When it comes to stupidity, the NCAA is a bottomless well.

Mark Emmert’s organization, putting the loco in in loco parentis:

The NCAA issued a memo to agents Monday, outlining new certification requirements to represent players testing the NBA draft waters.

In the memo, obtained by ESPN, the NCAA outlined new criteria for agents: a bachelor’s degree, NBPA certification for at least three consecutive years, professional liability insurance and completion of an in-person exam taken at the NCAA office in Indianapolis in early November.

… Agents also will need to fill out an application and clear a background check.

What having a college degree has to do with being able to guide a college player through the draft process I have no idea.  But I don’t think that’s really the NCAA’s primary concern here, or even its secondary one.

Here’s a hint:  In the application, sources told ESPN, agents are also required to agree that they will cooperate with the NCAA in investigations of rules violations, “even if the alleged violations are unrelated to [their] NCAA-agent certification.”

Yeah, that sounds more like it.  I suspect it will also help future opportunities if, as an agent, you don’t try to push all your college clients into jumping pro early.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, and all that.

This is an invitation to yet another antitrust suit.  Too bad dumb isn’t a source of energy.  If it were, the NCAA generates enough to power a small city.

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5 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

5 responses to “When it comes to stupidity, the NCAA is a bottomless well.

  1. BMan

    Can Lori Loughlin or Felicity Huffman arrange for someone to take the in-person exam for you in Indianapolis?

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  2. James

    As a longtime reader (and one that adores the literal football content) and first-time commenter, this particular post may not be the hill to die on, but I just don’t get the incessant NCAA and coach-bashing (as it relates to player transfers, payment, etc.). I’m no fan of the NCAA (see A.J. Green and Todd Gurley), but how many industries have barriers to entry? These same kids CAN know more about the law than many attorneys ever will without taking the LSAT, enduring three years of law school, and passing a state bar exam. More than a few could teach a middle school social studies class without a BSED and passing the GACE.

    Naturally, I don’t find the scoffing at a barrier to entry for agents particularly outrageous. Does it require the expertise of a surgeon? Of course not. But as long as people have to pass classes and tests to do anything, I don’t really care.

    More directly, to the larger points often made on the subject, do contracts or conscious, personal decisions count for anything in this discussion? Just like I knew I would not be paid to be a college football player, I knew that I would not be paid to be a business management major or an education major. I also knew that when I changed majors that the requirements would be different. In both fields, I knew that I would not be paid for my internship or my student teaching. Before, during, and after college, I knew that my bosses had different duties, responsibilities, and expectations. What boss doesn’t have privileges his or her subordinates do not?

    Even as a kid, I knew that the teacher could eat a Snickers when I was not allowed to eat in class. Did it look and feel unfair? Sure. But you know what? I eventually became that teacher and had privileges my students did not and understood things my students did not. They might gripe if they saw me eat in class, but they didn’t realize I would routinely give up my lunch and/or planning period to cover a class that did not have a substitute teacher. Maybe there was a medical reason for other teachers. Or maybe, screw you, kid. I have a different set of rules and I worked my butt off to be here and I’m going to eat an effing Snickers. When you graduate college, pass the GACE, and get the same job, you can eat all the Snickers you want. By the same token, Saban and Smart weren’t hopping from school to school for millions of dollars at 19 years old either. And neither made the millions as professional players that these kids stand to make. It’s different abilities, life choices, apples and oranges, and all of that. PLEASE, EVERYONE, quit equating people in different jobs at different stages of life. It is absurd.

    When did accomplishing the same things as those above you to attain the same opportunities and privileges become unbearable for any and every segment of society? That’s called “life” in virtually every profession. If college football players want to jump ship from one college program to another for millions of dollars, it doesn’t hurt my feelings if they want to develop the skills of a Nick Saban or Kirby Smart and climb ladders of entirely different skill sets for a few decades to do it. Until then, there are an awful lot of guys that can run fast and follow directions.

    All that said, if and when the NCAA, the SEC, or UGA decide to pay players (just as they’ve loosened transfer rules), I have no problem with it. I just don’t see the great injustice being done when two entirely different parties sign entirely different contracts to do entirely different jobs for entirely different compensation and are welcome to do anything else they please instead of signing said contracts.

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    • James, thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      I’m puzzled by your use of the term “barrier to entry” in the context of a labor market. It’s been a while since I’ve sat in an Econ class, but I remember being taught the term applies to high start-up costs or other obstacles that prevent new competitors from easily entering an industry or area of business.

      What student-athletes face is an illegal cartel. You’ve spent much of your comment personalizing the issue, which is fine, but I wonder how you would react if every employer in your line of work got together to limit your compensation artificially. And that’s without a contract, by the way.

      For me, what it boils down to is that I don’t see a coherent reason for these kids to be denied the same opportunity to market their skills as anyone else in our economy does. No offense, but your comment didn’t change my mind in that regard.

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      • James

        Thanks for the thoughtful response, Senator.

        I believe there are broader uses of the phrase “barriers to entry” that could apply here, but if it was poor word choice, the point is that there are various requirements, standards, certifications, etc. for many occupations, some of which may be of debatable necessity or value. I don’t really care if sports agents face something of the sort.

        As for student athletes, I’m not going to pretend to understand the finer points of why some alleged cartels or monopolies are allowed to exist and others aren’t, but I’m not sure how different their situation is from that of others, specifically educators. Small local supplements vary, but most of a teacher’s salary comes from the state and is the same across the state (for teachers with the same certification and years of experience). Factor in the typically lower teacher salaries at private schools and were public schools not similarly “limiting my compensation artificially” when I was in education?

        Whether or not you would consider public schools an illegal cartel in a similar way (and I’m not saying I do), to answer your question, no, I did not love that I could not do my job well enough to earn a raise or that “competing” school systems all offered essentially the same compensation. But I knew the deal, just like these kids do. If I wanted to teach, this was the system within which I had to work. If someone wants to play football, this is the system (for now) within which they have to work. In that way, there is a loose comparison that can be drawn to probably any career path. They all have hoops to jump through and games you have to learn to play to advance, including, but not limited to, unpaid internships, entry level jobs, etc.

        Again, if there is a better way to do it that involves paying players, fantastic. I actually think it will happen eventually and that’s fine too. I just have a hard time summoning much outrage over someone understanding and agreeing to terms that have essentially always been the terms. They don’t have to play football any more than I had to teach. Teaching was eventually not worth the arrangement to me, so I did something else. But if they WANT to play football, apparently something about the current arrangement is attractive enough as it is. Maybe it’s the education, the opportunity to play in the NFL, or both, but they’re still willingly doing it.

        That said, the trend of draft eligible players sitting out bowl games is interesting. I don’t blame them and I’m not sure it will catch on with enough relevant players in enough relevant games to move the needle on compensation, but if they want a different deal, those are the kinds of things more players will probably have to be willing to do. It will be interesting to see if and how one impacts the other.

        Last couple minor points/questions:

        I’m not sure I follow your assertion that student athletes do not have contracts. Are letters of intent, scholarship offers, etc. not literal legal contracts for some reason or are you just saying they aren’t literally negotiating paid contracts as individuals?
        I don’t expect to change your mind on paying players and I don’t particularly want to do so. I’m not opposed to player compensation if and when it happens and I think reasonable minds can disagree on how unfair the current arrangement is. I think more than anything, I just take issue with some of the arguments being made. And I had too much time on my hands today.

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  3. The college degree requirement seems to be a direct link to Rich Paul, the NBA agent who has turned the market upside down and ruffled some feathers in the Association. Pretty ridiculous stuff.

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