By CHB on 22:42:26 06/08/11
- BUT, because I'm a "question all authority at all times" kind of guy, I also believe one of the great continuing lessons in human history is to never assume that persons in positions of great responsibility are acting responsibly - and I don't believe the NCAA is acting responsibly in continuing to perpetuate this elaborate charade of purely amateur "student" athletics. Economics and player/fan/booster self-interest will never be successfully held apart, nor kept ancillary to institutional economic self-interest, which in the current model keeps NCAA athletics about everything ($$$) but student-athletes. So I just can't get to the point that I spew venom at the Terrelle Pryors of the world - even though it is abundantly clear they are rule breakers.
For you economic types, the NCAA is attempting to crush the "invisible hand" mechanism that almost always yields something beneficial to society. Among Gates, Zuckerberg, Dell, Andreessen, Fanning, et al, I'm fairly certain most, if not all, crossed some college rule or rules on their way to creating the useful products we've enjoyed over the years. Demand and supply (in that order) couldn't be blunted as economic forces were at work which demanded far more respect than the rules designed to limit them in some way. At the core, it's really no different within college athletics - ivory tower rationalizations notwithstanding.
More rules and stricter enforcement aren't the answer - is there anyone left who still believes it's possible to comb through any big-time program and not find a considerable number of rules infractions that are occurring on a regular basis? It's an MTV "Cribs", "Pimp My Ride", whips, dubs and bling generation playing ball these days - and a great many of these guys are as popular as the celebrities they sit and watch daily (somewhere right now some big-time and well-paid celebrities are sitting and discussing Terelle Pryor - who for them is a fellow star and entertainer. And they're right. Star players "create" and the public demands the product - and it's a "supply creation" deal that began before the players ever arrived on campus. Players aren't blind to the economic impact they're creating, and they don't see similar level celebrities getting paid in scholarship dollars. In that light there's something completely wrong about having colleges sniff out every penny a player comes by that wasn't handed directly to them by their parents.
Going forward I don't want to hear anything more about graduation rates, all-conference academic selections, highly respected admissions standards, and the like: bottom line - if you're in the highest division of college athletics and you're anywhere within the polls, or close by, economic self-interest is alive and well on your campus. It's just one curious journalist away from starting the dominoes to falling.
Yes, Tressel did wrong. Pryor did wrong - and likely many more did as well, here and elsewhere. But you have to be extremely naive to believe you're looking at anything other than the tip of a mammoth iceberg whose slippery slopes are going to continually shed loads more players, coaches and administrators left stranded in a difficult spot by a shipwrecked NCAA doomed by it's own inability to steer a sensible course because it was too busy chasing player pennies rolling across the deck - or counting all its own bounty down in the hold.
Amateur athletics is dead to me and I can't imagine this NCAA charade can continue much longer...
What a mess!