Fleeting Power

Updated: Aug 25, 2019

Famed columnist Mitch Albom tells the story of walking around Ann Arbor with Chris Webber trying to get a story. I guess Webber had not eaten and was hungry, so he asked Albom for some money for food. Albom explained to him that it would be against NCAA rules to do that, so they kept walking. As they continued, Webber saw his jersey, a yellow #4 Michigan jersey with Webber’s name on the back.

It was selling for $75.

Albom said it was at that moment that he knew that Webber, who had led the Wolverines to two national title games, was going pro.

There is one in every family or neighborhood. It’s either the kid that takes his football home when his team is losing or the cousin that changes the rules during a game of UNO when they feel like they have been hit with too many draw fours. However, the common denominator is all the same. It’s the behavior of a whining baby that is not getting their way or can see the outcome of something not going in their favor, and they do something about it that messes it up for everyone. One of the biggest whiny babies of them all is the NCAA, the non-profit that in the 2016–2017 generated $1.06 billion in revenue(Source: USA Today).

That’s right the NCAA is a 501(c)3. Don’t believe me? Look below.

Also, 82% of that revenue came from that year’s NCAA college basketball tournament. Which is why a particular new rule they handed down is fascinating.

Throughout history, when a regime was falling, that regime would always try to hang on to power with some drastic measure. This “Rich Paul” rule that requires agents to have a bachelors degree to advise college basketball players who declare for the draft is that drastic action. Honestly its not the rule that bothers me.

It’s the hypocrisy.

For years the NCAA has sold this notion of doing what was best for the student-athlete so that they can be set up for success to go pro in something other than sports. Their words, not mine. However, they could care less if they graduate. They instead cash checks from major TV network deals so they can keep their comfortable lives while they tell student-athletes that asking for cream cheese on a bagel or receiving gifts from a wedding registry are impermissible benefits. Yeah, I’m sure that $8.8 billion (there’s that b-word again) extension they signed with CBS to broadcast the tournament(Source: SB Nation) is going to go towards some annuity players can draw from once they graduate from college.

Hey, there’s a thought!

But they are looking out for the student-athlete? Please, miss me with all of that. Now, they are limiting the options to find an agent that they feel comfortable with and have more control over their lives once they leave campus. They know that many of these kids are not going to graduate, or at least not in four years. As long as they can exploit them while they have them, that’s all that matters to them.

However, you can’t blame the NCAA. The call to pay athletes has gotten louder in recent years. Current players are calling them out and while past players are suing for the use of their likeness in mediums like video games and more. Also legislation has passed in the state senate of California that would permitt student-athletes at California institutions to receive compensation from their name, image, or likeness that the NCAA is currently fighting(Source: USA Today).

Plain and simple, the NCAA is a cartel ran by its executives, college presidents, and athletic directors. College players are going to get paid. It’s only a matter of time. Will the NCAA go the way of the Roman Empire and dinosaurs? I don’t think so. However, the way it currently looks will drastically change. So I look forward to the next rule the comes down the pipeline that infuriates people and leads to their demise. The NCAA has been holding the ball for a very long time, but that shot clock is very close to running out!

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