Stanford is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore.

Don’t say you weren’t warned, CAPA.

One of the five witnesses, Stanford athletics director Bernard Muir, told the committee that if his school’s athletes were allowed to unionize, the school “might opt not to compete at the level we are competing in.” And in an interview with USA TODAY Sports after the hearing, he was unequivocal: “If (Stanford’s athletes) are deemed employees, we will opt for a different model.”

“I just know that from our board of trustees, our president, our provost, the Stanford culture, it just wouldn’t be appropriate to deem student-athletes as employees,” Muir said. “We would deem that inappropriate, so for that purpose we would have to look at other alternatives.”

I wonder how many of those alternatives include lucrative broadcast deals.

This, of course, is so much bullshit, as Andy Schwarz, a sports economist who also testified at the hearing, explains.

“The idea that this is a money-losing industry is incredible,” Schwarz said. “If you look at a money-losing industry, you wouldn’t see rising employee [coaches] pay, you wouldn’t see firms flocking to join the industry. The money is in the system. It’s just that it’s being denied to the primary generators.”

Schwarz compared the NCAA to a rich investment banker on Wall Street who makes over a million dollars per year. That’s a lot of money. But what if the same investment banker buys a lavish apartment on the Upper East Side and a vacation home in the Hamptons, and then has some kids and needs to change his lifestyle? Of course, he won’t want to do that and could claim he doesn’t have money to raise his kids. But he does if he reallocates his money.

This is the same predicament facing the NCAA. Its schools need to operate in budget. But they also want to, as Schwarz said it, build “recruiting palaces,” shifting the burden of funding athletes to tax-funded Pell grants.

The phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes to mind, except the big schools aren’t going to walk away from all that money.  They’ll simply bitch and moan about not being able to afford it all the way to the bank.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label

34 responses to “Stanford is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore.

  1. Gaskilldawg

    Yeah, I love to be a fly on the wall when Muir tells his wife he is reducing his salary to NAIA levels. These clowns think we buy the argument that they will “go Ivy League” and still roll in the dough. Not one of them is volunteering to take a pay cut.

    • DawgPhan

      Honey I am going to take a 90% pay cut based on my…..wait where are you going…/screech car leaves driveway/

  2. Normaltown Mike

    An investment banker on Wall Street making only 1 million per year would be tarred and feathered then chased across the GW Bridge.

  3. The administrators can claim all they want that this is about preserving some high-minded ideal of amateurism, but when you hear scorched-earth bullshit like this you begin to peel back the facade and see what the real motives are. Muir comes across like one of those asshole kids who would rather break his own toys than share them.


    I appreciate their comments. I hope they stick to it and have others join them.

    • David

      If Stanford’s values/ethics say we are here to teach students first, which IMHO is the purpose of a College/University, then by all means I agree. But if they waiver on one topic that goes against their ethics/values (ie money revenue from football) then what does that say about what they hold to be true?

      • Dog in Fla

        Shorter version of Stanford values/ethics: Condi and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace (‘War, what is it good for? Profit-Taking’)

    • Dawgfan Will

      If they stick to it, I will be the first to applaud them. I’m not holding my breath, though.

  5. I think this is posturing, but I guarantee Muir didn’t say anything that the President, Provost or Board of Trustees didn’t approve in advance. if Stanford adminstrators decided to go “Ivy,” they have the university endowment to do it ($18 billion+). They only admit about 6% of the students that apply at about $62K (full cost of attendance) each, and those alumni/students probably don’t care one bit if Stanford plays football and basketball at the highest level.

    • LorenzoDawgriquez

      Stanford will be just fine without big time football. Just the opposite of the Alabama “schools”.

  6. Scorpio Jones,III

    All these administrators who are crowding together on the educational moral high ground must have been led to believe their fan bases don’t have access to the web.

    T’would probably be worthwhile for Muir and the rest of his college president club members to learn Google is useful.

    Arrogance is usually its own reward.

  7. Macallanlover

    I also agree with Stanford’s idea of preferring to play at a different level rather than allow the gun to the head approach and having unions, lawyers, and the poor oppressed players, and their representatives, control the sport. I hope UGA follows this path as well. To not do so is “throwing the baby out with the bathwater” because the sport will go away in it’s entirety, imo. I would much prefer to have student athletes play at UGA and those wanting an “NFL Light” minor league of professional athletes to form their own new sport. I have thought this to be the better way for some time now.

    • GaskillDawg

      We have had “NFL Lite” for some time, except that coaching salaries aren’t “lite.” We even are about to get playoff brackets, just as the NFL does. My Hartman Fund contribution is the same as NY Giants Personal Seat License payment.

      The only differences between the NFL economic models are that the NCAA teams just share revenues conference wide and the NFL shares revenues among all members, and, the really really big one, is that the NCAA players are subject to a much lower and uniform salary cap.

      Personally, I would prefer that the NCAA game never got so big time but no one in authority is giving up the revenue stream.

      • Macallanlover

        When I say “NFL Light” I am saying it as if it were a true minor league type set-up where the players are paid for playing as a professional and do not attend school at all. In that case, they would represent a city (really it would be more like a region) and not be affiliated with the university at all. So there could be 8 or so teams nationally and play each other on Tuesday or Wednesday nights for instance. I think it would work well and schools would go back to using “true” student athletes who would have to meet the same admission standards and study loads as any other students. College football wouldn’t have the same great talent but would still be competitive. I could still love UGA football and have a new “southeastern” team of young, developing players.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      We already have ‘nfl light’. There’s plenty of lawyers representing the colleges interests and a multitude of hangers-on. Coaches are paid millions. So it’s only the football players making money that you object to, not CMR or any employee, consultant, etc. – is that correct?

  8. Dog in Fla

    I’ve got a feeling that if that gloomy Stanford athletics director Bernard Muir had been down this way yesterday afternoon and later today watching the Blue Angels (btw, F**k Yeah, America!) practice for an air show this weekend, he’d be the one predicting air-to-surface incoming on us all

  9. Mayor

    Change has happened before in CFB. Some may opt out of big time college football either entirely ( see the University of Chicago) or move to a lower classification ( see the Ivy League). That’s their problem. Those that cannot adapt, die. That’s Darwin’s Law. But if Stanford thinks that by “cutting off their nose to spite their face,” as the Senator said, is the answer one day they’ll wake up and look in the mirror and decide they don’t like what they see–and it will be too late. Just sayin.’

    • Dog in Fla

      Not only that, Stanford’s rhinoplasty procedure should be excluded from coverage for recycling a months-old Delany Division III argument that even he’s too embarrassed to use anymore because it makes him look like Pinocchio, which is not a good look for him.

  10. C.S.

    According to the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford received the most money of any Pac-12 school in 2012 — over $15mil. That’s due to the revenue from the Pac-12 network as well as their bowl appearance. I suspect that number will tick up when they release the numbers for 2013.

    So, yeah . . . sure, Bernie. Sure you’re gonna go to a different model. Sure.

  11. Richard Samuel 4

    I cant wait for all those who want a union to complain the first time UGA players go on strike. There will be some serious flip flopping after that. I unfortunately work with a union. They fight everything….because they can.

    • C.S.

      Why would UGA players be able to strike? First, they’d have to be able to unionize. They can’t do that because even under the analysis employed in the Northwestern NLRB decision, they’re state employees in a “right to work” state.

    • C.S.

      By comparison, Stanford is a private university in California. The analysis of the Northwestern decision would apply to them.

    • You don’t have to unionize to strike, as Grambling’s football team proved last year.

      • C.S.

        Well, true, but (a) technically, I think that what the players at Grambling did was more in the nature of a boycott; and (b) there’s also nothing preventing UGA players (or any other players) from doing exactly the same thing right now.

        You can strike without a union, but you don’t get the protections you get if you strike as a union.

        • W Cobb Dawg

          There’s nothing preventing them, except having their scholly pulled if they don’t play…. So back to where we started. The scholly is based upon their playing football and has little to do with an education.