Category Archives: Political Wankery

TFW you’re winning hearts and minds

If anyone with the NCAA thinks that going to Congress to get an antitrust exemption is going to be a walk in the proverbial park, I would advise him or her to watch this clip with Rep. Mark Walker explaining his recently introduced “Student-Athlete Equity Act”.

That’s a conservative Congressman attacking amateurism on Fox News, without any substantive pushback.  Notice also that Walker takes pains to avoid sounding like someone trying to impose rules on the schools and the NCAA.

Again, a proactive organization would sense the ground is shifting under its feet and plan accordingly, but this is the NCAA we’re talking about.




Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Is the NCAA working the refs, or are the refs working the NCAA?

Andy Staples has more background on that Mark Walker student-athlete compensation bill being introduced shortly.

Walker met with several NCAA leaders last week because he’d still like to get this issue settled without passing a law. The group included NCAA general counsel Donald Remy, who was named the NCAA’s Chief Operating Officer late last month. Remy’s presence at the meeting tells us the NCAA takes this very seriously. Last week, the NCAA contingent wanted to let the courts decide all these issues. (Which makes sense, because Remy knew which way the wind was blowing in Oakland.)

The NCAA should worry, because Walker isn’t alone. He says he has met with House Democrats such as Bobby Scott (Virginia), Cedric Richmond (Louisiana) and Hakeem Jeffries (New York) about this bill, and Walker expects bipartisan support. “When we get ready to drop this thing on Thursday, we’re going to have overwhelming support,” Walker says. “It isn’t just going to be a Republican thing.”  [Emphasis added.]

It’s pretty clear why Walker went on the record publicly about what he’s doing.  He hopes to goad the NCAA into being proactive on player compensation.  Unfortunately for Walker, the NCAA isn’t an organization known for taking hints, subtle or otherwise.

Will there be Congressional hearings on the legislation?  One can only hope.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

A new front opens in the amateurism war.

Finally, a free market pol who walks the walk:

The NCAA must allow student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness, opening the door for players to profit while in school, under new federal legislation proposed by a member of Republican House leadership.

The bill, to be introduced by Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina next week, would amend the definition of a qualified amateur sports organization in the tax code to remove the restriction on student-athletes using or being compensated for use of their name, image and likeness.

“Signing on with a university, if you’re a student-athlete, should not be (a) moratorium on your rights as an individual. This is the time and the moment to be able to push back and defend the rights of these young adults,” said Walker, a former college athlete and vice chair of the Republican conference.

I can’t wait to hear some of you call Walker a closet socialist.

Meanwhile, the NCAA is doing itself a grave disservice by not getting out ahead of this while it still has the chance to be proactive and construct something that’s at least moderately beneficial for itself.  Then again, this is the NCAA…


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

“It would have to be the market value.”

Another day, another legislative shot fired across the NCAA’s bow.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Changing of the (old) guard

Well, now.  This is interesting.

Gov. Brian Kemp will soon have a chance to appoint supporters to dozens of additional posts – including a trio of coveted Board of Regents spots – after Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan challenged his predecessor’s lame-duck board appointments.

Duncan asserted last week that 64 board appointments made by Gov. Nathan Deal between Nov. 17 and his final day in office on Jan. 14 were not properly submitted. The fallout crystallized on Thursday when Kemp put forth a new list of names that exclude many of Deal’s appointments.

Among those not on the list were three Board of Regents members that Deal reappointed a week before he left office: Dean Alford, Don Leebern Jr. and Richard Tucker. A spot on the 19-member board is one of the plum appointments in state government…

But the highest-profile among the three is Leebern, who was first appointed to the board in 1991 and played a central part in legendary feuds between University of Georgia administrators and athletics officials in the early 2000s.

Vince Dooley’s smile just got a little brighter.  Also, don’t forget that politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.


Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

“Athletes are a little different, but they are still bringing value.”

I don’t this has a shot at passage, but if it somehow were to become law… well, let’s just say one benefit of amateurism for the NCAA is that it’s got plenty of money left over to pay its lawyers.


UPDATE:  This is what happens when you let things fester, instead of being proactive about potential issues that could bite you in the ass if left unmanaged.

More than seven months after Jordan McNair’s death, Maryland state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would upend the college athletics model across the state and give athletes the right to unionize and collectively bargain over issues related to health and safety, as well as compensation.

Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore) proposed the measure this week and said recent events on college campuses have highlighted a growing need for an independent advocate who can work on behalf of athletes. Lierman cited McNair, the 19-year old Maryland football player who collapsed after suffering exertional heatstroke at a conditioning workout in May, and the hundreds of young Michigan State athletes who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar.

“There’s an inherently unequal playing field between student-athletes and the universities that they go to,” Lierman said. “There’s so much money involved, which has made it much more weighted against students who are coming to school on scholarships and playing, especially the revenue-producing sports. There needs to be a conversation and probably legislation to correct the imbalance of power that exists right now.”

The bill would cover all of the universities in Maryland that field athletic teams and highlights four primary areas that would be open to collective bargaining: scholarship terms, insurance benefits, use of an athlete’s image or likeness and the establishment of an independent advocate to work on behalf of athletes. The proposal challenges the NCAA’s lucrative and time-honored model of amateurism that governs college athletics.

How many fronts can the NCAA fight on at one time?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, The NCAA

Don’t mess with Texas.

From the stick to politics division:

Gov. Greg Abbott’s State of the State speech was heavy with policy priorities for the Texas Legislature, but he ended his 50 -minute address by throwing his support behind legislation that would require the University of Texas and Texas A & M to get back to playing football every year.

Beyond being music to many sports fans’ ears, Abbott’s support was an olive branch of sorts to the bill’s author, state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio. Abbott and Larson have clashed on several issues in recent years, most notably ethics reform, and the governor took the rare step of backing Larson’s challenger in last year’s GOP primary. On Tuesday, Abbott said he was inspired by the unprecedented spirit of “camaraderie and collaboration” that he has felt in the first month of the legislative session.

“I gotta tell you, I’m feeling it myself. I’m feeling moved, and I want to set an example,” the UT graduate turned governor said, smiling. “I’m willing to step up and put aside past differences and work with Lyle Larson to reinstate the rivalry game between the Aggies and the Longhorns.” Larson, an A&M graduate, filed House Bill 412 to require the schools to meet on the football field on the fourth Thursday, Friday or Saturday of November — returning a marquee matchup between the Texas schools to college football’s rivalry weekend.

“There’s a huge hole in rivalry weekend, and it’s A&M and Texas not playing each other,” Larson said shortly after filing the bill in November. “I think we’re depriving generations if we don’t restore this.”

Man, depriving generations, he tells ‘ya!  Sounds like a serious issue.

The schools have indicated a willingness to restart the rivalry, but “scheduling nonconference games is complicated”.  Might want to un-complicate that, boys.  The pols don’t sound like they’re letting this low hanging fruit go unplucked.


Filed under Political Wankery, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.