Yahoo! Sports, with Wetzel, Robinson and now Forde, has excelled against its competition covering college sports over the past few years, particularly in its coverage and commentary of the numerous scandals and instances of increasing NCAA irrelevance (while using actual documentation as evidence rather than “unnamed sources”). Rather than focus its entire platform on pointless “debate,” Yahoo! actually still covers sports.
Unfortunately, you must be blessed with patience, motivation and web-savvy to actually navigate the new Yahoo! Sports website. So, in case you missed it, here’s a topic that isn’t going away.
Dan Wetzel, on “amateurism” in the NCAA (Yahoo! Sports):
These kinds of stories, much of the focus is on the NCAA enforcement angle. Some just want to know what the penalties will be and how it will affect competitive balance. Some want retribution along fair-is-fair guidelines â€“ the NCAA lit up their favorite program, so it’s about time the damn Tide got its comeuppance too. Still others just want to blame the media for supposedly doing the NCAA’s investigative work or even propping up the rulebook by laying out violations.
Almost everyone is missing the forest for the trees.
These stories â€“ from Johnny Manziel and autographs, to Sports Illustrated’s current series on Oklahoma State to North Carolina academics to Nevin Shapiro to UConn hoops to Ceruzzi Sports to John Blake to Oregon football to whatever is coming next â€“ contribute to the pulling back of the curtains on how this massive enterprise truly operates. There’s enough media selling the fairytale. We don’t need fewer investigations.
This is major college athletics. Not those public-relations commercials during the games with cinematography, soaring music and canned concepts propping up “amateurism” as anything more than a tax dodge. And this is the river of underground money that flows through major college football. It’s everywhere. It’s undeniable. It’s uncontainable.
The more that truth is exposed, the better.
Enforcing amateurism became so impossible and ridiculous that even the International Olympic Committee â€“ still in favor of kickbacks and bribes, mind you â€“ gave up on it â€¦ nearly three decades ago. The Olympics didn’t collapse because Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps can appear in TV commercials. It actually got more popular. It’d be no different in the college game.
Besides, it’s not like college administrators â€“ commissioners, athletic directors, coaches and so on â€“ have any use for the spirit of amateurism.
They long ago ditched any semblance of austerity that might come if you were truly operating just an extracurricular activity or true non-profit sports enterprise. Instead, they drape themselves in huge salaries, private planes, comp cars and country club course memberships. They snatch every last freebie at Nike retreats and lounge on Caribbean cruises funded by bowl executives. They hold their meetings at palm-lined luxury hotels.
One of the arguments against offering football players a cut of the revenue is that the school athletic departments can’t afford it. Then the athletic departments, in an effort to make sure it is following the rules (or at least create the perception of doing so), construct massive compliance departments to monitor the athletes and stop them from getting any extra cash.
Ohio State’s compliance office, to pick just one example among many, has 15 employees. The top guy gets six figures and a free car. Bloating up the budget with all these well-paying administrative, non-coaching, non-training, non-athletic jobs â€“ jobs that are completely unnecessary and serve no basic purpose in the world of either sports or education â€“ just further drains the available funds and then conveniently backs up the argument that they don’t have any money to share with the players. Around and around it goes.
Collectively, these athletic departments are spending tens of millions of dollars to make sure the athletes aren’t getting an extra dime.
Since this is a bye week, please feel free to offer your thoughts in the comments below.