event, he’s spot on with this observation:
McMillen said the O’Bannon ruling shows public sentiment will continue to move against the NCAA regarding the rights of players.
“You can only put so many fingers in the dikes,” McMillen said. “I think it’s clear that the old model is unraveling, it’s just a matter of time. It reminds me of the Soviet Union trying to keep the old USSR together, and all of a sudden it just broke apart one day. The model is built out of a very flimsy facade that’s falling down.
“The whole idea that players have no rights and they’re student-athletes and they’re not supposed to get anything is just so antiquated. When you go down the commercial road so far, you better be prepared for the commercial consequences. We have swung so far down the commercial road that it may be difficult to turn it back.”
So, is Mark Emmert more like Brezhnev or Gorbachev?