Good News: The NCAA Is Not Stuck In 1806. Bad News They Are Stuck in 1906.

Topical Press Agency

The NCAA was founded in 1906, a time when workers worked in unsafe conditions, 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Child labor was prevalent, because children were cheaper labor. Business owners did all the could to prevent the labor from unifying against management. Also Blacks were free, but by no means equal. Sounds like the NCAA never let go of those 1906 business principles.

4) The NCAA Should Stop Running Commercials

So enforcement is/has been in trouble since the SMU case failed to stop everyone from cheating. Cheating will only end when Universities stop allowing their employees to cheat, which hasn't happened yet because they have their hands in the cookie jar as well. But the rest of the NCAA, it's good stuff. Educational initiatives, student athlete support, rules to increase competitiveness, scholarships and fairness.

Except when they dont. The infamous, "still think we're a bunch of dumb jocks" commercial comes to mind. The commercial inadvertently tells you everything you want to know.

"Division 1 student athletes have higher SAT and ACT scores than college bound students. The number of us receiving diploma's is at an all time high. African American males who are student athletes are 10% more likely to graduate. Still think we're just a bunch of dumb jocks? You need to do your homework.

There are over 400,000 NCAA Student Athletes and just about all of us will be going pro in something other than sports."

Black students are 23% less likely to graduate than white students. Only 38% of Black men graduate. I always hated the "still think we're a bunch of dumb jocks commercial" because it purposely avoids racial disparity. The commercial talks about how as a whole, NCAA athletes do better than all students, then narrows down to talk about how African American males who are athletes graduate more than non athlete Black males. It is the only flattering stat they could use because if you use those numbers, 48% of Black male athletes graduate, which brings them only 18% below the non-athlete average and 34% below non-Black student athletes.

18.3% of D-1 student athletes were Black in 2006-07 according to the NCAA which includes 60% of D-1 Men's Basketball athletes, and 46.4% of Football athletes. I'll re-write the commercial, adding what they didn't say but kinda are in bold.

"Division 1 student athletes have higher SAT and ACT scores than college bound students. The number of us receiving diploma's and the disparity between blacks and non blacks receiving diplomas are at all time highs. African American males who are student athletes make up 53% of the two biggest revenue generators for the whole system. They are 10% more likely to graduate, although still 18% less likely to graduate than an average non-athlete and 34% less likely to graduate than the average athlete. Still think we're just a bunch of dumb jocks? You need to do your homework. Yes the homework shows that it's not our fault, Black men just are not that smart, but at least under the constant supervision and guidance of a (statistically speaking) white coach, they can do better than they would on their own.

There are over 400,000 NCAA Student Athletes and just about all of us will be going pro in something other than sports." Congrats to the 48% that do graduate, hopefully your athletic experience shields you from 3.1% higher unemployment for Blacks with college degrees, and if you are one of the 48% that did not graduate, well lets just hope you did go pro in sports and never bring it up again.

My version isn't as uplifting. The NCAA has solved the problem of racial disparity similarly to the way the Bobs handled the Milton problem in "Office Space." The NCAA didn't solve the problem, they just increased academic standards. As a result, there is an increase of dubious high school grades for students struggling to qualify for college, and once there, student who are not adequately prepared for college are lead to less useful majors and academic dishonesty. The NCAA needs to spend less time worrying about the no-win enforcement situation, and completely focus on the win-win problem of educational disparity.


5) Compensation

Should college athletes be paid yes, from a capitalistic view...anyone who provides tangible value should get paid according to his or her value. His or her value is some formula of revenue generated multiplied by the cost to replace that person.

Athletes are rare commodities, certain sports, for this argument we'll say Football and Men's Basketball, generate a large amount of income. So they have a clear value that should be compensated via cash payment. Any extra benefit an athlete can get, any profit from their own image, person or achievement is their right to benefit from. It doesn't effect the game in the slightest, except in the minds of people who want to believe in Ameteurism but probably dont know the origins of ameteurism.

If we were confused about the value of a single football player, we have a few examples. Will Lyles was paid 25,000 for scouting services on two Oregon Ducks. That values each recruit at $12,500 each, on top of the value of the free training and education they received. Secondly, Tosh Lupoi, a coach with a reputation for great recruiting classes received a raise from 164,000 a year to about 500,000 a year when he moved to Washington. If you assume his coaching duties were rated at 164,000, his 336,000/year can be attributed to his ability to bring in 25 star players. Per player, Lupoi earns and extra 13,440. So you could value a PAC 12 level recruit between 12,500 and 13,440.

What about the mid-majors, their recruits aren't worth that much right? Lets value that. Cupcake games pay around 1 million dollars. In exchange for a game mid-major athletes are not expected to win, their department earns 1 million dollars. Lets say out of that, the mid-major nets 700,000, 70 players make up the travel team, which for even mid-major players, their value is at least 10,000. The game value for major players would be even more, (the previous values was their "signing bonus" recruit value) if Georgia can afford to pay 2 million for a 7th and 8th home game, it's only logical to assume that they profit by more than a million dollar per home game. With 8 home games, those major players are worth over $80,000 each season in addition to the education and training they already receive..

So yes player bring in revenue, they should be paid, do they deserve to get paid, I say no. Student Athletes are not slaves, they are 1900's factory workers. They feel overworked, underpaid, and have a decent amount of populist support. Just as in those days, it will take a stoppage of the work, to ever attain better conditions for the work. The NCAA never will and never should sacrifice anything until the players force them to.

Black student athlete domination of revenue sports in some ways, makes it easier for america to accept an unfair system, and makes it easier for Black people themselves to feel powerless to change the system. In that way it IS a figurative plantation. Slavery itself was not an inevitabilty, escape and revolt could have occured daily, but history shows, feeling helpless and feeling hopeful for the coming of an eventual savior keeps people from doing anything drastic. NCAA atheletes are not helpless, and no one, especially not the institutions or the NCAA is coming to save you, and if anyone was going to be saved, it would not be Black athletes. It would be a massive sacrifice, but if athletes truly believe they deserve compensation for their work, they should stop working until they get it.

Finally there will be people who love the idea of ameteuerism and believe that the current system works well. To these people I refer you to the racial disparity again. Resist the temptation to blame kids who may not have been prepared for life in college. Instead look at the system that uses and disposes of these men, especially young Black men who fight an uphill battle even when they do everything they should.

Then look at net benefit. not all $240,000 4 year scholarships are created equal. Socioeconomic status is highly correlated with academic performance so students who can afford to pay for school, often don't have to as a result of merit scholarships for good grades. Middle class students get average grades, and have some ability to pay for college. Low income students generally have poor K-12 college preparation which leads to low scores and less merit schoalrships.

On the flip side, there is need-based aid, which gives more aid based on your financial situation, low income students getting the most, and high income students get no need-based aid.

Athletic Aid for Football and Basketball are 100% awards, students are eligible for federal need-based awards, (pell grant, SEOG, stafford loans) but are not eligible for most state and university awards. Therefore you cannot stack awards. As a result, low income students are generally eligible for most of their college costs via need based aid. At USC, a 4 year scholarship is worth about $240,000, but a low income student would automatically be eligible for about $180,000 in need-based gift aid. If they did not play football, the different in award would be made up with loans ($27,000), work-study ($17,000) and Out-of-Pocket ($16,000) over the 4 years. To make up the difference, the student could work 30 hours a week at $10/hr.

Meanwhile, a wealthy student who did not earn a merit scholarship would be on the hook for the 4-year bill for USC, near $240,000. If that wealthy student played Football, he would earn a net benefit of $240,000. You would have to work 115 hours a week at $10/hr to pay that tuition on your own. This student would also have the financial support of their family, like Bob Leinart, Matt's dad who paid $2,566 each month towards his son rent in LA (which ended up being a stupid NCAA violation).

The result of net benefit, is a system that benefits the rich more than it benefits the poor, and it probably hurts the middle class the most. More than a system of compensation, I would like to see a system where students can stack their athletic aid on top of the aid they would receive if they were not a student athlete. That would create a more fair system where students receive their scholarship for their efforts on the field, as well as any extra they are entitled to for their academic excellence and/or their established financial need.


6) 7 Quick Suggestions

1) End the cycle of blame. We no longer need a pound of flesh. Decriminalize the rulebook and focus on education for schools, fans and players. Punish coaches and administrators personally and financially for bad behavior.

2) Lay off NCAA enforcement and start holding your own University responsible for the actions of the athletic department.

3) Four Year Scholarships. Eliminate the 1-year transfer rule. Reinstate mandatory freshman redshirt.

4) The 2-4 plan. 2 years in college, 1 year as a redshirt, 1 active year. After the 2nd year, you can go pro. If you do not, you must stay 4 years. This will focus students on graduation, or a career in sports, not a grey area as in 1 and 3. 2 years in school facilitates transfers and return to school for students that do go pro.

5) Financial reporting by athletes, and athletic aid that can stack on top of a students other aid.

6) Allow endorsements & Agents, give the players representation, let the agents help players figure out what they want and need. In turn, agents in pursuit of their cut, will monitor and prevent under the table payments. Endorsements will help the most popular players fund the cost of focusing on a career in sports.

7) Dedicated independent academic advising for black college athletes until they match the graduation rates of their peers. Prevent the Football program from hijacking or watering down a students education. Create more programs to prepare minority athletes for college curriculums before they graduate from college.

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