between 5 and 10 million times on the board, and this post added nothing new other than just like, your opinion, man.
Am I Complicit?
Each morning, before I get on the train to work, I load my Twitter feed to get the morning's news. What's "news" for me from Twitter is often about sports. The sport I follow the closest is college football, with college basketball likely in a second-place tie with the NFL. With the buildup to and conclusion of the O'Bannon trial, many of the posts in that feed have shifted from "Big Ten Preaseason Power Rankings" or "X Player Has Michigan as a Finalist" to the dissection and dessimation of the structure of the NCAA. My opinion on the issue falls in line with what I perceive is a growing majority (although this may be affected by who I get my content from): whether or not we know the way to fix it, the system is broken, unfair, and difficult to legally and ethically justify.
But this diary is not a position statement on the merits of arguments that players should be paid or allowed to unionize. I start with the premise that the NCAA is broken and amateurism is a term used to maintain and justify a status quo in an operation that has become decidedly professional. I don't think Mark Emmert or Dave Brandon should get to have their wages determined in a free market (or set them themselves) and line their pockets while the kids driving revenue don't get that same opportunity. I don't think the backs of 18 year old kids, often from modest or even poor and dangerous upbringings are the places to yolk money carts for old white guys in suits. If you disagree with me, that's fine, but that's where I am coming from.
What I struggle with today, as the moorings and girters of the NCAA model stand to topple like dominos in Federal court (whether from O'Bannon's, Kessler's, or some other suit - I would argue radical change is almost certaint, and likely pretty imminent), is the role I play in this scheme. I open up an article from Grantland, EDSBS, or this site and nod my head in agreement when the writers eviscerate college administrators and the ludicrous arguments the NCAA has trotted out in defense of its system. Minutes later, I read a breakdown of 17 year old receiver who runs X 40 time with X high school stats committing to Michigan and pump my fist in excitement. I think it's borderline criminal that Denard Robinson and Trey Burke didn't see a nickel of their jersey sales, and yet I own both. I malign outrageous budgets for bowl committees and athletic deparments, then happily hand over my credit card for a game ticket or a $90 sweatshirt.
I think the best description of my feelings for Michigan Football, in particular, is a religion. I wrote this thing and called Michigan Stadium a cathedral, after all. I continue to love and believe in what Michigan Football and Basketball stand for. I attach my love to the stories of Brock Mealer and Quintin Washington, to hope there's a first time Austin Hatch takes the court for Michigan, and to John Beilein sitting by himself late into the night at the NBA Draft waiting for Jordan Morgan to get drafted. But for every virtue I celebrate, lately I cannot escape all of the system's vices. For every Denard Robinson success story, there is a Tate Forcier tale - without a full story I can't judge how much he is to blame for his transfer, regardless, I think it's pretty sad that Tate Forcier doesn't have one red cent to show for the brief period of time when tens of millions of people knew his name and were entertained by him. And there's plenty of kids with stories much sadder than his
I wrote this with the suspicion that others may feel similarly, and I truly wonder how to rationalize this dichotomy. I am excited for the feverish analysis and sense of possibility that fall camp will soon bring while I bemoan that former players deal with untreated medical problems or few job prospects because they were "tutored" through a bullshit major to keep them eligible. How am I not a hypocrite? Is this not my fault, too?
I like his attempt to discuss something in a sloooooow diary period a lot better than your lack of attempt to.
my take on it is that fans are the real losers in all this. instead of focusing the debate on taking money from "rich white suits" (which is an entirely different debate) and putting it in the hands of the players, why don't we talk about taking the money out of the ncaa's hands entirely and back in the fans' pockets?
let's make season tickets free for students, lets drastically slash costs for alumni, etc. etc. etc.
While I agree that students should be given free season tickets and alumni should get discounts, I highly disagree with your idea that the fans are the real victims. Seriously, we pay a little bit of money to see a game that we could just as easily see on TV in the comfort of our own homes. Sometimes its better to see a game at home. Meanwhile, these players work hard every day to better themselves for their future, but also for our entertainment. Why they don't get paid or have the ability to make money off of their performances. How is it that the fans have it worse?
in the current system, players have it off worse, and fans have it bad. the fact that the powers that be make all the money and charge exorbitant prices for a more and more homogenous product is shitty for everyone but the powers that be.
with that said, if we are going to blow up the current system, it's my position that, rather than just change the distribution of money, we cut out the money and give it back to fans.
I wouldn't think you even needed to ask.
The only piece of NCAA verbage that has been more insidious than Walter Byers' term "student-athlete" is classifying anyone who wants to pay a player a "booster." Players should be allowed to take whatever the free market will give them.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a player getting paid to stand at an auto dealership, sign autographs and shake hands. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with someone who has a lot of money giving a player a "golden handshake."
The NCAA has brought an extrinsic "wrong" in: their greed and their rules. With these rules, a school that allows players to be paid has a competitive advantage that was gained by breaking the rules.
The only right thing to do here is to allow all players to take money on the free market. As for the stale argument that "the rich will get richer," look around: they already are.
I don't think buying stuff makes us complicit, but I think failing to protest visibly in the stadium probably does.
It's Tate Forcier's fault that he flunked out of Michigan not the NCAA's.
it's hard for me to feel too bad about anything that happened to the guy
Tate worked most of his life for his season and backup moments of glory, and he did not fully profit from it like he would have on a free market and now that opportunity has likely passed him by.
By extension most college football players highest earning potential is in the college system.
this being an American taxpayer.
Don't feel bad about it; your problem is that you think that these college football players are being imposed upon, and that, if they were not FORCED to play for NCAA teams that refuse to pay them, they'd be making millions.
It ain't so. These kids are playing college ball because that's the best choice for them. You aren't imposing on them, you are helping them.
Now, if there were a way for you to pressure the NCAA to allow full cost-of-attendence scholarships, and you didn't take that opprtunity, then you should feel bad. But I don't think your voice would even be heard in the debate, which is internal to the NCAA and likely to be resolved by the schools themselves.
you watch a non-revenue sport? Doesn't the amount of revenue diverted to those athletes, their facilities, coaching and travel far outstrip the money you decry going to "old white guys in suits"? I'm not sure who that really is meant to describe other than bowl committees.
I forget...is our athletic director a young black woman? Must be.
Destiny Brandon has been phenomenal, I think people are just projecting their covert racism
is motivated by lining his own pockets is pretty absurd considering he took an enormous pay cut to take the job. If you like, maybe we could trade him for Rutgers or OSU's AD, but that particular criticism in the OP was simply not well founded.
I am not really impressed by the supposed selflessness of rich people deigning to accept a meager $850,000 salary on the backs of unpaid workers.
LOL! You were going for all the rhetorical buttons with that post, weren't you? Well-done.
I prefer "deluded".
Forcier is a poor example of a real delusion.
and I'll add my own question. Am I complicit in the NCAAs money grab? I live in Philadelphia, and 10 years ago there were around 3 Michigan football games on TV here a year. Now, thanks to the BTN, I can watch every single game without ever going to a sports bar. So, is that worth adding Rutgers and Maryland just for the TV footprint? How about the NCAA performing such blatant money grabs that their whole system is about to collapse?
Am I complicit in the ever-growing use of bullshit rhetoric like "blatant money grabs" and "deigning to accept salaries" and "the backs of unpaid workers" just because I read this blog?
I freely admit I'm participating in this conversation at 0430 because I have a dose of insomnia. What's your excuse? You can't possibly be so devoted to the beauty of the English language that you cruise random sports blogs looking for over the top rhetoric.
Yes, you are.
You raise an interesting point , one that is often overlooked in this debate - the role of the fan.
Like you, I'm a fan who is disgusted with the state of the NCAA, its hypocrisy and the corrosive effect of money in big time college sports. Yet, I tune in to catch Michigan every chance I get, and I am a huge fan of college sports in general, watching football, basketball and lacrosse from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
I believe most fans would side with the players, especially since many of thems are the ones getting ripped off by the athletic departments. The fans are the principal source of revenue but their favorite players don't see a dime.
So - I have two questions - 1) how do the fans show their solidarity with the athletes? and 2) what will it take to bring about actual change?
I believe the only way the NCAA and the universities will change their tune is if it effects their bottom line. I think the fans need to lead some kind of nationwide symbolic boycott of merchandise or even ticket sales. The players need to strike in some way as well. This sort of thing will never happen but I would love to see someone take a stand...
Would be some trending hashtag on social media in favor of O'Bannon like...#GO'BANNON
the players are DYING to commit to the schools, they DREAM of that day, and further dream about playing for the school they committ to. They are happy beyond anything you or I will ever experience when they beat their rival or make an awesome highlight play.
You can favor compensation for players and still acknolwedge that in fact, a players life on campus is pretty good.
to have their cake and eat it too, as it looks like the federal court will soon rule.
was meant to convey. Its silly that anyone would feel sorry in any way whatsoever for a college athlete, but that does not mean that they aren't entitled to receive more compensation (though my personal opinion is that this is due only to guys that sell jerseys and games, but that's another debate)
misread your last sentence.
Based on the info I have heard is that if you are an ex Michigan football player with a completed degree, no matter how bullshit it was, you are not struggling to find lucrative work. The Michigan Football Network takes care of their own.
I think the image of the ex-jock broke with nothing to show for his 5 years of service on the Mich football team is the rare exception and not the rule. These guys get set up in pretty sweet gigs.