Today, in doing it for the kids

While I don’t agree with those who still support the romance of the NCAA’s amateurism stance, I understand why they do.

What I don’t get is the logic the NCAA puts out to buttress its position.  Like this:

… It’s not enough for the organization to flash a knife and demand players’ wallets; it also has to tell everyone within earshot that, no, actually, empty pockets are good. That’s how the NCAA argues that its amateurism rules — which limit player compensation to tuition, room, board and small cost-of-living stipends, but do not restrict sports administrators such as Alabama football coach Nick Saban from collecting millions — are necessary and justified because they protect and enhance athletes’ educations.

There’s no connection between cash in a player’s hands — or a W-2 form in their mailbox — and their ability to open a textbook or show up to class. But that hasn’t stopped the NCAA from making this case in the court of public opinion and, more recently, in federal court…

It’s one thing to argue that paying players would upset the NCAA’s business model.  (I don’t buy that, but at least I get the argument.)  It’s quite another to say it’s in the student-athletes’ best interests not to get paid.  But that’s what the NCAA insists is reality.

“Maintaining amateurism,” the organization says on its website, “is crucial to preserving an academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first priority.”

Seriously, even if you staunchly support the status quo, does that make any sense?  If you’re somebody who believes it does, I’d love to read your reasoning in the comments about how it’s only student-athletes who are affected in their studies by filthy lucre.

47 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

47 responses to “Today, in doing it for the kids

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    I know it’s mock worthy, but I see the point. Don’t agree with it but I see it. It’s an old time purity argument.

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  2. Derek

    I’ll take a shot at it:

    If a football player is making say 100k a year would it make more sense for him to: a) spend another hour on the books to improve his gpa or b) spend another hour in the weight room to prove he’s worth (or earning) the investment?

    If a coach had paid players in his roster, would he be more likely to ask the kids he is paying to sacrifice academics for a win? This already happens so the question is really about would that line get stepped on with greater frequency/impunity?

    The mindset now is that most of these kids will never make money playing football so get your education first. If they ARE making money already that message is someone lost, isn’t it?

    Wouldn’t it make sense to boot a kid with a 3.8 gpa who isn’t starting in favor of a barely functional retard who will only stay eligible because the pressure on profs to pass kids through is higher given their employer’s cash investment, but is a much better football player than the kid with a 3.8?

    If the schools are paying the players and taking the risks, why have any minimum academic standards at all?

    I don’t think it takes a lot of complex thought or any speculation to come to the conclusion that professionalism would at least risk diminishing the academic priority for the kids, the coaches and for the schools. I think it risks reversing the priorities in everyone’s minds from “get a degree” to “earn your paycheck” and “maximize your paycheck.”

    I also think that it’s in these kids best interests to get a degree. Far too few of these guys will ever make a living at football even if you paid them at 18.

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    • If it’s academics über alles, then why steer S-As to shittier majors so it doesn’t interfere with their jobs… oops, sports?

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      • Derek

        Which to me doesn’t support your argument at all. If we know schools already get their academic priorities wrong, we know what they’ll do with the extra rope right?

        My position has been and remains that P5 schools should significantly raise admissions standards to force prospective student-athletes to either meet those standards or go the JUCO route and prove they can and are willing to do college level work or create an incentive for a minor league.

        College sports is for college students.

        We demand excellence on Saturday. We give not a shit about what these kids do Monday-Friday. We need to stop using them and stop offering them band aids to make ourselves feel better about it.

        College students who happen to excel at sports AND who want to spend the time to represent their schools IS the model. The New York Giants is not the model.

        Isn’t Stanford a better ideal for this sport than the 1980’s Sooners or the 1990’s Hurricanes? If we had to choose an ambition for this sport we supposedly care about which model would we strive for?

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        • Derek, you’re arguing something that, while noble, has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of my post. Nor has the NCAA or any school made a similar point in defending amateurism.

          As for “We give not a shit about what these kids do Monday-Friday. We need to stop using them…”, you just made a good case for paying them.

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          • David Chadwick

            Right. Empty pockets make them more likely to bring frying pans to a dispute with the local athletic supporter/bookie.

            Pay them. They’re frigging employees. Period. If you’re going to hang on tooth and nail that they’re students? Leave the SEC and play the University of Chicago and other like-minded schools. They left the Big-10 over athletics over academics. Y’all want season tickets to that?

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          • Derek

            You changed the topic with your response to my initial “on point” post regarding risking the academic mission.

            I have said and continue to say that a model that exploits these kids is a model under which I’m happy if they make millions. I just don’t think fucking these kids is an immutable characteristic of college sports and I don’t think it should be accepted. I’d rather start over by doing things correctly as the ambition and not conceding intolerable flaws that just need a few corrective measures to become somewhat more tolerable.

            It’s like saying: should a battered spouse be allowed a helmet? I say why don’t we stop beating her ass? Your response is, well we know she’s getting her ass kicked, let’s get her some protection.

            I prefer to go back to first principles, but I would concede that if beating her ass is entirely and completely unavoidable, I am pro-helmet. I just don’t think the helmet is the optimal solution to the underlying issue.

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            • I didn’t change the topic, but simply responded to your take.

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              • Derek

                Well this has devolved.

                Why can’t we just admit that you’re on the “it’s irretrievably fucked but we can at least make it fairer on the fuckees” side and I’m on the “maybe we can still save this because it’s worth saving” side? Aren’t both positions defendable?

                I’ve admitted that I’d side with you if your premise is correct and I’d assume that you wouldn’t have been standing on the sideline in 1908 saying “these guys need a salary” because the impetus for that thought hadn’t yet showed up.

                Would it make you feel better if my position was based on some racist notion that they’d waste the money on tats and Nike’s? I know that’s an easier target but that’s not where I’m coming from.

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                • It’s not a question of whether your position is defensible. It’s whether it’s relevant to my post.

                  I’m not asking if players should be paid, man. I’m asking if the NCAA’s argument that paying them interferes with the academic mission makes a lick of sense.

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                • Derek

                  See above. You didn’t respond. You changed the topic. I gave three examples and your response was in essence the risk is already present. While true that’s not the question. The question is whether it’s put at a greater risk than with out it.

                  It’s like speed limits. Is there a greater risk if you raise it to 85?

                  The answer isn’t: people get killed doing 40!!

                  That’s a deflection.

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                • LOL. The problem is that I didn’t ask the right question, so you’ve taken it upon yourself to fix my post.

                  Dude, you need to start your own blog. Here, I get to ask the questions I want to ask.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Derek

                  And I answered the question. There’s nothing in my initial reply that doesn’t specifically address the NCAA quote in your post:

                  “Maintaining amateurism,” the organization says on its website, “is crucial to preserving an academic environment in which acquiring a quality education is the first priority.”

                  My reply is entirely on point. I don’t know how you can say otherwise other than you didn’t think it could be done OR you’d just rather a cogent defense of the statement not exist here or perhaps anywhere.

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    • CB

      It almost makes you worry that athletes would literally get worked to death under a professionalism model… What’s that? They’re already dying at practice?

      Well, at least the NFL is a lot more dangerous… What’s that the NFL’s professionalism model and players union have negotiated practice standards that have almost eliminated the issue of work related deaths?

      Well dang.

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      • Derek

        The question was: does professionalism risk the academic mission?

        So that’s what I addressed. It wasn’t, as a I read it, a work place safety post.

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        • Got Cowdog

          I don’t want to be banned for being off topic, but I would like to congratulate Derek for arguing his point without resorting to name calling, profanity, or personal insults. Good job, buddy!

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        • CB

          “If a coach had paid players on his roster, would he be more likely to ask the kids he is paying to sacrifice academics for a win? This already happens so the question is really about would that line get stepped on with greater frequency/impunity?”

          I was responding to these questions. Yes, you were referring to academics, but I was making the point that, academics be damned, college coaches literally put kids lives on the line under the current model, and it doesn’t get any worse than dying. This is not the case under the professionalism model in the NFL because of collective bargaining among other factors.

          If we wanted to have an honest conversation about academics under the current model then we could certainly get into countless examples of no-show classes, academic fraud, stand in test takers, and “athlete majors” that a lot of these kids are herded into.

          I understand your point about Stanford and raising academic standards, and it’s not without merit, but I’m not in favor of any model that could potentially rob us of top notch talent. Many athletes attend colleges that they likely would have never been accepted to if it weren’t for athletics, but sending them JuCo doesn’t improve them academically anymore than accepting them in the first place. I can tell you that from a place of 5 years professional experience.

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          • Derek

            What about college sports make “us” deserving of “top notch talent?”

            To me that’s just absurd.

            If the NFL swooped in tomorrow and offered $ to that”top notch talent” would you propose colleges exceed their offers based upon some idea of entitlement?

            Frankly nothing would make me happier than if the kids who can play pro ball are allowed to exploit those talents at the earliest possible moment. Lattimore having his leg ripped off as a junior is nuts. That kid was ready for the league and arbitrary bullshit fucked him forever.

            Did we deserve to watch Lebron and Kobe play college ball? Really? I say they deserved the millions that no college was going to pay.

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            • CB

              Ah , moral grandstanding FTW.

              A. The NFL isn’t going to swoop in, but if they did I say take the money son.

              B. I’m in favor of paying the players because they deserve it. None of us deserve to be entertained by anything, but that’s way out of left field.

              I’m not sure what your position is to be honest.
              -You’re saying paying the players will make academics worse (and I gave you real life examples above as to why that wouldn’t happen) which makes it seem like you don’t want them to be compensated, yet you also want them to be able to play pro (which isn’t an option cuz NFL).

              Then you say academic standards need to be raised, but you don’t like the D-III model (which does just that).

              You’re all over the place.

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              • Derek

                Intelligent arguments are hard. Saying we don’t want to be “robbed” of top notch talent is easy.

                My position is this: Have athletes get into a school on the same academic basis as everyone else. That way sports is a choice made by students. No one is being used and nobody is being taken advantage of. There is a completely mutual and presumably beneficial arrangement. If the student plays at a high level the school can comp the tuition that the student would otherwise being paying.

                In other words, bring the existing arrangement that works fine for soccer, volleyball, track, equestrian, gymnastics etc… to the the revenue producing sports. Simple.

                Non-qualifiers can go to JUCO and then declare for the draft or transfer to a university again, like anyone else can.

                If game tickets get cheaper and coaches salaries go down, good. There’s a market for pro football fans to run to. Pro sports don’t belong on college campuses.

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                • CB

                  Thank you for informing me that I’m dealing with an intelligent arguer. Otherwise I might not have known.

                  “Non-qualifiers can go to JUCO and then declare for the draft or transfer to a university again, like anyone else can.”

                  I think you’re going to be pretty excited to find out that it already works exactly as you’ve described. You will however probably be disappointed to learn that theses athletes don’t magically become better students after spending a few semesters in Mississippi or Kansas. Most JUCO’s have easier academic standards than the high schools these kids came from. In fact, the JUCO’s that win the most typically do so because they get the best talent, and they get the best talent because they have the easiest academic standards required for these kids to graduate with a two year degree while maintaining the 2.5 gpa necessary for D-I NCAA transfer, which allows the coaches to say “Come to my school where it’s easier to graduate and get to the SEC.”

                  In other words, your solution isn’t a solution. It’s not a bad suggestion, but that’s not how the system works unless you have plans to revamp the NJCAA academic requirements (which might not be a bad idea).

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                • Derek

                  My goal isn’t to necessarily have scholars. My goal is to have students there who are doing the work and who value the opportunity and get no entrance favors because they can play and then complain they don’t get fairly compensated for their athletic talents. That’s the goal. Whether a JUCO in MS is less than Harvard is irrelevant. What’s relevant is that the kid has to show up, go to class, take the tests, etc… He’s earning it and not by running a fast 40 time. He has to show he gives a shit and that he values the opportunity.

                  The existing system rewards poor academics, encourages exploitation, is demonstrably unfair to a kid who is shuttled into useless classes and majors and then throws them out when ability or eligibility is exhausted.

                  It seems to me that we have a choice: do we want the Georgia Bulldog football team to be more like the NY Giants or more like the Stanford Cardinal.

                  That’s an easy choice for me. It doesn’t have to happen all at once and it doesn’t have to be perfect. You just have to have a goal in mind and work towards it. You don’t throw your hands up and say fuck it, pay them.

                  However I would concede that as long as things like UNC and Harrick Jr. class are regular occurrences, compensation makes sense. I just don’t think we have to accept those things. I think we can do better.

                  For example my ideal for a kid like Blankenship couldn’t be better all around. He got into school like everyone else, walked on and now he’s a fucking legend going to school for free. You think he thinks he’s getting a raw deal?

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                • CB

                  Blankenship didn’t come from abject poverty. I completely understand your position, but I don’t think you’re fully taking into consideration the socioeconomics of the situation. Basically, your model is going to leave a lot of kids out, and with no pro leagues to turn to then they’re stuck. Now you might say “college isn’t for everyone,” which would be a fair point. I think one plus of this messed up system are the Malcolm Mitchell’s who likely would have never been accepted to college without athletics. The kid could barely read, but now he’s writing children’s books. Your model leaves him stuck in Valdosta.

                  With regard to NY Giants v Stanford. Giants have championships and Stanford doesn’t so as a fan of the football program that’s not even a question. With regard to the greater academic goals of the institution itself you have a point, but the academic standards for UGA as a whole are increasing steadily and as such my degree looks that much better with each passing year so I say pay the kids what they’re worth and make academic standing part of their clause in their contract. Wouldn’t be a perfect solution, but it would be better than what we have now. Blowing the whole thing up isn’t a realistic solution.

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                • Derek

                  I do take socioeconomics into account and I think the advantages that athletes get leads to them and everyone like them suffering academically. My assumption is that if none of the kids at Carver-Columbus couldn’t get into a decent college they would do something about that.

                  That said I am not opposed to affirmative action for poor kids. We know schools in poverty stricken areas (rural and urban) suck but we shouldn’t let the ability to entertain us be the thing that makes a poor kid worthy of our attention.

                  Malcolm would be fine at juco. Jucos take everyone. There’s not any excuse for not going to college. If you don’t it’s because you don’t really want to.

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            • CB

              Also, I thought we were talking about academics lol.

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  3. Those kids are just going to go to college for the money, and if they get too much too soon it will corrupt their moral development, spiritual development, class note taking development, rural development, urban development and lets not forget their developmental psychology This slippery slope will hurl them into a MC hammer like spending bender leaving them penniless and forcing them to cash in on their names (copyright 2018 NCAA), thus throwing them into the depths of a existential dilemma. Who are they? What are they? What is life? Why am I here?

    Everyone listen up. Let the NCAA take care of that pesky money business so Kids can keep clear minds and pure souls. Its for the best.

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    • sniffer

      Here’s a take, Twist. Pay ‘em. Pay’em the market value for their output and value. Make them pay for their education. Nothing free. Nothing. Theyz on their own.

      I’m not arguing your point. Making one that would surely follow.

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      • JCDawg83

        Here’s another take; don’t pay them and don’t give them scholarships for playing sports, use the D3 or high school model. Make athletes gain admission first before they are eligible to play too, no special acceptance rules for athletes.

        The quality of college athletics would go down but it would end the controversy and force the NFL and NBA to abandon their ridiculous age limit rules. It would also take most of the money out of college athletics and bring sanity back.

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  4. Their position may hold water if these guys were studying subjects like molecular biology, quantum mechanics, electrical engineering, and financial modeling. The fact they are in interdisciplinary studies and other similar subjects.

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  5. Geezus

    How about this: For student athletes that are working toward a business or finance degree (splitting hairs, really any degree), they can earn (based on percentage of degree completion) a wage (i.e. market value for their services) that increases commiserate to degree completion. For those that are competing after completing their degree, they get full market value compensation. I bet that the schools would see a boon in athlete academia (if that’s what’s important).

    I mean it’s supposedly about the piece of paper, right? Once you have a degree, isn’t your training mostly complete and you are considered a (semi at least) professional?

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  6. Senator you know my stance on paying the players etc. However I agree with you that this argument is dumb.
    The only reason the rules are as they are is because the old system (of allowing part time jobs) became unenforceable due to the abuse by some if not many/most schools/boosters. A student Athlete would get a “job” but never or rarely performed the work. Instead they worked on their sport’s craft or did nothing at all. I witnessed this on more than one occasion. After a number of years of this they moved to the present model. To do otherwise is simply opening recruiting to the highest bidder without so much as a blush. That is not the purpose the Student Athletic departments were created to fulfill.

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    • AusDawg85

      This is what irritates me the most. The two-faced NCAA (which are the administrators of the member institutions) are making a huge money grab at the expense of the top SA’s while ignoring finding an honest solution to the dark money recruiting bidding war that always existed. The Not paying players = preserving amateurism argument is a cover for their theft. They could put in better rules and investment in enforcement if they wanted to really limit sham payments to players and dark money in recruiting, but why bother? It would come out of their pockets so just keep defending the status quo.

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  7. Normaltown Mike

    Why do they deny that for many athletes, playing 3 years under a Saban or Smart IS an academic education and prepares them immensely for a career after college.

    I’m willing to bet that Roquon is earning more in his first year out of UGA than any of his former classmates. His time in the B-M building is what prepared him for such success.

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    • 92 grad

      Yeah, it’s frustrating. To make it “real” the university’s college of education would have to design a 4 year curriculum specifically about football, basketball, and whatever else they choose, which would be called a degree program a student could major in. The degree program would then be submitted to the board of regents for a vote/approval. Having football be a formal degree program opens up a large can of worms. The coaches would need to be tenure tract faculty and subjected to the requirement that every course would need to be outlined and available to the public. There’s a lot more to it that doesn’t need to be hashed out here.

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  8. JCDawg83

    I am strongly in the don’t pay the players camp but even I think this argument is stupid. This line of reasoning by the NCAA brings up an old saying my father uses when someone is telling him something patently ridiculous and expecting him to buy it; “don’t pee in my face and tell me it’s raining”.

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  9. W Cobb Dawg

    If people are paying to see the kids play, then the kids deserve a share of the money – end of story. The alternative is redistributing the wealth, and the ncaa is all about limiting who gets a say in that redistribution.

    I could just as easily turn the ncaa argument around to say the cost of admission should be considerably lower, as my attendance supports the amateur experience.

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    • JCDawg83

      Do you feel the same way about high school sports? If not, why not? If so, how about middle school and traveling sports teams? People pay to see kids play all of those sports too.

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      • W Cobb Dawg

        Absolutely. If they put the work in and generate sufficient funds to deliver a surplus, then yes, they should receive a cut. No question about it in my mind. Far better than the kids doing all the heavy lifting while the benefits of their labor go to others – without the kids having a say.

        Otherwise, the funds should go to a charity or the public coffers – i.e. somewhere for the public good. Definitely not siphoned off by administrators, facilities for boosters, coaches, excessive salaries, etc., etc. (see ncaa).

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  10. Got Cowdog

    If you put a kid’s name or picture on something and sell it, the kid gets a cut.

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