One of the well-used arguments against unionization is the Pandora’s Box. Let student-athletes form a union and it’ll be an invitation for all kinds of trouble – Title IX, taxes, you name it. Things will be worse and nobody’s thought that through! How can unionization possibly go ahead before all the peripheral questions are answered?
Brian Phillips neatly skewers that line of reasoning.
Fine, but do we have to pay squash players? And what happens to athletes’ student status if they’re also employees? Can they be fired? What if some teams vote to unionize and some teams don’t? And what about tax implications? What about Title IX?
I have no idea! One of the neat strategies you’ll see the NCAA’s defenders deploy in the wake of the Northwestern ruling is to start throwing out a million practical questions that have yet to be resolved, as though, if you can’t immediately answer all of them, they must be totally impossible to solve. “I don’t know what happens to their meal cards!” you’re supposed to cry in this situation, throwing your hands up to the heavens. “Therefore change is futile and I have no choice but to agree that the student-athlete system is the key to success in the classroom, on the field, and in life!”
But this is ludicrous. Reform of a big organization like the NCAA is inevitably going to involve a lot of tough questions. Maybe Ultimate Frisbee at Middlebury isn’t a job in the same way basketball at Kentucky is. Maybe some provision will be necessary to make sure women’s sports are treated fairly. But you know what? People build multinational corporations and reasonably functional democracies. People deal with trickier problems than college-sports revenue distribution all the time. Raising objections as though the mere existence of practical difficulties shuts down the conversation is the stalling tactic of an exhausted debater. It’s the move of someone with nothing left to defend.
Of course, it’s possible that college football is run by people who really aren’t capable of dealing with tricky problems. (Mark Emmert, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.) Even that doesn’t mean you don’t try, though.
Anyway, good stuff, nicely put.
I got a kick out of this piece mocking the offers that are going out to kids who haven’t played a down of varsity high school football yet. Particularly this bit:
“It seemed like just yesterday that Nick Saban `accidentally’ walked in on me at my obstetrician’s office while I was getting my sonogram. He took one look at the image on the picture, well actually two looks because he wanted to make sure it was a boy, and just started muttering, `Look at the size of those hands. They are bigger than his head.’”
It’s the “two looks” that made this a winner. LOL.
Last word on the Louisville coordinator hires goes to Robert Weintraub, who delivers this gem:
In this climate, even Kevin Ramsey, who was so incompetent as UGA defensive coordinator in 1999 that he allegedly was relieved of his duties at halftime of the bowl game and subsequently supposedly punched out Bulldogs head coach Jim Donnan, could land a new gig (with a higher salary, natch) within 48 hours.
I hear ‘ya.
I wish I had written every word of this. “Alabama athletic director Bill Battle pre-emptively notified the NCAA of forthcoming violations.” LMAO.
I love this, Matt Hinton:
Evil Richt. After tearing down the field for a touchdown on its opening possession, Georgia called for an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff for no reason whatsoever except screw you, that’s why, and caught South Carolina napping on the recovery. Back-to-back possessions kept the already gassed Gamecock defense on the field for another four-and-a-half minutes, leading to a field goal to extend the early lead to 10–3. The tone was set: From there, Georgia only punted once and never trailed.
You gotta love Paul Myerberg’s lede in his look at preseason #14 (!) Florida:
Florida has scored 647 points in coach Will Muschamp’s first two seasons, scoring 331 points in 2011 and 344 points in 2012 for an overall average of 25.92 points per game. Florida ranked eighth in the SEC in scoring in 2011 and 10th a year ago, though the latter didn’t stop the Gators from reaching a BCS bowl, the program’s seventh.
But no Florida teams since 1988-89 had ever scored fewer points during a two-year span – and in Gainesville, 1988-89 are known more popularly as “the two years prior to Steve Spurrier’s arrival.”
I’m sure Gator fans would agree, if any of ‘em would admit to remembering that era. Or maybe they just refer to that time as “B.S.” (before Spurrier).
From start to finish, this is freakin’ hilarious. And it makes the underlying point about production on the field trumping everything quite well.
Andy Staples, with a nice pile on about the Antonio Morrison arrest:
Surely, defense-attorney-to-the-Gators Huntley Johnson will argue handcuffing and booking a 19-year-old for unauthorized canine interaction is a bit overzealous. Johnson likely will argue Morrison, already on the hook for two ride-alongs, simply wanted to have another meaningful dialogue with a law enforcement officer. According to Deputy William Arnold’s report, Morrison explained later that he barked only after Bear barked at him. Arnold was not sufficiently moved by Morrison’s reasoning.
I expect to see the fruits of a creative Dawgnation on display in Jacksonville this year. In the meantime, that’ll do.
I’ve linked to this remarkable Joe Posnanski piece about Herschel before, but since he chose to repost it in the wake of Willis Walker passing, I thought it was worth mentioning it again. Read it; you won’t regret it.
My favorite bit in there? Hands down: “And then there was this freshman from a little town in Georgia who people were whispering about. He was the new thing. Rogers was Pat Boone. Herschel was James Brown.”
Now I realize that “check out the hypocrisy of college athletics!” articles are a dime a dozen these days, but damn, this one’s really well written. This line in particular just about made me swoon:
In 2011, Slive — a man whose joy-evoking athletic talent has never inspired a single jersey purchase, let alone a lucrative television rights bidding war — reportedly received nearly $1.6 million in compensation from a conference that is considered a non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service.
I only wish there’d been some way to fit a Michael Adams reference in there somewhere.
If you’re jonesing for a heavy dose of sarcasm this morning, go no further.