Posts Tagged ‘NCAA’

The economic reality is that every year Big Time D-1 football and basketball programs continue to earn more and more revenue.   Without a doubt, the more the revenue increases, the more egregious the exploitation of the on-field participants becomes.  Worse as the universities and the NCAA continue to reap  increased revenue (in 2008  the NCAA’s March Madness  alone brought the NCAA $636.2 million in revenue in 2008.).  The so-called student athletes whose labor generates the billions of dollars in revenue continue to get poorer and poorer.

In fact according to the seminal study “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sports” (Huma and Staurowsky) the average D-1 “full ride scholarship” student-athletes actually owe $3222.00 annually to the university to their university.   In fact, Huma and Staurowsky further explained that 85% on D-1 “full scholarship” student-athletes live below the U.S. poverty line.  For those athletes that actually stay off campus the numbers actually increases to 86%” that have the so-called “full ride scholarships.”  C’mon, how can 8 out 10 student-athletes live below the poverty line, while the average D-1 football and basketball coach easily makes more than 1 million dollars!

How does the NCAA respond to this fact of poverty and average $3220.00 annual scholarship deficit?  The NCAA authorizes universities to provide scholarship athletes up to $2000.00 additional dollars a year to cover the $3222.00  average deficit. This so-called reform is a joke and  absurdly stupid on two fronts: 1) it does not cover the known deficit; and 2) the additional $2000.00 is optional at the Universities discretion.  In other words, the NCAA ha made it clear the that the sharecropping punk-feast system is still in play for Universities (although i believe that most BCS schools would gladly pay their players just compensation, but that’s for another time to discuss) and the NCAA

The good news is the veil of secrecy is rapidly being stripped away from the NCAA’s oppressive and exploitative system, and just like every other oppressive regime it will have to substantially  reform or be swept away completely.

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During  the last twelve months, the NCAA has arguably received the closest scrutiny ever regarding student-athlete recruiting and extra-benefit scandals costing  prominent, successful football and basketball coaches at powerful universities their jobs (Jim Tressel Ohio State & Bruce Pearl Univ. of Tenn), seemingly endless (proposed or actual) conference  re-alignments and discussions that appear to disregard the ethics of amateurism in order to satisfy an insatiable appetite for lucrative television revenues, and allegations of major recruiting violations and embarrassingly low graduation rates that taint the accomplishments of the two 2010 BCS championship teams (Auburn graduated exactly 0 of their African-african american athletes!).

 Such negative publicity has increased the assault on the NCAA as the sole arbitrator of major college athletics, which is driven by a wide range of critics, including  scholars, the media, state legislators, Congress, the courts, U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan and even President Barack Obama.  As a result, the NCAA has once again discussed introducing surface “reforms” that hardly substantially address the situation such as increasing “full” scholarship amounts by $2000.00.

After extensive qualitative study of the literature, the law, NCAA rules and policies, court cases, interviews with former and current major college student-athletes, and my personal  experiences as a former D-1 football player at the University of  oklahoma.  I am convinced that the NCAA governance system is fundamentally flawed and divorced from the realities of today’s collegiate landscape.  Further,  the NCAA’s own rules and policies, and/or the lack of enforcement thereof, actually undermine their own antiquated  ideals of “amateurism” and “student-athlete” expressed in the NCAA’s mission and core values. In fact, I argue that the NCAA itself substantially interfere with the ability of student-athletes to holistically
develop and fully prosper in the current collegiate model of athletics.

The NCAA must significantly reform its policies and rules in order to improve its student-athletes’ academic performance, life skills development, economic opportunities, and graduation rates.  Therefore, I propose a number of specific new
policies and rules for careful consideration and adoption by the NCAA, including without limitation the following:

  • Extend athletic scholarships for greater than the five-year  undergraduate period;
  •  Increase the amounts of athletic scholarships to cover all living and student expenses since there is no time for outside employment;
  • Require each school to have the same ratio of academic coaches to student-athletes as it has athletic coaches to student-athletes in each
    particular sport;
  •  Require that the academic personnel working with student-athletes not
    be athletic department employees;
  • Enlarge amounts of athletic scholarships to cover all living and student expenses, WITHOUT ANY ARBITRARY CAP;
  • Provide  life-time injury and disability benefits for student-athletes injured while participating in their sport;
  • Allow student-athletes to take personal advantage of their own
    marketability;
  • Provide student-athletes with an equitable share of the revenue produced by their participation within their sport.

Without a doubt,  There are substantial legal,  equitable, financial, academic, and socio-cultural reasons for each proposed new policy and rule to implemented immediately.