I love it, all basketball fans love it, and we will all be spending a lot more time on the sofa watching (or hanging out at our local “sports bar”). College sports has become one of the “crown jewels” of the entertainment industry, creating incredible amounts of wealth for those with the power to direct that wealth into their own pockets. I am certain the NCAA and the “Big Five” major conferences are having a great time counting their money, but they have to be looking over their collective shoulders at the increasing threats to the monopolistic and exploitive system generating all that wealth.
As a reader of this blog you know I have written about this scandal for the past couple of years. Public awareness of the injustice of the system is growing rapidly and a “full court press” (no pun intended) on the NCAA and the major conferences is emerging.
In no particular order, here is a short list of current developments that will hopefully put an end to what can only be described as “disgraceful” and a real black eye for our American system of “higher education.”
- Northwestern University football players have filed with the National Labor Relations Board to organize as a union.
- Ed O’Bannon’s class action lawsuit against the NCAA for the profitable use of player images, without their permission, (and with no compensation being paid), will go to trial June 9.
- Pac 12 Commissioner, Larry Scott, came out against the “One and Done” rules stating that the amount of time a scholarship athlete must stay in college should be increased to return to the objective of actually offering an education to those playing the game. But he also stated that young athletes should not be required to attend college. They should be allowed to pursue a career in professional sports whether it is in the NBA, the NBA Development League, the NFL, MLB, overseas or anywhere else opportunities arise. You know, the sort of options and freedom all the rest of us have.
- Four college athletes have filed suit against the NCAA and the Big Five conferences alleging that they have created a “cartel” which prevents players from negotiating with individual schools to get the best possible deal in exchange for playing ball. The prices are all “fixed” and relative to the amount of money being made off the players, the compensation is miniscule, especially for star athletes who bring in the big bucks.
As the NCAA, as we know it today, slowly sinks, maybe the NCAA orchestra will be playing “Nearer, My God, to The” and Kevin Spacey will be cast as Jeffery Immelt in the mini-series, “House of Shame.”
One last note on the hypocrisy embedded in the NCAA rules. If a player gets a free meal, he or she can be declared ineligible and the school punished. But if a university, in order to make certain an athlete is eligible, gives athletes credit and a passing grade for fake classes, the NCAA does not consider that a problem.
Huh???? That’s right. The University of North Carolina admits it was happening for several years but evidently that’s okay with the NCAA.