Auburn fans were rocked when federal law enforcement officers arrested men’s basketball associate head coach Chuck Person, Auburn University’s all-time leading scorer and a 14-year NBA player. Almost two years later, Judge Loretta A. Preska sentenced Person to time served, 200 community service hours and two years of probation.
In addition, coaches at Arizona University, University of Southern California and Oklahoma State University also pleaded guilty to avoid prison. Furthermore, a jury convicted former Adidas executive James Gatto, former Adidas consultant Merl Code and aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins.
Taylor Branch’s article “The Shame of College Sports” in The Atlantic provided voluminous NCAA background information that allowed me to decipher the NCAA ploys.
Walter Byers served as the NCAA’s first executive director from 1951-1988. He negotiated massive TV contracts, helped create March Madness, the current contract — $8.8 billion — and devised a rulebook that swelled to 427 pages. His memoir, “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Exploiting College Athletes,” claims the NCAA established a nationwide money-laundering scheme. Byers said the NCAA hatched the student-athlete ruse to protect colleges from paying injured players long-term disability payments while enriching the NCAA. Byers wrote amateurism wasn’t a moral issue but an economic campaign for a monopoly practice.
Some will recoil at the notion SEC players are exploited. How could they be? Their coaching, training and Taj Mahal-like facilities refute such a smear. From 1993 to 1997, Lou Pearlman and his company earned $10 million, whereas the Backstreet Boys, who actually performed, earned $300,000. Were they exploited?
NCAA president Mark Emmert refuses to consider the Olympic model which allows athletes to capitalize on their likeness but still compete in the Olympics. Has the change diminished the Olympics’ popularity?
The NCAA and the NBA force high school basketball players to play college basketball for one year but they exempt college baseball and hockey players? Why? Athletes earn their scholarships in exchange for their athletic service. It’s something for something — legal term: quid pro quo.
Duke’s Zion Williamson, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound marvel with a luminous smile and a 43-inch vertical leap, defined and dominated college basketball. Duke jersey sales more than doubled with Williamson and resale home tickets cost $329, most in the nation. That’s a week’s pay for minimum wage earners. Kentucky’s $132 was second. Furthermore, a Zion-incited frenzy created a near 200% increase in Duke away game ticket prices. Williamson’s economic impact mushroomed for the Duke-North Carolina game; tickets soared to $3,200 — a Super Bowl-like price. Even LeBron James came to gawk at Williamson.
Suppose a high school senior desired a graphic design career and Nike offered him or her a job wherein he or she would begin designing apparel and shoes from the onset instead of being forced to absorb college intro courses. The NCAA perverts their Division I “Student-Athlete Statement,” which requires every athlete to authorize use of “your name or picture… to promote NCAA championships or other NCAA events, activities or programs.” The NCAA makes that mean forever.
To wit, Oscar Robertson, a 1960 University of Cincinnati grad and three-time NCAA scoring champion, learned the NCAA sold playing cards with his picture displayed in 2010. Incensed, Robertson joined ex-UCLA player and Wooden Award winner Ed O’Bannon’s suit to stop that practice. Former Ohio State University linebacker Chris Spielman filed suit against OSU and their partners. They exploited Spielman and 63 former Buckeyes likeness without their permission and without paying them. After wrangling, Spielman and OSU settled.
Byers wrote, “The college player cannot sell his own feet. (The coach does that) nor can he sell his own name (the college will do that). This is the plantation mentality resurrected and blessed by today’s campus executives.”
NCAA: “Not Caring At All.”