Tackling the NCAA

Tackling the NCAA

There is an electric current of accountability sweeping through our culture - restitution for sexual exploitation is being demanded in all industries, striking at Hollywood, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the United States Olympic Gymnastics team, and the NCAA. The NCAA is the governing body of collegiate athletics in the United States, overseeing all sports programs at all universities and setting benchmarks for the student athlete's recruitment, education and reimbursement (or lack thereof).

The NCAA has a long, dramatic history - any institution generating billions of dollars is going to have money be a point of importance, and over time the decisions universities make to get their cut of this money has toed the line of what is deemed socially admissible. Trying to net promising athletes has college programs promising them things that should probably not be promised by an educational institution - among these jewelry, drugs, cars, and girls. The NCAA may try to put a lid on such activities, but its effectiveness is transparently compromised.

The crux of all of this is the refusal of universities to pay students to be athletes, and what enables this is the myth of the student athlete - when professional leagues exist for the sports being played in college, collegiate athletics essentially becomes the development league for the professional leagues. Instead of going to the bodies on the field, the income generated by viewers and attendees for these kids - many of which suffer grievous bodily harm on the field and in the training room - goes to the NCAA. The promise of receiving a college degree for free is piteous compensation for the gargantuan profits enjoyed by universities and NCAA functionaries.

All the while, "student" athletes are given softball classes, or outright exempted from actually attending classes, for the benefit of the sports programs they signed up for. It is clear where priorities lie for all parties, and there is nothing wrong with an 18 year old wanting to commit all of his time and energy to try and be drafted by a pro sports team. The glaring flaw in the current system is that student athletes tend to not have much money, and what is essentially a full-time job for the athlete nets almost no material restitution. Graduating with a Bachelor's degree is of questionable restitution - the median pay for a Bachelor degree holder has been decreasing, mirroring an increased emphasis on graduate education.

So what to do? The people certainly want to watch college sports, but it seems like colleges cannot be entrusted to maintain the integrity of athletics and education if they are responsible for both. And the athletes certainly want to be paid, even if not all expect to be drafted. To this end, a solution is proposed - dissolve the NCAA, franchise all university programs into sports clubs that are affiliated with universities but are not run by them, and allow "student" athletes to make a definitive choice - let them start their professional career at age 18 playing whatever sport they like with absolute focus, or allow them to go to school and actually focus on getting a degree. This doesn't even need to be an absolute distinction - it is entirely reasonable for scholarships from universities to be given to athletes at the affiliate clubs with the understanding that they are athletes first, and can pursue their studies part-time.

With this type of organization, you can also have the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS directly invest into some programs with cash to increase their capability and facilities. They would likely see this as a boon - it would effectively give them additional minor league systems with engaged fanbases. Meanwhile, universities can focus their cash on what their functions should entail - making our population less stupid. There will be worries about tradition, but there is also no reason why the SEC or the Big 10 as they exist right now couldn't carry over in absence of NCAA oversight.

The NCAA is past its prime. Put it out to pasture.

Greenlight the Red Light

Greenlight the Red Light

Weed Whacked

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