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The country has finally realized what we should have all long ago realized, the NCAA has no real power, it’s the Wizard behind the curtain in Oz, the emperor with no clothes.
Today the NCAA reduced scholarship penalties against Penn State. In so doing the NCAA cited substantial improvements in Penn State’s governance. Whatever that means. Presumably USC is still thumbing its nose at NCAA authority, I guess Bruce Pearl’s three year show-cause penalty for lying about a BBQ is still considered just too, Ohio State players must still be getting tattoos in unprecedented volume. Otherwise how do you explain the continued penalties that exist there.
So the NCAA lifted one of its arbitrary and capricious penalties.
That only leaves a few dozen outstanding.
Rather than focus on one amended ruling, let’s take the next step, it’s time for the NCAA in its present construct to end, forever.
Amateurism, or more accurately, shamateurism, needs to die.
I’ve laid out my plan to change the NCAA, you can read it here.
The NCAA is a dead man walking, let’s go ahead and push it off the college sports cliff.
Because the NCAA in it’s present construct does more harm than good.
In the past several years, six things have conspired to render the NCAA obsolete:
1. We can compare investigations, penalties, and read the investigative reports.
Before the Internet most couldn’t share the NCAA’s informational findings. Media and fans only paid attention to what happened to their favored programs in their particular regions of the country. It was impossible to compare Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee, USC, North Carolina, and Miami sanctions.
Once we started to compare the program sanctions, we all realized something — there was no consistency here, no clear principles of penalty or penalty avoidance.
Like an ill-tempered, aging dictator, the NCAA was making it all up as it went along.
2. Fans have stopped gloating over cheating.
Yes, some programs probably do cheat more than others, but the NCAA has become a traffic cop, pulling over one program for speeding while everyone else is speeding by on the Interstate as it writes a ticket for the program it pulled over.
I hate the NCAA for the same reason I hate traffic cops, because the justice is completely arbitrary and is fixing a “crime” that doesn’t need to be fixed. Why do we speed? Because the speed limit is often unjust and arbitrary. Why do schools “cheat?”
For the same reasons.
In past years you’d gloat if your rival was caught by the NCAA. Now? Fans don’t really cheer over rivals being caught in the NCAA crosshairs, they just hope it isn’t them too. That’s because a realization has set in, that the NCAA could just as easily be punishing your favorite school as it is another rival school.
3. Cam Newton happened.
The most sacrosanct single rule in the NCAA rulebook is that you can’t sell your labor in exchange for your signature to play for a particular school.
The NCAA’s strangled Cam Newton ruling — he was eligible to play at Auburn because his dad tried to sell his services to another school — where he would have been ineligible to play — but then Cam and his dad decided to go to Auburn for free — was so absurd that even the most rabid Auburn fan on earth had to question the logic.
It led to the impossible result that Cam Newton was somehow eligible to play quarterback for Auburn against Mississippi State, but he would have been ineligible to play quarterback for Mississippi State against Auburn.
How is that even possible? Has any player ever been eligible in the same season to play for one team in the conference and ineligible to play for another team in the same conference?
Of course not.
The NCAA made it up as it went along.
4. Jesus would have been ineligible to play college sports.
The guy was a walking NCAA violation in a loin cloth, accepting free room and board all over the place based upon his unique talents.
And it’s not just Jesus who would have been ineligible, I firmly believe that if you rigorously applied the NCAA rulebook to every men’s basketball and football team in the country, every team would be ineligible to compete for titles. It’s impossible for everyone to stay eligible under the currently existing rules.
And, by the way, if you apply the NCAA rulebook to the NCAA, the organization itself is probably the largest serial violator of NCAA rules ever, accepting hundreds of millions of dollars for video game and television rights in perpetuity.
Remember, nobody can make money off the players except for the schools and the NCAA.
They have a monopoly.
5. The college football money skyrocketed.
There are billions of dollars a year at stake now.
Why should all the profits from college football go to subsidize other sports at universities? Why should my talent at football or basketball pay for your scholarship in lacrosse or women’s beach volleyball?
Why do players not deserve a cut of that money? So what if they waste or spend the money rashly? Lots of young adults and entertainers make stupid decisions with their money. Easy come, easy go. You know what’s actually good for our economy? Athletes spending all their money.
6. The NCAA’s moral authority died.
When you really boil it down, do you know what the NCAA’s job is when it comes to enforcement investigations?
Ensuring that if you’re poor and talented you remain poor and talented when your eligibility to play college sports is exhausted.
You know what most of the rest of us call “improper benefits?”
(And stop with the they’re paid with a free education argument. That isn’t a bargained for exchange. They’re forced to take that trade. If you think it’s such a great deal, would you give up your salary for the next four years to continue to do your exact same job while receiving a free education in exchange for it? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I’m sorry you had to pay for your college. You should have been better at something — sports, academics playing the flute, whatever — and then you could have gotten a scholarship too.)
Right now the NCAA’s enforcement arm is predicated on ensuring that you don’t make money off your own talents.
This means the NCAA is among the most fundamentally anti-capitalistic organization in America today.
If you like markets, intelligence, and capitalism — three things I love — then the NCAA represents everything you hate.
That’s why I say my political beliefs can be summed up succintly, I’m not a Republican or an Demcrat, I’m just anti-NCAA.
It’s way past time for the NCAA in its present structure to die forever.