Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sometimes, my Favorite Sport Just Sucks

My first reaction to the news that broke on Tuesday night that four former Auburn players have stated on HBO's Real Sports that they were paid in violation of NCAA rules was "damn right." Even since the Cam Newton story broke and Auburn kept right on truckin' to and through Glendale, I've wanted the NCAA to tag the Tigers. My feelings of schadenfreude doubled when the news seeped out that Stanley McClover is also describing payments that he received on visits to Ohio State and Michigan State. Short of including Florida State and Tennessee in the mix, this is pretty much a perfect scandal for me in terms of my current rooting interests.

After thinking about the scandal for an hour or so, my opinion changed because I remembered that the NCAA's rules against paying players who generate millions of dollars for their schools are an affront. The rules represent a rare instance where liberals and conservatives should agree. Liberals should hate the rules because they force an income transfer from labor (especially labor that tends to be poor and Black) to management (the mostly wealthy, white individuals who run the business of college football). Conservatives should hate the rules because they counteract the way that a free market should work. The most basic precept of the free market is that individuals should be able to contract freely with one another and receive the benefit of their bargain without artificial rules corrupting the process. The NCAA prevents this from happening by stopping millions of dollars that want to end up in the pockets of college football players from doing so.

And where do those millions of dollars end up? How about two examples from yesterday's headlines. One place they end up is in the pocket of coaches, regardless of whether those coaches deserve the money. You end up with a coach who sports a career losing record being rewarded with a six-year deal averaging $3.25 million per season. Yes, a guy who said that he would walk from San Diego to Ann Arbor is being paid as if Michigan had no leverage with him whatsoever. The contract that Dave Brandon authorized for Brady Hoke is so ludicrously generous on its face that my first thought was that Brandon was acting like the sheikhs who run Manchester City and distort the transfer market by overpaying for players, often by a factor of two. (Seriously, how many athletic directors are seeing their best-layed budget plans flying out the window now that Michigan has set the bar for a coach with an average-at-best resume at $3.25 million? What do coaches with good resumes now get? If Hoke is worth $3.25 million, then what is Nick Saban worth? $15 million?) That said, at least the sheiks waste their money on the players on the field. Dave Brandon can't overspend on the players who bust their humps in winged helmets, so he has to do so on Bobby Bacala's twin.

Where else does the money end up? Let's ask the incorruptible souls who run the Fiesta Bowl. I'm stealing the summary from EDSDS:

• Junker had a fetish for gold investing, and charged $1,595 to Fractal Publishing for their subscription marketing service. According to its website, Fractal Publishing offers The Fractal Market Report and The Fractal Gold Report, providing "a detailed forecast for equity markets, as well as selected other markets like silver, bonds, and crude oil." Junker also blew over $22,000 for gold coins purchased with Bowl funds because, urr, DURR, durp.

• Junker in effect provided the startup capital for "Blue Steel," the security company run by a Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy who later ensured that Junker's daughter received a police security escort to her prom.

• In order to "reach out to the Hispanic community," Junker sent Natalie Wisneski, the Fiesta's chief operating officer, to a Hispanic businesswoman's conference in Paris.

• The Bowl awarded construction contracts to standing board members in a no-bid process. #wellplayed

• Summed up by one quote: "As a general matter, it is unclear who is in charge of guiding the Bowl’s investment strategy for its available cash."

College football manages to combine massive exploitation and massive waste. In the words of Didier Drogba, it's a f***ing disgrace.


Anonymous said...

So right now:

-both 2011 MNC participants are in trouble (Street Agents for Oregon, Handshakes and Cam Newton's pop for Auburn)

-Both Sugar Bowl participants are in trouble (OSU for the Tat Five and Tressel's coverup, Arkansas for Street Agents)

-The 11-2 LSU Tigers might be in real trouble for Patrick Peterson (Street Agents)

-11-2 Michigan State might be implicated by the McClover thing

-The best program of the past decade just had massive sanctions imposed against it for improper benefits.


We have two major stories coming down the pipe from Charles Robinson, one of which he said is a "10" if Tressel's kerfluffle is a "7" (what could that be? Major improper benefits at Notre Dame? Pay-for-play with Tim Tebow or Vince Young?)

Very dumb people have trouble understanding this, but when everybody's speeding, you have to increase the speed limit. Maybe this summer will be the catalyst for a positive change of the rules.

Anonymous said...

Yet another reason to chuck the BSC bowl system and put together a 16 team playoff. At least the crooks will be concentrated in one entity (NCAA).

Savannah Adams said...

It is disheartening that some players accept dirty money to throw a game. Sportmanship is taken for granted sometimes, just because of money. It is so sad. =(

Savannah Adams