After a couple slow days on the board I thought I'd throw a 2 part question out there: With the NCAA's current structure getting more and more ridiculous, I'm of the opinion that something will change soon - whether it's big 5 autonomy, a Players Association, the olympic model, etc - I don't think we'll last many more years of coaches making $5M per year and players being happy now that there are free snacks. My question is - what's your ideal endgame and why? I think there are 4 main constituencies you've got to satisfy: Revenue scholarship athletes, non-revenue scholarship athletes / title 9 (this can get tricky), administrators/ADs, and fans. If you were in charge of the NCAA, how do you satisfy all 4 groups moving forward?
What's your ideal College Sports / NCAA Endgame?
Your username makes your comment even better.
So lets say some players, as your username suggests, are getting paid already. Besides the issue of player salary, what's the difference between college and minor league games?
I really can't tell if you're being serious...
I may have been leading in the way I phrased the question, but here's my answer: Remove likeness rights, allow athletes to make money with the olympic model, let the Big 5 conferences get autonomy and have those big 5 agree on a "total cap" of spending above and beyond tuition, room and board for scholarship athletes - call it $3M/year or so, but they could negotiate a number. Here's what everyone gets out of the deal:
Revenue athletes; The ability to market themselves and make money today from what their doing, however they don't get any extra benefits direct from the university which satisfies part 2. Allow athletes to unionize so that they have representation with the NCAA and allow certified agents to represent players. The NCAA could police the agents hard and put their random enforcement people to better use.
Non rev/Title 9 - They make the same new benefits direct from the university and could market themselves. Michael Phelps could have officially swam for Michigan under this scenario. For the 27 sports, figure around 500 scholarship athletes they would each get $6,000 per year if the cap was $3M.
Admins/ADs: Only additional costs are those which the conferences negotiate ($3M per year in my scenario). I assume most ADs will also lose some booster money which could flow towards athletes more directly (figure random business owner pays QB to be in a commercial rather than donate to AD) in my scenario, but that's kind of how it works in every other business. Plus I doubt the million dollar donations that go towards buildings will become millions towards players.
Fans - As I see it this doesn't change the game for fans much. If DG were legit sponsored by a car dealer and drove a nice car that doesn't differ much from Pryor's "leases" except it being allowed. Fans might end up footing the bill for the "spending cap" of $3M in my scenario, but considering that fans are already milked dry, I don't think the AD wanting more money will be news.
initially are, what makes you think leaving the conference to arrange their own 'cap' will satisfy the players? Isn't this basically the current system whereby the conference determines what they are allowed to 'give' the players? This needs to be collectively negotiated or possibly an independent 3rd party arbitration could help.
Good point, let the players unionize and negotiate the cap.
Almost exactly like every other sports league...
Either a true 16 team playoff with all conference champions included or elimination of playoffs and a return to pre BCS/Bowl Alliance new years day bowl game matchups.
As an old guy, I would like to abolish national rankings. No playoffs, no National champion. Play for your conference championship, and then play in a Bowl game to represent your conference. Take away the perception that unless you win a national championship your season is a failure.
I think that even if this happens, someone will rank the teams regardless, whether it be ESPN or SI. So there will always be people comparing teams and rankings them. And thus, teams will always try to be the best/top rank. We'll just be back where we started.
Yeah, how do you forbid the AP or ESPN or whomever from making a ranking? That's about the only major aspect of college sports that the NCAA doesn't--and can't--have any control over.
National polls and ranking systems have been around a long, long time.
Honestly, if you want "amateur sports," they're available today. Today's club sports are probably closer to the "amateur" ideal than college football has ever been. They're not very popular, but that shouldn't matter if that's what you really want. D-3 football is out there too; that's less "amateur" than club football, but it's less "professional" than BCS football, it's readily available in southern Michigan (Albion, Alma, K-Zoo, Olivet, Adrian, Tiffin, etc.) and tickets are dirt cheap.
-total NCAA deregulation. You want to pay [recruit x] $1,000,000? Do it. You want to send text messages to recruits 24/7? Do it, but suffer the consequences if the recruits get annoyed. You want to practice 20 hours a day? Go ahead, but suffer the consequences if recruits choose easier programs. You want to hire 85 assistant football coaches? Do it, but suffer the consequences if you don't have money left over for players.
The market is a better regulating entity than the NCAA has ever been or could ever be.
-Title IX receiving a legislative "fix" to no longer apply to football or men's basketball (it should only apply to the money wasters; if you want to flush money down the men's fencing toilet, you should have to flush the same amount down the women's fencing toilet).
-Most non-revenue sports being dropped to club level;
-24(+) team playoff for football;
-fans get greater accountability. No more hiding behind "academic standards" or "the SEC cheatz!1!;" it would be fuck or walk time for a lot of administrators and coaches. Win or get out.
Because a "free market" in reality takes a significant amount of regulation to function properly.
(Side note: your points are thought provoking and interesting; I am writing this to continue the conversation and not to criticize you, although it is probably pretty clear that I have a different perspective)
• Should schools be allowed to terminate scholarships at any time for any or no reason?
• Should steroids and other drugs be "decriminalized" (in the sense of no NCAA or school penalties, not necessarily as a matter of federal or state policy)
• Should athletes have to go to class, or even attend school?
• Should schools be able to trade a student athlete to another school, as a professional player would be traded?
Of course, an individual school or coach could opt not to do these things, I am asking if it should be optional under the construct you described in your post?
* How do you create a 24-team playoff in the context of a "free market"?
Wouldn't the top 2 teams tell the other 22 to have fun in their tournament, but unless they each get 40 percent of the revenue of the 24-team tournament, they are going to break off and play each other in a best-of-3 series (or whatever) for the real championship?
What happens to a sport when it has a "free market" is what happened to boxing: competing championships and all of the power in the hands of the promoters.
I don't want to speak for the post to which you replied, but total deregulation was (I think) obviously a bit of hyperbole. With total deregulation we're not all watching football anymore, just whatever game the two teams who show up decide to play that day. To me deregulation is cutting back on the rules in a couple major ways:
-restrictions on likeness rights/booster payments to players/payments from schools. You can't really eliminate one without dropping the others. Allow a school, or its boosters, to pay the players as much as they want. Allow the players or school to sell their pictures and jerseys.
-recruiting: let schools host and offer as many recruits as they want. One thing I will say is that there should be some common-sense restrictions to prevent the high school athletes, who are usually too young to protect themselves.
Should schools be allowed to terminate scholarships at any time for any or no reason?
It should be based on contract. Elite recruits would be able to command fully guaranteed four-in-five deals, with stipends and GIAs from the top programs (Michigan, Alabama, TAMU, etc.). Mediocre recruits might get only a week-to-week offer from elite programs but might get a guaranteed offer from lesser programs (e.g. EMU, CMU), and at that point the recruit has a market choice.
• Should steroids and other drugs be "decriminalized" (in the sense of no NCAA or school penalties, not necessarily as a matter of federal or state policy).
College athletic departments should not enforce laws against recreational drugs. Personally I'd decriminalize PEDs at every level too, but I think there's plenty of room for reasonable disagreement there. The problem that the prohibitionists' side needs to better address: is prohibition effective, or is PED use rampant? If it's rampant and there aren't many effective ways to make it less rampant, the prohibition leads to "grey market" strategies (similar to those created by the current cap on compensation), which might be more disruptive to competition than the PED use itself.
• Should athletes have to go to class, or even attend school?
Why do they go to class or attend school now? Why would altering the distribution of their value affect the nominal link between university and player? Personally, I would leave it up to the university, and I'd suspect that most schools would continue to foster that link to the same extent they do today, because 1) that link is "cheap" and very tenuous as it is now, and 2) it is perceived to generate fan interest and revenue.
• Should schools be able to trade a student athlete to another school, as a professional player would be traded?
Should be a matter of contract. Better recruits and players would be able to negotiate for stricter restrictions on transfer.
Although I disagree personally with the overall approach you recommend, I see what you are getting at better with those responses. I think your answer to the first and second questions could easily be accommodated in the current NCAA construct. It is the third and fourth that would be significant departures from what the NCAA is today.
I discussed this a bit in some of the back and forth after the initial Northwestern NLRB decision, but in a nutshell I believe that universities would have a hard time forcing their athletes to be students if the athletes are "employees" (unionized or not). This is because it will be hard for universities to justify why attending class and making progress toward a degree is a requirement for serving as an employee that plays football or basketball. Universities may try, but (with the caveat that I am not a labor lawyer) I believe courts would strike such requirements down. Under an employment model, I believe that universities would also have a hard time restricting participation to four (on the field) years. You did not address length of eligibility, but I assume that would be an upshot of your deregulated plan. Your construct imagines a very similar approach, where athletes are employees (or, more likely, independent contractors). I know you did not say that, and I am not trying to put words in your mouth, but I see your construct as basically the same as an employment scenario.
Here is my disagreement: I enjoy pro sports and all, but the best part (to me) of college sports is that it is being played by student peers and that it is more about the university than the players. We can have legitimate arguments about whether athletes are really peers of regular students given preferential treatment and incredibly heightened expectations of athletes but the concept is still the same. I am not sure I would enjoy Michigan football if they were signing kids to 7-year contracts or trading with Oklahoma for a hot shot and essentially competing with the NFL. I can already get that from a pro sports team I have rooted for for life rather than a college team I have rooted for since college.
I may be alone in my feelings, but I think many would not root as hard for Michigan if it was essentially another pro team. And that, I think, is the fundamental point of disagreement.
I agree with your sentiment of liking the days when college athletes were really just students like everyone else. But I have to be realistic, and I don't think there is any way of putting that cat back in the bag. Players are celebrities, nationally, coaches are paid millions, TV contracts are worth billions. I don't think there is any way to reconcile that with the amateur "student-athlete" concept. We are trying right now, and the pressure on both sides is causing issues like the O'Bannon suit, the Northwestern NLRB situation, bagmen, and other school scandals. Something's gotta give somewhere, it's just a matter of where, and how far it goes.
the top levels. Before cfb existed, Harvard was using ringers (and accusing others of using ringers) in its boat races in the 1850s. Yale had a six figure slush fund to buy football players in the 1880s (more than $2 million in today's $$). If you read Bill Reid's 1905 diary/book, Ivy League football programs were recruiting semi-literate ringers and committing widespread academic fraud at the turn of the 20th century (and paying their coaches well; Reid made $7,000/year to coach Harvard, more than any of Havard's professors and equivalent to about $180,000 in today's $$).
I could drone on, and on, and on, but for the sake of brevity I'd say 1) that if a social institution has deviated from a concept (like student-athlete amateurism) for almost its entire existence, it's pretty safe to say that adherence to that concept is not driving interest in the institution; 2) even so, to the extent that people believe that the value of creating nominal "student-athlete" ties between players and institutions exceeds the costs (which are quite low), those ties will continue in a free market in a manner that no player would have legal standing (or likely any cognizable legal claim) to challenge.
I understand about hiring ringers in the past; your point is well taken that perhaps I am romanticizing about an ideal that has never existed. Still, I am not sure I would enjoy watching a team I knew had a bunch of ringers, even if that was within the rules. Different strokes for different folks--it is a preference. I am under no illusion that student athletes today are really peers of non-athlete students, but the fiction and the attempt to make them at least somewhat so is what differentiates college from the pros for me. Whether this is rational or not is another issue...
Hope you don't like the Fielding Yost legacy...
Color me a bad Michigan fan, but I did not know that about Yost's time. However, now that you have brought it to my attention, Michigan's record in those years does lose some luster for me. Not saying it was tainted or that others (or the university) are wrong to celebrate it--just a personal opinion. I don't know enough about the NCAA to even know what sort of regulation there was supposed to be at the time, or whether the ringers were even nominally students (I infer from your comment they were not).
Now I do hope you don't turn around and tell me that Bo or Lloyd (or hell even RichRod) were using ringers too, or that they didn't at least generally operate within the rules in place at the time...
Why would the university have trouble enforcing participation in classes? Compensation could be additional to scholarship, so that everyone gets the same base-level thing they get now (full cost of tuition and room and board paid) and anything extra for better players is on top of that. Whole package is contingent on maintaining eligibility. That wouldn't prevent the same sort of UNC-style athlete coddling shenanigans that are going on all over the place but that's not the problem we're talking about right now.
I agree with you about the appeal of college sports being in large part tied to the idea that the kids are fellow students. However tenuously, we had the same relationship to the university as each other -- in some ways they really were my peers while I was at UM: we took the same classes, ate the same crappy dorm cafeteria food, bought weed from the same dealers, etc.
Compensation has to happen, as I think most MGoBlog people agree. But if the link is severed altogether - if football/basketball become another minor league - I think my fandom would fade.
All college bb is, especially when you're lucky to have a super star around longer than one season is definitely a "show case" for the bigs; therefore, no difference than a minor league franchise say in bb where the best will go to the show and the rest will go into insurance.
CFB, by conference, most notably the SEC, is definitely nothing more than the equivalent of a Triple A farm team in baseball. Their ability to get away with things that are important to some conferences, such as oversigning, cutting athletes, giving certain ones the nudge, etc., just don't seem to matter to NCAA enforcement. There is no way in hell they could maintain such an advantage in gathering superior talent to that part of the country if it weren't for the above realitys. I see no real advantage in them changing a thing until forced to. Nothing in that part of the U.S. has changed one iota to make it more attractive to college fb players other than it having become the mecca for professional NFL scouts. If the NCAA doesn't step in, and they won't, bet on them keep piling up NCs.
Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save the NCAA, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA
We can try to create systems to fight it, but as Leonid Brezhnev could tell you, you can't destroy a market; you can only turn it black.
Instead of hiding from the market for players or creating historically inaccurate "warrior-poet" narratives to pretend it's not there, let's try something new. Let's put on our Big Boy Pants and embrace it.
you end up with a few elite programs becoming football or basketball businesses instead of universities, not requiring players to attend classes, making hundreds of millions of dollars more than any other school and monopolizing ALL the talent. There would no longer be any semblance of competition. Just like in the real world, free market economy (which is regulated far more than what you're suggesting for college athletics), there would be only the Warren Buffetts and Charles and David Kochs of the world at the top, holding 75% of the wealth in "college" athletics, leaving the other 25% to be split among the rest of the schools. Not sure how you could deny this when this is the reality of capitalism today. And that's with checks like antitrust laws in place which you don't think college sports should have. Thanks but no thanks. Today's NCAA landscape is far superior to that.
robust competition law and contract enforcement is a necessity for vibrant markets.
The rest of your post basically describes what we have with major college sports today. The biggest difference with a free market system would be the distribution of the revenue (away from administrators, bureaucrats, and coaches; toward players).
It's federal law. The NCAA isn't the one enforcing the equal-participation clause so even if it is destroyed and replaced with the TheWorldAccordingToLetsGoBlue2004, Title IX reform isn't happening. Nothing in the morass of lawsuits around is going to change that.
As far as a legislative fix, exempting football would gut Title IX; the whole point is to balance those 85 male athletes with 85 spots for female athletes. That "fix" essentially repeals the equal-opportunity clause and won't happen except in Section I's dreams.
Or about repealing the equal opportunity clause; all you're doing is altering one of the prongs used to determine compliance. Without even getting to the pros/cons "is Title IX a good thing" portion, athletic scholarship distribution is a small part of the regulation and isn't actually codified into the law itself.
but the principal part that affects college sports is that athletic opportunities for men/women must be proportional (approximately within certain constraints) to the men/women distribution in the student body.
Football has large roster sizes and is male-only, hence it takes up a disproportionate chunk of the opportunities open to men. Getting back to proportional rosters requires two or three 30-roster women's sports and is the main, and in some cases only, reason those sports exist.
If football is exempted from Title IX compliance, schools would find themselves with 85-90 women's roster spots they would no longer be required by law to fund. I would lay extremely long odds that those teams would immediately lose university funding and in most cases disappear - after all, they're "money wasters" as the top post in this chain puts it. That's the exact opposite effect the law was intended to have, and is tantamount, if not equivalent, to gutting it. (In fact, IIRC, one of its drivers was that football was an opportunity only available to men, which was grounds for a discrimination suit that the law preempted.)
Scholarships have little to do with it, except that roster size is effectively constrained by them. Title IX doesn't care as much about scholarships as it does about rosters (although there is a clause talking about grants-in-aid and the like).
I'm in favor with whatever Keith Jackson wants.
Mark Emmert instructs all schools to take the money that would be going to players to construct a not-so-viable minor league dog and pony show to which players can go to if they don't like his classical interpretation of amateurism.
from college sports.
end the facility upgrade war. set strict limits on coaching salaries. slash ticket prices.
remove the excess money that makes it so that athletes are being victimized. Pay for their full cost of attendance, and give the rest of the money back to the fans.
What makes the athletic accomplishment of a player like Jack Miller or Dennis Norflleet so much more worthy of being given everything than the scholar from the south side of Chicago that had to fight through far more adversity to get a full tuition academic scholarship to Michigan but still can't afford to house or feed him or herself? And that person has a far greater chance of attributing real value to society than 99% of the other college athletes out there, even those playing for major football and basketball programs. I've never understood the inane argument from athletes that say they went to bed hungry. It's a ridiculous lie b/c just like the rest of us that go or went to college with no money, there is federal aid in loans or grants that will take care of all of the necessities. And just like the rest of us they might have to pay it back when they graduate. For those that make millions of dollars for the athletic program, they have a far better chance of paying back those loans immediately since, if they truly are generating that revenue themselves, they're very likely going to be making hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars professionally afterward. Spare me their sob story. Full tuition is enough. Otherwise extend the full cost of attendance scholarship to academic scholarships as well. Athletes don't deserve any more than they do. In fact, they deserve less. They're not out there creating new technologies to make our lives easier, new medical breakthroughs, engineering marvels or positive social policy. They are providing entertainment. And only a scant few of them have names recognizable to the rest of the country.... Sorry, ending my rant now.
Agreed. Student athletes are given free room and board along with a scholarship. I talked to a couple of football players about this and they said that the outside people who claim that they are starving are totally wrong.
are doing anything of what you said.
the ridiculous incomes that athletes have is a bigger issue than just college though.
Separate player associations form for each school. NCAA continues to prohibit direct pay tp players. The associations negotiate to fund scholarships for life and long-term disability funds. Any other things the players associations are able to negotiate for cannot take the form of cash payments while in school, but full cost of attendance scholarships are allowed and adjusted with inflation.
NCAA is split into two organizations; one with the regulatory mission the NCAA is supposed to have and one that's the marketing entity that the NCAA has become. Separate books. Separate missions. Separate groups of people. The university presidents can then vote on marching orders for the two organizations separately.
We return to the old, traditional bowl associations. A BCS team ranking system still exists, but whatever 4 bowl games have the highest ranked teams in them serve as the 1st round of a playoff. That means teams 1-4 make it, but the next 4 spots might not be the top ranked teams in the nation (they will however, likely be conference champions.)
80 teams from FBS split into their own division of the "NCAA" and govern themselves. Scholarships increase to the point where the great majority of scholar athletes have no need to accept money from anyone. The new division of the "NCAA" throws out the current rule book and starts a new one that stops filling pages with rules that are unenforcable or immaterial to the realities of college athletics. Instead, they focus on preventing cheating and illegal benefits. Schools give this group legal power to investigate and enforce these rules.
On the field, the 80 teams form 8 conferences based on location and history and play round-robin conference schedules plus 3 nonconference games against other teams in the 80. Each year, the 8 conference champions come together for a tournament of champions to determine the national champion.
I guess I'm not entirely surprised to see a couple of comments suggesting Title IX shouldn't apply to 'revenue' sports, or should apply differently, somehow. After all, men's football and basketball are special, aren't they? And should as a result allow for gender-based discrimination in access to higher education.
Or maybe not. Title IX isn't about sports per se, it's about discrimination at institutions receiving direct Federal aid. People have fought it from the beginning, not out of principle, but to protect men's football and basketball. In implementation, it's ugly, but in principle, it's the right thing to do. Just because television hasn't figured out how to make a mint out of women's college sports, doesn't mean we have to allow media rights and popularity to dictate how educational opportunity is allocated.
If they can't do so in 40 years, it isn't going to happen and we're wasting time pretending that it will.
I don't agree with your interpretation of Title IX (schools are "spending" resources on one group while receiving resources from another, so they wouldn't be "discriminating against" the former group by paying the latter; and needless to say, it's hard to argue that allowing all athletes to receive market compensation is "discrimination" against one group just because the market values that group's skills less), but to the extent that people do believe in it, the money for women's "educational opportunities" should come from general funds, not off the backs of football players. Title IX was not intended to finance (mostly) rich white girls' "educational opportunity" on the backs of (mostly) poor-lower middle class, (mostly) minoritiy males.
"Self-supporting interest" is irrelevant. Gosh, if only women really wanted to break through the glass ceiling, right? I mean, we've given them so much time, they must not really want "it" (whatever 'it' is).
Revenue generation is irrelevant as well. Title IX applies irrespective of whether or how an educational institution monetizes athletics. "Market compensation" is completely irrelevant, and for the vast majority of affected institutions, just downright silly to talk about. Market fetishization will only serve to distract from the real issue here.
"On the backs of..."??? Are you serious? You're true colors are unfortunately coming through loud and clear.
52% of football players are black, 57% of mens basketball players are black, and 76% of women's ncaa athletes are white...his statement is intentionally inflammatory--to the point where it may take away from what he's trying to say--but it is worth noting.
The vast majority of D1 football programs lose money and are subsidized by the general student population, directly or indirectly. It is very rare for the revenue stream to flow the other way. We share a love of a school that is among the fortunate few.
do not lose money. Many athletic departments (not football programs; athletic departments) operate in the red, but a substantial amount of that is non-profit gold plating.
I'll say something for student subsidies too; at FSU, full time students pay an athletics fee that's like $150 or so per year, depending on the number of credit hours the student takes. However, FSU students get in free to every FSU athletic event; football, men's basketball, baseball, etc. To me, that's a better deal than charging football-fan students $295 for a season ticket.
...which is a measure that lumps together programs that are generating huge revenues (e.g. Kentucky basketball, Alabama football) with programs that are not (e.g. Yale basketball). A friend of mine is writing an article that carves out the big time football and men's basketball programs and then compare those programs with the non-revenue programs, and his preliminary findings are indeed starker than the numbers you cited.
I am glad you are arguing your side of Title IX, because it does often get ignored or trashed when discussing its effect on college football. It's a good thing to discuss that rarely gets the attention it deserves.
However, I still think you are mostly wrong. The law came about in a time when sexism was far more accepted than it was today. High school and college athletic directiors and administrators were nearly all male, and straight out denied women the same opportunities in athletics as they did the men. Not offering equivalent teams, providing better equipment and facilities for the men, etc. I think the law was necessary and useful in that era.
Now, though, some of the implementation of Title IX seems mostly like an obstacle, which, ironically, restricts access to athletics and education for males. You don't think M would have varsity men-s crew, plus maybe volleyball, if they could? Why did it take so long for the successful men's lacrosse team to go varsity?
I think there is a fix that can help everybody, as a sort of middle ground. I'll quote Letsgoblue2004 from above:
-Title IX receiving a legislative "fix" to no longer apply to football or men's basketball (it should only apply to the money wasters; if you want to flush money down the men's fencing toilet, you should have to flush the same amount down the women's fencing toilet).
with my caveat being that it should only apply to schools where the football/basketball programs actually are self-supporting. I.e. Middle Tenn State cannot take general fund dollars that now go to women to funnel it all to the football team.
Football and men's basketball don't need protecting. That's not really why people fight it. Those sports will exist regardless. People fight it because it limits opportunities for men to participate in any other sport besides those two.
And the reason Title IX should apply differently to "revenue sports" is: tell me how good the educational opportunity would be for women's volleyball players without something to fund them?
1) Television hasn't "figured out how to make a mint out of women's college sports" for two reasons: (A) they haven't figured out how to sell ad space for low rated shows for the same amount they get for ad space in high rated shows (B) they haven't figured out how to prevent people from changing the channels or turning off the TV when something is on that they no longer wish to watch.
2) I have a hard time defining "educational opportunity" through the lens of NCAA D1 athletics, when less than 1% of high school students end up being D1 athletes on full scholarship.
I'd love for it to be more clear what Title IX should and should not apply to. But it's a matter of equal access to education and with revenue sports access to education isn't the driving motivation. We even have to try (or pretend to try in some conferences) to find ways to get teams to adhere to minimum academic standards. With all the talk of players being steered to easier majors, it seems to me that non-revenue atheletes already have greater access to education. I know, we mesure access in dollars, but practically speaking, it's a bit ridiculous.
Let me start by saying Title IX is in place for the right reasons. It's generally a good thing. However, I disagree that equal opportunity in high-end athletics equates to actual equal opportunity.
The 50-50 scholarship split is a ridiculous proxy for equal opportunity. I'm dubious that providing high-end athletic opportunities for anyone in university should be a concern of the university itself, much less the federal government. I'd prefer those efforts go into providing opportunity for everyone in the IM/Rec sports area that are accessible to all or most students, not those accessible to a very small, select group of students who are mostly chosen prior to enrollment. In my mind, that's not really access to educational opportunities for girls or boys.
Even if you do value high-end athletic opportunities, those opportunities are paid for by football and basketball revenue. Without that revenue, those opportunities would at best be severely curtailed. You're correct (in a later post) that most schools partially fund their AD with general student fees, but without the incoming money from football and basketball--especially in places like Big 10 schools--there would be no funds for excellent facilities, travel, coaching, etc.
Here are his ideas. I think some are great, others aren't feasible, and #10 is a must-have.
1. Abolish the NCAA and CFA and replace with a new governing institution, run by a strong board of directors selected to better represent the educational interests of the universities, which are the interests that should be held paramount in the process of reform. It is held that the ethical principles that should guide the operation of universities are being undermined by the way big time college football is run and by the people running it.
2. Create a select committee to undertake a comprehensive review of the rules, equipment and practices of college football with the goal of making the sport much safer for the physical and mental well being of the players. Rule changes could include such things as limiting weight of players, restrictions on certain kinds of plays and hitting.
3. Limit the season to ten games. Games to be played on Saturdays, with each school given the option to play one game per season on a different day.
4. Set-up a playoff system involving at least 8 teams.
5. Eliminate freshman eligibility.
6. Limit salaries of head coaches to a formula relating to pay of teachers. For example the coach could be paid no more than the average of the ten highest paid faculty members. Dictate that 75% of a coach’s outside earnings relating to football revert to institution.
7. Give all athletes a stipend - based on working 20-30 hours a week at a typical student job on campus. Limit scholarships to about 50% of players on teams. Require teams to have about 50% non-scholarship athletes.
8. Set up a trust fund to assist athletes with future health problems.
9. Create a system in which the punishment for rules infractions falls most heavily on individuals actually involved and the coaches. Allow for “clawback” of coaches salary if they are involved in wrong doing; place bans on individuals proven at fault. Relating to rules enforcement: create more transparent and objective investigatory and enforcement system.
10. Make Nick Saban dress up in women’s underwear bought at a Salvation Army thrift store, and require him to pose for pictures near trash cans in a dismal back alley in Tuscalooa. Worst looking picture will be on the cover of next year’s Alabama football programs.
Sounds wonderful. I love setting arbitray limits and putting a select group of people in charge of what's best for everyone else.
This is only workable if the underwear is from Hanes or Fruit of the Loom. Victoria's Secret would make almost anyone look good. Even Nick Saban.
At the Big 12 press conference yesterday Commisionser Bob Bowlsby said he thinks paying student athletes will result in the loss of some men's non-revenue sports:
"We are operating in a strange environment in that we have lawsuits -- plus we have the O'Bannon lawsuit," Bowlsby said. "I think all of that in the end will cause programs to be eliminated.
"I think you'll see men's Olympics sports go away as a result of the new funding challenges that are coming down the pike. I think there may be tension among and between sports on campus and institutions that have different resources.
"It's really unknown what the outcomes will be."
Bowlsby also said there is obvious cheating going on at some programs (excepting, of course, the Big 12) and the NCAA is powerless to do anything about it.
1. Full cost of attendance
2. Allow players to declare immediately for the NFL. Force the NFL to either create a minor league or stash kids away to train until ready (like soccer development).
Problem is that if I were in charge of the NCAA, I'd be impotent to make some of the changes I want to make, Title IX being prominent among them. I need to be King for a day instead of just Mark Emmert. Plus there is another constituency: TV.
Some changes I'd make to start with:
-- Title IX needs to account for the fact that, simply put, not as many girls as boys are interested in playing sports. For the money spent factor of it, I'd allow any ticket revenue generated by a sport to offset money spent on that sport, and for the participation aspect, I'd only count sports in which there's an equivalent for both men and women. (Thus, basketball, or baseball/softball. Not football or field hockey.) And so that colleges can't stash huge numbers of women on their rowing teams to comply, the NCAA would start sponsoring men's crew.
-- There'd be a luxury tax on facility improvement and coaching salaries, payable to the NCAA, and the money would end up in a player compensation fund as detailed later.
-- There could be a Players' Association, but not separate ones for every sport. Otherwise what would happen is the schools would focus all their time on football and ignore the other ones.
-- Players would no longer be "on scholarship." They would be responsible themselves for the full cost of their tuition. They can get student loans like everyone else. The one difference is they wouldn't be on the hook for a health plan; they'd have that free, as well as guaranteed dorm housing and a meal plan if they chose, all free. Schools would have to open their books to prove there isn't a dime of financial aid going to the players and that they've received every dime of tuition; playing a sport would make you ineligible for need-based financial aid. However, players would be free to take as much booster cash as they can get their grubby mitts on. Boosters and alumni can set up foundations to pay. It wouldn't be the least bit "illegal" to make money playing, so athletes such as tennis players could play on the pro tour. And any student loans taken out by an athlete can be replaced with an interest-free loan from the NCAA, plus a certain (hopefully fairly large, but I don't have the specifics worked out) percentage as a grant, following completion of a degree. A percentage of proceeds from apparel sales would support these grants. This would be team-based, not individual-player based. You buy a Devin Gardner jersey, even with GARDNER on the back, the football team benefits.
-- Educational shenanigans would be a LOT more strictly enforced. NCAA monitors will be at every school. UNC is not getting off the hook for phony classes just because a non-athlete or two happened to also take them. Enforcement resources no longer need to be directed at the Nevin Shapiros of the world, so they can go toward beating the shit out of the UNCs instead. The death penalty would get dragged out of the attic and used again.
-- To balance out the idea of some schools having the best team Phil Knight or T. Boone Pickens can buy, roster limits will be hard-capped at all times of the year (there won't be any more games with guessing how much attrition you'll have.) For example, at no time can a football team have more than, say, 90 players, or whatever seems best. Players may transfer as often as they like but must sit out a year, regardless of family hardship, unless: they have completed a degree; there is a coaching change at their school; or they did not meet a playing-time threshold. The sit-out year would not count as a redshirt year - it's just a year off. During this time, they don't have to appear on a roster. (This means they wouldn't be subject to financial aid or roster cap restrictions.)
is that it basically tried to be the impetus for societal change without any other help. it's logic is that, if you create opportunities, girls will come.
the problem is that there are millions of reasons why girls don't focus on sports, and opportunity was just one reason. possibly it was a huge one, but one huge one out of many huge things is not enough to drive change.
I do have an end game in mind, though it may not be able to satisfy all those constituencies you mentioned. I think the top schools need to either break away or create a "super division" within the NCAA. Limit it to 66 teams. Have 6 conferences each with 11 teams. This gives you a 10/20 game conference season for football/basketball. Allow 2 non-conference football games and 12-14 nonconference basketball games - all played within the 66 teams that make up this "super division". This would eliminate the cupcake games, give us true conference champions and make a football playoff easier (6 conf. champs + 2 at large bids). This would also facilitate dealing with the compensation issue, as it eliminates the Indiana States and EMUs (sorry guys, you really aren't competing with us in revenue sports anyway) As for the specifics on compensation, I'm pretty much open to anything other than "your full ride scholarship is payment enough quit yer whining".
Now, those constutuencie that your mentioned??? No matter what you do many ADs/Administrators/Fans will just not go for it because they like the status quo. No sensible "new system" will ever satisfy sertain people in those groups. But for the non-revenue/title 9 issue. IMO, this is something that the University will need to solve by deciding whether they still want to support non-revenue sports. If they truly believe that these sports are extra-currcular activities which are an important aspect of their college or university (which I would argue they are) then they should support them just like they do anyth else - through the $ received from tution and governemnt aid. Makes sure you support mens and womens equally and that should addres the title 9 concerns as well.
would be a nearly impossible and bloody process.
1. Keep the scholarship model (and room, board, & food), but forget the nonsense of trying to prevent boosters from giving players special perks. If a booster wants to pay a guy to not show up for work, then let him. It's his business, literally. Of the current rules, preventing this from happening is the most difficult/impossible to enforce, so why even try?
2. Players should receive health benefits indefinitely for injuries sustained during their college careers.
3. I concur with the "only games on Saturdays" suggestion.
It's weird that the model worked pretty well for 75 years, then video games and cable tv changed the game.
College football was pretty entertaining when I was in school back in the 80s. Strangely, tickets were only $20, parking was $5, top coaches made reasonable salaries, and we STILL packed the Big House. Weird.
So your suggestion is to unplug all TVs and video games in the world, then undo 35 years of inflation on top of that.
I'm not that concerned about how it is set up as long as Michigan wins all the trophies.
More Seven Nation Army
Bold suggestion Cotton.
It's a difficult situation, as you mention, because of the multiple constituencies. But let's first look at making some changes that would be best for "student-athletes", and that should be acceptable to all of our constituencies:
* No scholarship limits as there are now, but only limits on "initial counters." Let's say for football, there may be 25 new scholarships per season (i.e., 25 people who didn't have scholarships the previous season). That will eliminate the incentive for people like Saban to "cut" scholarship players from the team--no matter how many cuts you make, you can only have 25 incoming freshmen/transfers. Note that the number doesn't really matter--it could be 30--just that the incentive to make cuts to clear room for new players disappears. There would be an exception allowing a few walkons a year (who have been on the team for 2-3 years without a scholarship) to also earn scholarships without counting against the 25.
* A simple change to recruiting: the incoming student must make initial contact with the coaching staff. If a high school athlete files a complaint against a coach for making initial contact, and the coach can't produce documentation (call logs, e-mail, postmarked letter, etc) to the contrary, that school loses 2 "initial counter" scholarships for the upcoming season.
* Football rule changes to make it safer. Adopt a rugby-style tackle rule (must bring an opponent down by "wrapping him up"), and maybe even limit substitutions to maybe 2 or 3 per play--even when transitioning between offense and defense--which I think would require a different, less dangerous, approach to line play, and a move away from 300+ pound players.
Obviously we are talking some short-term fixes here, but in the long run I can see a return to the free-for-all of the pre-WW2 era in college sports, where the NCAA didn't have an enforcement arm and it was up to the conferences to impose their own rules. Back then, teams would simply refuse to play other teams that they thought didn't meet their own standards. Of course, this means an abandonment of any idea of a national championship tournament, because there will be too many different standards and constant accusations that other teams don't "play fair". This was the situation from 1880 to 1950 or so, and without an overall regulatory body, will be the natural "free market" result.
I would have two primary objectives: 1) make sure the money earned through revenue is distributed in the best interest of the student athletes. 2) make sure all "other" money is routed through the colleges and not directly to student/athletes.
I don't think it benefits the fans or the athletes to add yet another tier of schools by creating a 5 super conference tier and the also rans. I also agree with the Big12 commissioners comments about female and olympic athletes working just as hard as football and mens basketball athletes. To this end, I would use all of the money generated by TV revenue, licensing, etc, and pour it back into programs that support all athletes at all schools. Things like full cost of attendance to earn a degree, improved health care beyond college, insurance to guard against career ending injuries, etc.
The other key area I would address is the payments issue. If a booster has $100,000 to give to athletes, why can't the money just go to the school to have better facilities, coaches, etc? This gives a platform to support your school and give them a fair advantage.
To do all of this requires a broader governing body. That means a completely revamped NCAA with stronger enformcement capability, better governance, and a completely different focus.
The one issue with giving money for facilities is they create fixed costs that aren't paid for in perpetuity. It's one thing for Stephen Ross to build an academic center, it's another for him to build it, fund staffing, fund maintenance, etc forever.
I don't think it's wise to generate fixed costs that will never generate revenue. It's one thing if a facility is built for common use among the student body. It's another thing to build a facility that can only be used by a very small number of students for a very specific purpose. I would love for Michigan to build a huge aquatic center with an area reserved for the swim team during certain hours. Building a swim team only pool doesn't really benefit the student body.
At Michigan, the point is largely moot for now because the AD is self-funding. It's not like that at most schools. At most schools, student fees would pay for staffing and upkeep at that pool, even though most students couldn't find it on a map.
This is how it works today. The Athletic department needs to get approval from the regents for any building project. The proposal includes the costs to build and how the ongoing costs will be accounted for in the long term budget. This is true for any college of any size in any division.
I know that's how the process works. I know that the AD can show where the money will come from. My concern is that the buildings are just added fixed costs. The AD can't abandon them if the next TV deal isn't right or if the courts tell Michigan they have to start paying athletes a lot of money.
The crew facility, pool, etc will never generate revenue and only a tiny portion of students will ever be allowed inside. I don't think that's wise, regardless of having a nicely designed budget.
being champs in football, basketball, and hockey
I think the answer is to reduce the salaries of of coaches, ADs, and administrators, and give the money to alumni who live in Tennessee. Don't ask me the specifics, the accountants will take care of it. Also double portions for the athletes at training table should appease them in this scenario.
From a competition standpoint, football still needs an overhaul. What we have now isn't bad, but it's extremely susceptible to being made much worse. Idea:
-- A 16-team tournament, set up the way the Big East used to run their basketball tournament. First round would be right after conference championship weekend in December. (Conference championship weekend, by the way, would be Thanksgiving weekend.) This year, the first three rounds would be the 6th, 13th, and 20th of December; losers in these first three rounds would end the season with a bowl invite. The semifinals, along with the big bowls, would take place New Year's Day (which is a Thursday); the championship would take place the following weekend (10 days later.)
-- The tournament would be a mix of conference champions and at-larges. However, it could NEVER be expanded. Eight conference champs, eight at-larges. Forever. If there end up being more conferences, tough; the best eight go.
-- No bowl may ever have a corporate sponsor for a name. That is, Weed-Eater Independence Bowl is OK. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is not. They must have wide-open books and a certain minimum percentage of their income must return to the schools, and to the NCAA for the above-mentioned compensation fund. Like, 75% of it.
The endgame is probably a little simpler than most folks think, because the courts are likely to decide it for the different constituencies. It's very likely that revenue sport athletes get a cut of revenue and become "employees" in the near future. Furthermore, I think the court decisions will render Title IX concerns irrelevant because football and basketball players at Michigan generate enormous revenue that funds the non-revenue sports. They just are fundamentally different.
The other side of the coin is the building spree in college athletics is funded with projected TV revenues. Michigan, OSU, et cetera cannot exit big-time football and basketball because they have buildings to pay for.
I think the endgame looks something like this:
- Most D1 schools deemphasize athletics and return to a more regional model.
- The number of athletic scholarships outside the big conferences goes way down. Schools won't fund deemphasized football scholarships, so they have no reason to fund any others.
- Big 10, SEC, et cetera are fully autonomous within the NCAA's umbrella or leave entirely.
- Big 10, SEC, et cetera football and basketball players are exempt from Title IX (by court order or Congress) and receive a modest salary (maybe $15K / year) on top of their scholarships. Coaches salaries and non-revenue support go down to compensate.
- Fans keep coming to games.
- At least 3-4 public schools left out of the big money conferences have huge scandals involving endowment bailouts of athletic departments. Tuition goes up substantially at those schools and everyone bemoans how obvious this was in hindsight.
- Non-revenue athletes stop having world-class facilities built for them and their sports become more regional. Very few people notice or care.
- Michigan never plays [direction here] Michigan again.
This distinction gets used to justify paying football and basketball players more money because they account for the revenue. This is considered to be "fair" to those players However, I don't think this really holds up well:
1) Not all football/basketball teams really make money. If a team looses money, should it be included with the "revenue" sports or not?
2) The Big Sport on Campus is sometimes something other than football/basket. North Dakota hockey comes to mind. Does that get to be treated as a revenue sport at that school? If not, why not?
3) Not all revenue sports are created equal. Does EMU football make what Michigan does? Shouldn't that matter?
4) I don't think that the fairness to the players argument holds up. A star in a football or basketball has the potential of going pro and being well compensated. Those who are exceptional, at least have that chance. The run-of-the-mill football or basketball player is really in the same position as the non-revenue player, except for the fact that he shares a field with people who will (or may) go pro. Both work hard at their sport, but will rely upon their degree to make their way through life.
I think the revenue/non-revenue distinction is really just a way of feeling good about oursleves for saying that football and basket at the "big schools" are just different. While perhaps more intellectually honest, this statement leads to the conslusoin that those sports should be in a diferent league with different rules and without the pretense of the players being student-althetes.
Once you are there, you have really just created two minor leagues. At this point, you have removed what is special and have to ask if people would watch a minor league when the NLF and NBA offer a better caliber of competition.
is if we're talking about endgame, we're also probably talking about after the student loans bubble bursts, and it's pretty impossible to imagine what the collegiate landscape as a whole looks like after that--much less the athletics side of things.
Dont forget the cable bundling bubble!
Comcast made $2B in their last report!
Not sure what you're getting at here. If there's reform done by Congress, it will definitely kill the building boom and probably change how college is paid for.
I don't really agree that there's a "bubble" in the same way that housing had a bubble. The loans themselves aren't inflating in value and the debt is almost impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. Furthermore, the vast majority are insured by the Feds. If there is a mass default, it will be a political scandal, but ultimately will be an accounting issue tacked onto the national debt.
That's easy. I'd keep it the way it is. If you want to get paid go to the the canadian football league and the arena football league. Nobody's forcing you to play college football and only get a mere 50,000 dollars off the cost of attending Michigan.
A minor league football and basketball league funded by the pro leagues and commitment/eligibility rules similar to college baseball. Players get a cut of all sales from likeness being used.
and how many of these 85 players deserve millions and billions of dollars. There's only around 30 players that are contributing to their teams success. There's another 55 who either sit on the bench or are being redshirted. If you are paying players then you would have to start kicking people out of schools for not performing since that's what happens to coaches and NFL players.
- Athletes become free to market themselves however they wish. Boosters paying them with bags of cash and new cars, etc. - it's all good as long as it's not against the law (e.g. No-show jobs are against the law in some places).
- full-cost of attendance, five-years-or-until-you-graduate scholarships. They can't be revoked by the athletic department, only by the student or the university for cause (e.g. academics, code of conduct violations). Covers a meal plan where the school supports it.
- a reciprocal letter of intent. An athlete signs one, they've got a scholarship no matter what; the school can't revoke it or tell them "sorry, we got a five-star so you're out". The athlete can formally revoke it at any time if they want to go somewhere else.
- lift transfer restrictions. You want out? Sign here to revoke your scholarship and you're out.
- Lifetime medical insurance for any graduating student-athlete, with a variety of minimum coverage levels depending on the sport (football ends up with the highest level for obvious reasons). You were on the roster for a year, even as a walk-on, you're covered at some level.
- dissolve the existing bowl relationships and write new contracts that don't transfer cash to bowl execs, but rather to the bowls and schools.
The main points I see in favor are
a) these are direct benefits to student athletes addressing the concerns driving the unionization movement
b) it doesn't cost the schools a ton, even for minimum medical insurance, unless the long-term consequences of the sport really are severe (in which case, should the school really be in this business?)
c) hypocrisy is eliminated. You want to give your ace softball recruit a car to come to OSU instead of MSU? Go ahead - it's out in the open.
d) the revenue versus non-revenue distinction is made by the revenue's source. If Haylie Wagner can market herself more effectively than Matt Wile, more power to her.
e) the schools that can't meet this relatively low burden are likely not serving either their students or their sports well. Drop DI football and most of the costs and headaches vanish (including Title IX issues). This would halve the size of DI but the schools that are left are all at least roughly in the same weight class.
Take all the money in all the NCAA...
Put it in a big pile and just have everyone realted to the NCAA go run and grab as much as they possibly can.
Once it's gone, it's gone...and we reset things back to the way they were. No complaints...you had a fair shot just like everyone else.
Then sit back and laugh.
so sorry. And I think you question is valid and answers to it are important. But the current system is so wronging the student athletes that I think the most important thing is to establish that it can't continue and then try to figure out how to make it work in a different way. I'm just so sick of the suggestion that there isn't a good answer for how to fix the problem so don't break the current system. The current way of doing things is classist and racist (I'm not saying it is intentionally racist but the current system disproportionately affects African Americans...so yeah, it's racist) and just cannot be something our University, or any university worth it's salt, should be involved in.
Might it ruin college sports as we know it? Sure. But that doesn't mean it doesn't need to stop. I love college sports infinitely more than pro sports. I'd hate to see it go. But as more and more money has poured in to college sports over the last few decades, the siuation has gotten disgusting.