WaPo Editorial: It is time to end college sports as we know it

cigaretteman

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The Supreme Court ruled Monday unanimously that the NCAA may not prohibit student-athletes from receiving benefits related to their educations, such as laptops or paid internships, on the grounds that such perks would poison the spirit of allegedly amateur college athletics. The decision opens the way for a long-overdue reckoning. The NCAA, a college sports monopoly, and the universities party to it have made enormous amounts of money on the backs of unpaid players. Now the court has properly called the legality of the whole exploitative operation into question. It is past time the athletes get what they deserve.

Writing for the court, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch stressed that the court did not consider whether it is legal for the NCAA to deny other forms of compensation — such as direct pay — to the athletes who sustain the billion-dollar college sports business. Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote a concurring opinion “to underscore that the NCAA’s remaining compensation rules also raise serious questions under the antitrust laws.” Pointing out that the NCAA is undoubtedly a monopoly and incontestably holds its athletes’ compensation below market rates, he argued that the organization has no special exemption from antitrust rules. “Law firms cannot conspire to cabin lawyers’ salaries in the name of providing legal services out of a ‘love of the law.’ Hospitals cannot agree to cap nurses’ income in order to create a ‘purer’ form of helping the sick,” he wrote. “The NCAA is not above the law.”
Paying players would make the situation fairer. No longer would coaches take seven-figure salaries while even star players worry about whether their families have enough to live on. No longer would universities and the NCAA rake in billions in endorsement deals, television rights and ticket sales while the talented individuals who provide the show get practically nothing. And no longer would schools do so on the pretense that they are compensating so many of these young people with a valuable education, a pervasive fiction that intense athletics schedules, worthless curriculums designed for athletes and one-and-done seasons so often render impossible.



Yet paying players would only ameliorate the effects of, rather than solve, the underlying problem. Alleged institutions of higher learning would still be involved in a major entertainment business that scandal after scandal has proved to be incompatible with their mission to educate and enlighten. Recruiting malfeasance and other bad behavior would still occur and might find new channels. Many other thorny issues would remain, such as whether student-athletes should really be considered students at all, whether they should have the right to unionize and other questions involving their status as quasi-employees of their schools. Moreover, what would happen to athletes competing in sports that do not raise money? How would compensating student-athletes comply with rules regarding gender equity in higher education? Congress would likely need to get involved to manage the NCAA’s monopoly.
Ideally, universities would leave the semiprofessional athletics business entirely. The National Basketball Association and the National Football League should develop farm systems like the one Major League Baseball has to develop its professional athletes instead of relying on universities’ disgraceful willingness to take young people into their care merely to sustain their side hustle.

 

Sooner-Be-Dead

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If universities don’t make money on football and basketball (fine with me) then what pays for all the non revenue sports? More student fees?
 

West Duval Nole

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No one is going to have an issue when male athletes receive more of these benefits and monetary than the female athletes. It matters not whether the sport they play generates more revenue. Gotta have equal compensation.
 

hawkeyetraveler

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This article is over the top. College athletics is a major part of the university experience for many of us who were simply fans - and certainly it is for the athletes.

While much of college should be about learning, it is also about growing into adulthood, forming lifelong friendships and bonds that stand the test of time. I graduated Iowa in 1995 and have many friendships to this day that were forged watching, cheering (and sometimes crying) for the likes of Chris Street, Matt Rogers, the Brands brothers, etc.

I can’t imagine a college experience without high level athletics.

giphy.gif
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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I'd be good with this. It really wouldn't bother me if the Power 5 schools had D3 caliber players. It's all about the pageantry of gameday.

Ehh I think they lose revenue if they have lower quality players.

Where would all the D1 level players be?

I am guessing they are imagining farm systems that they will be going into. Basketball can pull this off. Baseball already has it.

Football is gonna require the NFL to open up it's pocketbook to sustain the farm system at least for a while.

The thing that will suck honestly is that there will be a draft for these farm systems and than the draft will be an even bigger crapshoot.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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This article is over the top. College athletics is a major part of the university experience for many of us who were simply fans - and certainly it is for the athletes.

While much of college should be about learning, it is also about growing into adulthood, forming lifelong friendships and bonds that stand the test of time. I graduated Iowa in 1995 and have many friendships to this day that were forged watching, cheering (and sometimes crying) for the likes of Chris Street, Matt Rogers, the Brands brothers, etc.

I can’t imagine a college experience without high level athletics.

giphy.gif

Meh think of all the schools with lower quality teams that kids go to though. There are a lot of colleges that are not power 5 D1 schools.

That said I do think taking sports out of it would take something from it. I mean Valpo didn't really have high quality athletics other than the basketball team. But those basketball games were fun even if we were just a mid-major school.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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Thing is though is that if the NFL has to open up a farm system it's going to cost them a lot of money. I mean they can afford it, but it's going to cost a lot.

Football is expensive and when you are paying everyone involved you pretty much have to put it on TV to make enough money to sustain it.

I mean imagine you have a football farm team. You could pay each player 20k a year and for a full NFL sized team you are still going to have to pay a million dollars just in player salaries. Than you have to pay coaches, officials, medical staff, etc etc etc. Plus you have to pay for equipment and things like that.

And that's for the record if one could even get away with paying the players 20k per year each. Odds are you probably couldn't pull that off.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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This article is over the top. College athletics is a major part of the university experience for many of us who were simply fans - and certainly it is for the athletes.

While much of college should be about learning, it is also about growing into adulthood, forming lifelong friendships and bonds that stand the test of time. I graduated Iowa in 1995 and have many friendships to this day that were forged watching, cheering (and sometimes crying) for the likes of Chris Street, Matt Rogers, the Brands brothers, etc.

I can’t imagine a college experience without high level athletics.

giphy.gif
Obviously written by a person who isn’t a sports fan. I hate those people :)
 
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onlyTheObvious

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If universities don’t make money on football and basketball (fine with me) then what pays for all the non revenue sports? More student fees?
At DIII and some DII sports are considered a revenue stream because they attract kids that otherwise wouldn’t go to that school. I think over 1/2 the enrollment at Central College plays a sport, their football team typically has over 100 kids.

you figure on paper each player is bringing in $50,000 of tuition their football coach is responsible for $5,000,000 of revenue.

at big schools the enrollment is so high a few hundred athletes doesn’t really matter.

DIII schools wouldn’t be so numerous without sports.
 

Hoosierhawkeye

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Is MiLB a net money loser for MLB?

Baseball doesn't cost as much to run as football.

Smaller rosters, less equipment, less coaches, less medical staff, less serious injuries (team has to pay for medical treatment to injuries sustained while playing), less officials.

Also minor league baseball is more established and draws bigger crowds than college baseball.

If the NFL is going to set up a farm system it's going to be initially trying to compete with the more established college football for attention. They may very well pull that off if they can get more of the best players but it's not going to happen right away.
 

Menace Sockeyes

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College football will survive in some form or another. Even if it goes fully professional and is owned by the universities, like Mexican soccer teams UANL Tigres, UNAM Punas, Universidad de Guadalajara Leones Negros, etc. did did decades ago. Too big a cultural and economic institution in America.
 

Sooner-Be-Dead

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At DIII and some DII sports are considered a revenue stream because they attract kids that otherwise wouldn’t go to that school. I think over 1/2 the enrollment at Central College plays a sport, their football team typically has over 100 kids.

you figure on paper each player is bringing in $50,000 of tuition their football coach is responsible for $5,000,000 of revenue.

at big schools the enrollment is so high a few hundred athletes doesn’t really matter.

DIII schools wouldn’t be so numerous without sports.
My rough math would put it at $1k/yr per undergrad. e.g. 25k enrollment, $25M cost for nonrevenue athlete expense.

Maybe that's fungible at a $40k/yr college. It would annoy me to borrow an extra $4k so that Johnny can play golf.
 

JRHawk2003

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I have also sadly come to this conclusion. The induction of NIL makes the higher education component completely secondary. You will have 7 figure players at places like OSU and Bama before long.

Schools need to just get out of athletic scholarships. Go to clubs.

The UI getting rid of its swim team is convinced me.
 

Big Hawk D-Port

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How many kids get an education because of an athletic scholarship that otherwise would not go to college?
 

ft254

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College football will survive in some form or another. Even if it goes fully professional and is owned by the universities, like Mexican soccer teams UANL Tigres, UNAM Punas, Universidad de Guadalajara Leones Negros, etc. did did decades ago. Too big a cultural and economic institution in America.

I see it becoming a tiered project much like it was in the 60s and 70s, monopolized by traditional, if realigned power programs. Marketability will be the driver for college football with targeted programs for geographic representation.
 
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