So, who said this?
“… The reality is that commercialism and its attendant pressures have been a part of college sports from the beginning.”
If you guessed one of the economists who testified on behalf of the plaintiffs during the O’Bannon trial, you guessed wrong. It’s actually a quote from the NCAA’s O’Bannon appeals brief. There’s something almost admirable about the NCAA’s nerve in the defense it raises – amateurism is a necessary component to its successful business model and has been that way ever since it lost its last big antitrust fight thirty years ago.
When it comes to amateurism, the NCAA and its members have always been more about making money than making sense, so on a certain level, it’s really not worth being too surprised about the apparent lack of logical consistency there. Besides, when you’re defending a business model that lets coaches and administrators make millions while fretting over the possibility that you might have to pay players something on the order of $30,000 over the course of their collegiate careers, logic isn’t really a major concern.
Still, I have to admit I’m sort of looking forward to the day when Mark Emmert faces a congressional committee concerned with college athletics’ non-profit status and has somebody throw that line back in his face.