So some of the conference commissioners aren’t playing well with each other.
… Tension is high among some commissioners, as Texas A&M of the Big 12 appears headed to the Southeastern Conference in the near future. The Big 12’s Dan Beebe and the SEC’s Mike Slive had a heated phone conversation last week about a potential move, according to a high-ranking college official with direct knowledge of the call.
No worries, mon. Mark Emmert is from the NCAA and he’s here to help.
Mark Emmert, the president of the N.C.A.A., reached out to several top college officials Monday, suggesting a meeting to discuss a less cannibalistic and more collegial way to approach conference expansion.
Is it just me, or does this strike anybody else as a dicey proposition? Where does collegiality stop and collusion begin? For some reason, as I read this, another story jumped to mind:
Soon after being elected commissioner of baseball, Peter Ueberroth addressed the owners at a meeting in St. Louis. Ueberroth called the owners “damned dumb” for being willing to lose millions of dollars in order to win a World Series. Later, at a separate meeting with the general managers in Tarpon Springs, Florida, Ueberroth said that it was “not smart” to sign long-term contracts. The message was obvious—hold down salaries by any means necessary. It later emerged that the owners agreed to keep contracts down to three years for position players and two for pitchers.
That worked out famously.
A final settlement of the three collusion cases was reached in November 1990. The owners agreed to pay the players $280 million, with the MLBPA deciding how to distribute the money to the damaged players.
You’re a college football grand poobah. You’ve had all sorts of politicians sniffing around your
cash cow sport lately, making mouth noises about antitrust enforcement. If you have any sense, sitting down with a group of your peers to discuss ways to, well, avoid competition shouldn’t strike you as the smartest move in the book. (It’s no wonder Emmert told conference officials that he needed clearance from the N.C.A.A.’s lawyers before the meeting could be held.)
The NCAA and antitrust law. Yeah, there’s no reason to think this won’t turn out well.