Here’s what the Charleston Post and Courier’s South Carolina beat writer just tweeted about the Clowney signing:
When’s the last time a true freshman defensive end had that kind of impact in the SEC?
I think it’s good that oversigning practices such as the ones Houston Nutt engages in are being questioned more often these days, as a more informed group of recruits and their parents are likely to make better decisions about the players’ futures.
And it’s going to take increased public knowledge influencing recruits’ choices to make a difference, because shame doesn’t work. You can’t shame the shameless.
One irony I’m struck by in reading Michael Elkon’s post about Roger Goodell’s authoritarianism streak is that while many of the “owners” in college football are in fact state institutions, unlike the NFL, it’s the latter that’s managed – quite successfully – to make itself into something that shies away from free market principles as much as possible. It’s a neat trick.
That’s not to say that college football is pristine. With its tax-exempt status, how could it be? But at least there are elements of competition between the conferences and between the schools on the recruiting trail which tend to make the college game more free wheeling than the pro version.
And Michael’s conclusion numbs my soul:
… The NFL has to be careful with resentment on the part of its fans towards its players. That resentment has elements of race and class (a combination of conservative and liberal themes!) and is stoked by the sports media, which often have little food on their table, but have a lot of forks and knives and have to cut something. (See the comment in King’s piece by a tailgater in Cincinnati.) By becoming the avenging angel for fans, Goodell is responding to taste of the market. Not all bad qualities of the NFL are the result of its suckling at the government teat. Then again, if the point is that the NFL is an emblem of authoritarian, state-aided capitalism, then Sheriff Goodell fits right in.
I’m certainly not a Mark Emmert defender, but at least he doesn’t wield the kind of power over players Goodell does. (God help us if he ever does.)
I don’t doubt that the powers-that-be in college football wish their sport’s structure could emulate the NFL more closely in certain ways (most college presidents would give their left arms for an antitrust exemption, I bet), but as a fan, I’d rather have more competition in how things are run than in having a player penalized for sending a tawdry text message. Jim Delany may be a consummate asshole, but if I were a Big Ten fan, I’d sure appreciate the fact that he loses sleep thinking about how to better Mike Slive.
Go back and read this quote from Mark Emmert about paying college athletes:
“I don’t like that idea, I loathe that idea,” Emmert said. “I can think of all kinds of compelling reasons why not to do it. I can’t think of a compelling reason why to do it. . . . There’s a constant discussion that we ought to stop pretending that student-athletes are amateurs, that they’re really professionals, that they ought to be paid.
“I understand that perspective, but I just profoundly disagree with it.”
Even if you buy that argument and extend it to prohibiting players from profiting from their own names, how can the NCAA deny payment to former players? Once they’ve left school, there’s no amateurism left to protect. To me, this is where the NCAA’s sanctimony turns into something more akin to basic greed.
I still think the O’Bannon suit (and the eight others) wind up getting settled, but I have to wonder if Emmert is blind enough to believe his side will prevail. It’s a helluva risk. If the NCAA loses, would Emmert stick by his convictions strongly enough to walk away from a revenue stream that, even if shared, would likely be significant? And if he were, do his member schools share the same sentiment?