“… but they roll in dough.”

Giving the NCAA a hard time is an activity I generally approve of, but the anger/frustration expressed in this USA Today piece doesn’t really do much for me.

First off, I suspect that most people who rail against the NCAA about its, um, recent inconsistencies over its amateurism standards, like Dan Wetzel, see no disconnect in urging that the same organization take a more prominent role in remaking college football’s postseason.  I mean, what could go wrong with that?

And then there’s this:

Critics rail that keeping players amateur — i.e., unpaid — in an otherwise highly commercial enterprise is an injustice. Sales of replica jerseys are an oft-used example. Schools and marketers can profit; the performers who give them their cachet can’t. Multiply that by millions when it comes to game revenue.

“The NCAA amateurism rules are a fictional, oppressive harness designed to protect a plantation-like economic model,” sports attorney David Cornwell wrote recently in SportsBusiness Journal.

Football players of the world, unite!  Throw off that harness!

How come nobody ever gets pissed off at the NFL for its far greater role in perpetuating that “plantation-like economic model”?  Those are the folks who refuse to sign student athletes until they’re more than three years out of high school.   For that matter, what’s stopping any group of fat cats from starting a professional football league that signs kids out of high school?


Filed under The NCAA

15 responses to ““… but they roll in dough.”

  1. You’re playing a dangerous game, friendo. That is, unless you think all the ones-and-dones in college basketball are a feature and not a bug.

    Personally, I think it would be incredibly destabilizing to have the NFL poaching deeper into the college talent pool. That said, I could see how fans of TCU and Boise State would see it as an equalizing force, as their teams would be less likely to be poached.


    • I like the baseball model – sign ’em out of high school or wait three years. I don’t think it would hurt football much at all. And the fiction that the current regime in college basketball maintains is corrosive and needs to be replaced, IMO.

      The problem I see here is that there really is some unfairness in the status quo. I don’t advocate pay for play, but the idea that Georgia can make money off A.J. Green’s name while the player can’t seems wrong to me, mainly because there is literally no other available opportunity. And to make it worse, that extends to the time after the player’s eligibility has expired.

      +1 for the No Country reference, by the way.


      • The benefit of the baseball model is that it gives a player an option, which is something football players currently don’t have, and so, in theory there’s no tears about college not paying if you decide to go that route.

        That said, I don’t think it solves college football’s problem. If AJ goes pro straight out of high school, then, in his absence, UGA would be selling a lot of jerseys with someone else’s number on it, and what’s to stop that someone from seeking remuneration through the black market as AJ did?

        If anything, I think a baseball model could stimulate the black market further. Say Cam Newton has the option to go pro early for something like $250K/year. You think it’s beyond the dog track guy to try to match that?


  2. Normaltown Mike

    The kind of plantation where the most entertaining “victims” bring in revenue so that the other “victims” (that otherwise can’t generate revenue if they set themselves on fire) can receive a scholarship?

    The kind of plantation where the revenue generating “victims” can apprentice for a possible shot at stardom and riches but the non revenue generating “victims” might MIGHT have a shot at Cirque de Soleil or a NASCAR pit crew?


  3. HVL Dawg

    When the NBA was having all its labor strife ten years or so ago I was amazed that the players didn’t just form their own league. I mean how hard would it be to negotiate arena leases, practice facilities, travel, broadcast rights referees, etc. The players have smart agents and business managers. Why do they need the owners? If the top ten league players said they’d form a league they’d certainly have enough capital and star power to pull it off. What would the NBA do about it?

    But for football it takes a lot more capital to start a new league. And the NFL has the Sunday football franchise pretty wrapped up- as the landscape is littered with startup football leagues. So, yes the NFL does have the plantation owner status locked up.


    • 69Dawg

      This is why the PGA gets night sweats thinking about Tiger starting his own tour.


      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        That might have been a threat a couple of years ago 69 but most people I know who follow golf seriously wouldn’t cross the street to watch Tiger Woods play now.


  4. The Realist

    This plantation features some of the best-educated, well-taken-care-of, filled-with-a-sense-of-entitlement slaves in recorded history. If only all slaves had been this “victimized.”


  5. Anybody had to pay for a college education lately? I had a nephew that might not have made it without a football scholarship. How much is a college education worth in the job market today?
    Personally I believe most of the student athletes are out of their comfort zones. Maybe It is time for pro football to start a minor league system. Plantation system my A$$.


    • Stoopnagle

      It’s expensive, for sure; but it’s even pricier if you’re ill-prepared and unable to take advantage of the opportunity.


    • 69Dawg

      With the number os small markets that would sell their souls for a pro-football team even a minor league one, I don’t see any problem with the NFL doing it, other than free is always better.


  6. Anonymous

    The college model is free to the NFL, with much better coaching free to the NFL than the developmental league coaching paid for by the NFL.

    AND, just as importantly, the star players come to the NFL already marketed to the public. The NFL did not to have to spend a dime in promoting the name, “Sam Bradford.” Oklahoma paid the cost of making the NFL’s top draft choice a well-know, and marketable, commodity.