Obama vs. "Go Bama," & a Call to End College Sports!

Columnist Ron Hart talks 'Bama and Obama, who has spoken in favor of a college football playoff system:

Obama’s Justice Department has kicked around many legal strategies on how to gain the control of the NCAA football system that the federal government currently does not have. DOJ is well-versed in the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution, since that is its justification for the individual mandate provision of Obamacare.

Maybe now it could say the University of Alabama, in recruiting Flint, Michigan's Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mark Ingram, violated laws against kidnapping, smuggling or transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of commerce. We have so many laws in this country; there has to be one the Department of Justice can contort into fitting its goal.

If Obama had his way with “equity” in college football, he could work toward his dream of "fairness" so that every team in the country would have a record of 6 and 6. He would love that, because then he would get to decide the national champion. In Obama’s view, since he is granted the right under our Constitution to dismiss the head of General Motors, Inc., he should certainly have the right to fire the offensive coordinator at LSU.

Whole thing here.

As a long-suffering college fan who graduated from three schools (Rutgers, Temple, SUNY-Buffalo) that have historically sucked at football (despite one of them, Rutgers, winning the very first collegiate game and then losing every other one until a few years ago), I have no opinion on how the NCAA should do things.

I like college sports a lot (esp. football and basketball), but as a taxpayer and a Ph.D. with many faculty friends, I think there is something tremendously sickening with the massive amounts of subsidies that go into college sports. There is simply no question that sports do not serve any conceivable educational mission and they definitely drain resources from the sorts of research and teaching that colleges supposedly exist to produce and support. The ultimate resource on this matter is USA Today's database of how much college athletic departments are subsidized, especially by mandatory student fees.

While schools such as LSU and Alabama don't rake off student fees to cover sports programs, most Division I schools do. For instance, in the 2009-2010 academic year, Rutgers spent $8.4 million a year in student fees on sports teams, while the school kicked in another $18.4 million in "direct institutional support." Then there's about $9 million in scholarships and another $11.2 million in coaches' compensation.

Screw that.

Especially because the college sports system is built upon the worst sort of cartelization, labor practices, and exploitation. It's essentially impossible for players in basketball and football (the only two sports that throw off cash) to route around the college system due to collusion by the NCAA and the pro leagues. Spin the college sports teams off already and let schools focus on research and teaching; allow pro sports leagues to figure out what to pay junior players in junior leagues; let voluntarily funded clubs and associations cover the costs of other sports.

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  • Abdul||

    Spin the college sports teams off already and let schools focus on research and teaching; allow pro sports leagues to figure out what to pay junior players in junior leagues; allow voluntarily-funded clubs and associations cover the costs of other sports

    That's crazy talk! How will people who can only score 820 on the SAT get full scholarships and cushy treatment at big schools?

  • ||

    Same reason someone is a great concert pianist might get let in even though their writing skills suck and they can't do algebra.

  • Abdul||

    I haven't seen too many concert painist full ride scholarships.

  • Gojira||

    It's the market. Not that many people give a shit about concert pianists. Lots of people are really passionate about football. Sounds like you just don't like what the masses have expressed a preference for.

  • ||

    I've seen a full scholarship for violin. It happens.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    But could they read and do basic math? That seems to be what John is saying. If you're a functional retard, you can still get a full scholarship as long as you're really good at something. It doesn't have to be football or basketball.

  • ||

    Yes they could, but your point is still valid. I wonder if they give out scholarships for being a retard. The best retard.

    Mongoloid

  • ||

    If you are good enough at a performing art, the schools will look the other way on a lot of things. There are fewer of those slots available. But they do exist.

  • Gojira||

    Hehehe, "slots".

  • ||

    See, I've felt for some time that college athletes that are aspiring to make the pro leagues should be majoring in their sport. Quit pretending that they should be persuing a liberal arts degree and make them study football full time.

  • Robert||

    It's only crazy talk because then they'd forego the enormous tax advantages varsity sports get. Wally Olson explained this to me.

  • Matt C||

    I played DIII sports - there is no doubt that our team brought in zero revenue to the school, and that tuition and endowment funds were used to support the sports programs...but our teams also were dirt cheap, we got new uniforms once every 4 years (if that), we never stayed overnight in hotels, we paid for our own shoes and gear, and I could make the case that I paid for myself to play with my tuition.

    I did this all for free (actually probably cost me in the end), while practicing and preparing just as much as a DI or DII athlete on scholarship.

    I agree with you Nick that at the large DI schools, boosters should be funding the sports programs exclusively. No tuition or endowment funds should be used.

    I would extend this to high school as well. Why do tax dollars of people who have no kids go to pay for soccer balls and football helmets for the fraction of kids who play sports in school? If they want to play, they should pay for it, or a booster group should pay for it.

  • ||

    SUNY-Buffalo

    I'm sorry, Nick.

  • ||

    I used to be anti college sports until I went to Europe. No college sports there. And no one would ever think in a million years to give any money to their old college. College sports is tribalism. It gives people who graduate from the college a connection back to their colleges after they graduate. And a reason to give money.

    You may not like college sports. But college fund raisers do. And not just fund raisers for the athletic department. Fund raisers for the university at large love them too.

  • Tank||

    Bingo.

  • Abdul||

    I seem to remember reading that even when you factor in alumni good-will, licensing fees, etc., most schools still lose money on college sports.

    Europeans are notorious cheapskates when it comes to donations in all areas (Irish are an exception). In large part, this is because they look to the Goverment take care of all their needs.

  • ||

    I would like to see that study Abdul. My wife is in higher ed. And she and her piers would disagree with you.

    There is another factor that goes in as well. Sports attract male students, which colleges are having an increasingly hard time finding.

  • ||

    She and her Piers Anthony? You have an interesting wife, John.

  • ||

    Yeah yeah yeah.

  • H man||

    Co-eds attract male students as well. I think the whole sex imblance thing is a self correcting problem.

  • The Man with the Penis Tattoo||

    ^^THIS

  • ||

    Sports attract male students, which colleges are having an increasingly hard time finding.

    Perhaps if colleges weren't such hostile environments for males, this wouldn't be a problem.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Is your wife some kind of marine specializing civil engineer or something?

  • alexdroog||

    Nick provided a link to a sortable database in the post:

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports.....nances.htm

  • Raven Nation||

    I'm pretty sure that all but the Top 25 or so football programs lose money but most other sports break even or even make money depending on how successful they are.

    But schools see football as a way to recruit students: that's one of the reasons Georgia State introduced football.

  • Gojira||

    There's also an argument that can be made that some universities get a lot more students than they would otherwise if they weren't national powers in college sports.

    In the 80s, in response to breaking scandals in the football program, the president of Miami wanted to severely scale back the program, and openly stated that he thought most of the vast increase in enrollment over the last decade was because people respected the insitution from an academic standpoint.

    He was silent after a survey was taken amongst the students who overwhelming told him no, if we cared about academics we'd go somewhere else. We came here because the U is the premier football organization in Florida (at that time, they were much more popular than the Dolphins).

  • ||

    My old college, Oklahoma State, has more applications for this fall than they have ever had in its history. It also is ahead of schedule for its capital campaign. That is what one great football season can do.

    Yeah, it is totally stupid. But it is also how the world works.

  • Gojira||

    Just think how much better it would have been if Iowa State hadn't fucked your title shot...

    BTW, Nick Saban voted you guys 4th, after Stanford, in the last regular season poll, just as a "fuck you" to non-blue blood schools.

  • ||

    It is worse than that. I can forgive Saban. At least he is acting in his own interest. The Air Force coach voted them 6th because he was pissed off about one of his coaches leaving to go to OSU last year. Some 90 something former SID directer in Iowa got to vote in the AP poll and voted them seventh because he was an Iowa guy and he didn't want to have to see Iowa State claim it beat the team that won the national title. I kid you not.

    There were about ten what I call "clown votes" where people rated OSU way down for no reason other than stupidity or spite. Had every voter put OSU and Alabama 2 and 3 in order of preference and the clown votes not happened, OSU would have been in the title game.

    And oh by the way don't forget that the Sugar Bowl made the two most bizarre BCS bowl picks in history. Them paying off Big 10 coaches, who all voted Alabama second, by picking Michigan and letting them pick their opponent (the totally undeserving VA Tech) had nothing to do with Alabama getting in. Nothing.

  • Gojira||

    Don't get me started. Have you read this? Great book. As with all things, follow the money.

    Though I'm as guilty of it as anybody. I actually went to the first "Ticket City Bowl" last year, because Tech was playing in it. So I helped support a new shitty unnecessary bowl.

  • ||

    You SFed the link. The whole system is corrupt. But I think the poor ratings of the BCS title game will change things. Only college Presidents could think that a rematch from two small media markets was a good idea. It will never happen again.

  • Gojira||

    ? The link works for me when I click on it.

    But yeah, they're already talking about a four team playoff for next year.

  • ||

    Doesn't work for me, either.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Try this.

  • ||

    the BCS is the worst of all worlds. The old bowl system had its charms. All the teams would play each other on New Year's day and at the end of it you would judge who was best. It didn't always match who people thought were the two best teams. But it made most of the games relevant to the national title. And since colleges don't play many inter-sectional games, who you thought were the two best teams was not always the case.

    There were many years when there were two undefeated teams every one was convinced were the best and one or both of them would lose. For example, in 1977 the consensus was that Texas and Oklahoma were the two best teams. Texas had beaten Oklahoma and finished undefeated. Sure enough both teams (Texas to Notre Dame and Oklahoma to Arkansas) in the bowls and Notre Dame won the title. In the BCS era they would have rematched Texas and OU and Notre Dame never would have had a shot.

    The BCS has none of the certainty of a playoff. But by matching the two alleged top teams takes away all of the fun of the old bowl system. It is the worst of both worlds.

  • KDN||

    Like most objective sports rankings, the BCS does a terrible job of picking out who's the absolute best but is quite good at giving you the best group. I've long been in favor of using it to pick out the wild cards in a 16 team playoff (all conference champs get a birth, no more Boise St screwjobs) and using bowl season as the first round of the playoff. I think it's too late for that, though.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I swear Boise State cultists are worse than Apple worshippers. Boise State plays no-talent ass clowns all. year. long.

  • KDN||

    I swear Boise State cultists are worse than Apple worshippers. Boise State plays no-talent ass clowns all. year. long.

    Pretty much. Watching them get whipped by a 9-3 WVU or Va Tech every year in the playoffs would be pretty funny.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    So I helped support a new shitty unnecessary bowl.

    I've taken to talking about the Retail Co. Ltd. Whogivesashit Bowl.

  • Gojira||

    I want to found a successful company that manufactures toilets, so I can sponsor the Toilet Bowl every year, between the two last-place teams. They get to duke it out for who is the least shitty. Winner gets a toilet with a crystal turd in it...because even when you win the Toilet Bowl, you're still a loser.

  • Gojira||

    And BTW, does anybody benefit from that shitty system more than UT? They can finish 8-4, and still get voted into the top 25, every year. It's stupid disgusting.

  • Brandon||

    Why? They lost to 3 top 10 teams and a team that was supposed to be in the top 25. Who would you have put in their place at 25?

  • T||

    Disgusting? It's fantastic. \m/

    But it does prove the larger point about the whole system being a sham. I mean, shit, Texas finished 8-5 with a 4-5 conference record and we were ranked in the top 25. Are you kidding me?

  • rho||

    The fact that you know all of that is answer enough as to why college sports are popular. It's a soap opera with statistics to draw in the male viewership.

  • ||

    Well yeah.

  • rho||

    What ice cream do you prefer when you're watching your stories and menstruating?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    "soap opera" makes no sense.

    "English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?"

  • romulus augustus||

    Some voters are a-holes about any award. Oscars, Baseball Hall of Fame
    (e.g. neither Mike Schmidt or Tom Seaver were consensus picks for the Hall), etc.

  • ||

    Don't get me started on the Baseball Hall of Fame Voters. What a bunch of fucking old men assholes they are. Eight of those brain dead fucks didn't put Hank Aaron on their ballots. A bunch of them didn't put Steve Carlton. They won't vote for one of the top three left handed pitchers of all time because he was mean to them in interviews. They didn't like him.

    They will vote some hall of the very good player like Kirby Puckett in because he kissed their ass. But they will totally screw and fuck with other more deserving players. God I hate those fucks.

  • KDN||

    There's a pretty good argument to be made that Carlton is overrated, especially if you take away his brilliant and kind of fluky 1972 season. He's still awesome, but I'd probably put him top-25 instead of the top-10 he's usually regarded as.

  • romulus augustus||

    Fluky? Didn't he win like 27 games for the last place Phillies who couldn't hit the ball out of the infield??

  • romulus augustus||

    I wasn't aware that Lew, Murray and six other "Ron Paul Report" writers were HOF voters??

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    As you've pointed out, John, it all boils down to money. The BCS is a HUGE money generator because of the TV rights, and the various bowls that should just go away (New Mexico Bowl, Independence Bowl, etc., I'm looking at you) have managed to stick around because even if they are sparsely attended, that's still money being spent in the local area that wouldn't be otherwise.

    An actual fair system would set up a 16-team playoff with the 11 conference champs getting automatic bids, and the last five being determined by tiebreakers (head-to-head, conference record, etc., none of this "strength of schedule" bullshit) Rack the regular season back to nine or ten games, and you'll still have enough time to do a playoff in December.

    But it won't happen because the current system has too many vested interests to change.

  • KDN||

    I think you can keep it at 11 games with a play clock and overtime adjustment (5 minute regular period, imo; clock mgmt is essential in football, I don't know why every system avoids it). Agreed with the overall structure, but if you use the BCS (with some tweaks) it avoids many of the more ridiculous tiebreakers that the NFL ends up with and can provide a seeding structure.

    The playoff can kick off with 8 select bowls on Jan. 1 to keep the bowl system in existence (people like it, why change it?) and move to regional NFL stadia from there, culminating in a Nat Champ the week before the Super Bowl or even the Monday after.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Without subsidized student educations, there would be a lot fewer people who think they can afford to select a university based on its sports programs.

  • tarran||

    There is a far more important issue than whether schools should recruit players: why the hell is that surfer wearing a football uniform?

    I am puzzle.

  • rho||

    Until there's a Football University we're all just living a lie.

  • ||

  • Brandon||

    Umm, Oklahoma? No one in its history has ever gone there for academics, so why else does it exist?

  • rho||

    Until somebody graduates with a major in "Football" it's just lies all the way down.

  • ||

    Oklahoma? No one in its history has ever gone there for academics, so why else does it exist?

    I was going to argue that my wife graduated from there and she certainly wasn't on the football team. Then I realized that, considering the level of her "education" you are probably correct.

  • Gojira||

    Oh, and on this subject, did anyone see this yesterday?

    I personally think it looks gay, because without the school colors or logo, it just looks like a faggy 300 tattoo.

  • ||

    Or a heavy metal album cover.

  • Gojira||

    From the early 90's.

  • ||

    Are those clouds tattooed on preexisting keloids? Uh...good decision, brah.

  • Gojira||

    Yep, that's gonna look absolutely awesome when he's 50 yrs old, & 50 lbs overweight.

  • Ice Nine||

    Actually, bad decision (if that is actually the case, which I doubt since most keloid formers would know better). The last thing a keloid former wants to do is traumatize his skin - excellent way to get more or bigger keloids.

  • ||

  • ||

    Fucking tattoos, how do they work?

  • Ice Nine||

    One would have thought that it would be impossible to make whatever she was trying to do there look more stupid but she seems to have found a way.

  • ||

    Don't you other her.

  • ||

    Other that person? Why do you both insist upon gendering...that person?

  • tarran||

    Jesus! That's fucking disgusting!

  • mr simple||

    Did you click through to see A.J. McCarron's tatoo? Also from that story, his girlfriend must be ugly-ugly if he makes her wear a bag on her head in public. That's worse than ugly, fugly, pug-fugly, or fug-pugly.

  • R||

    If he'd had the Spartan wearing actual armor instead of using an actor from 300 as a model, it would have worked even without the colors. But instead he had to go with a dude wearing the men's version of female RPG armor, which is a decidedly gay thing for a dude to have on a tattoo (NTTAWWT).

  • Jake Collin||

    One of things I like about Europe (the food is another) is the lack of school athletic programs. Instead, they have local club teams either created by the community or sponsored by a professional club. This seems to be the way to go. It won't happen, but I can dream.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Basically how pro baseball and the NFL started.

    No matter what enjoyment one gets out of it, college sports are still minor league. Maybe 100 years ago that wasn't the case, but it is now. Extreme pride in second-rate sports, especially after graduation, is something shit-for-brains do.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Extreme pride in second-rate sports, especially after graduation, is something shit-for-brains do.

    But no more stupid than, say, calling someone a "shit-for-brains", I think.

  • Robert||

    Hey, now, wait a minute. I can have extreme pride in 7th-rate football --http://www.eteamz.com/bronxwarriorsfootball/index.cfm?league=3858544&subsite=5597869 -- because it's all about the competition, whether it's children the same age or weight, women, 172 lbs. limit collegians, players in countries where the game isn't big, or whoever.

  • Robert||

    Think about it this way: All games are about limits. You could have more spectacular tennis shots if the net weren't in the way, more accurate soccer shots & passes if you could handle the ball, faster horse races if the horses had motors, better poker hands if you could draw 20 cards, etc. A college team still has accomplished something by beating other college teams, because they're all limited to college students as players.

  • Tim||

    OT:
    State of Vermont auctions its mobile poultry processing unit.

    http://www.auctionsinternation.....0000077280

  • Ice Nine||

    Bet there'll be lots of action on that; who doesn't need one of those?

  • Tim||

    Something like this makes you wonder how many penis pumps the State has in inventory.

  • Paul||

    The commerce clause! Is there nothing it can't do?

  • James Caan||

    When was the last time 80,000 people showed up to watch a chemistry experiment?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Hiroshima.

    too soon?

  • Brandon||

    Wasn't Nagasaki after Hiroshima?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    yes...i was being quick.

  • Paul||

    But you're no Brown Fox.

  • Robert||

    If it is, it wasn't for me. I can't remember when I last LOL at a comment here, before that one. Excellent.

  • The Man with the Penis Tattoo||

    "When was the last time 80,000 people showed up to watch a chemistry experiment?"

    Granted it was a physics experiment not chemistry, but does Hiroshima count?

  • rho||

    Physics and chemistry are the same thing with different rulers.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Every science of any consequence is an effective theory of physics at some level, but so what?

    The boundaries of what can be usefully done by the methods of physics creep slowing into territory that the chemist use to hold alone; the bounds of organic chemistry slowly over take the biochemists; the biochemists explain more and more about biology, medicine and psychology; and so on.

    None the less, each science has the best methods for attacking some set of problems.

  • KDN||

    Every science of any consequence is an effective theory of physics at some level

    Lies, it's all just math.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    ::shrug::

    Math isn't a science. Those guys can, and do, change the rules for no better reason then that it amuses them.

    'Course a lot of what they come out with after doing that turns out to have application to something, somewhere.

    But it still ain't a science.

  • MJ||

    Chemistry is physics but physics is not chemistry.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    The ultimate resource on this matter is USA Today's database of how much college athletic departments are subsidized, especially by mandatory student fees.

    We don't generally call those "subsidies". We call them "fees". Unless you want to say that student subsidize the health clinic and the Activities Board too. But then the word subsidy wouldn't mean anything.

    Especially because the college sports system is built upon the worst sort of cartelization, labor practices, and exploitation. It's essentially impossible for players in basketball and football (the only two sports that throw off cash) to route around the college system due to collusion by the NCAA and the pro leagues.

    Pity the poor 18-year-old with a full-ride to a prestigious university, who gets more ass, private tutelage, and coddling than some Saudi princes. I can't see through my tears.

  • ||

    And gets a million connections by being a former jock and if he is good enough gets an apprenticeship for a career that pays seven figures. Cry me a river.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Seriously, anyone with one ounce of pity or sympathy for college athletes deserves a flick to the taint.

    I never hear radio personalities or other commentators blubbering over the fact that the 17-year-old guy only got a $10,000 signing bonus for agreeing to become an artilleryman.

  • KDN||

    I'm sympathetic to both sides. It's true that there's no reason to cry for the guys that will make a career out of sports, but for a lot of the ones that are college-tier stars with no professional potential they get pretty roundly screwed out of their peak earning potential so that a bunch of commie college professors can spend the money their talent made available on shit that they have no use for. The knock about artillerymen gets the same reaction I give to people that complain about athlete salaries relative to teachers: there's a lot more people capable of being artillerymen at the expected level than there are ballplayers, and each ballplayer has a much greater impact on the bottom line of his organization.

    Also, both the rules on the books and the enforcement mechanisms used by the NCAA are simply absurd. I've seen it up close, and it's just a festering pit of stupid.

  • tarran||

    You do realize that with the prohibitions on paying them money - those athletes are broke and utterly dependent on the schools for everything.

    Even the army pays recruits at boot camp.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    You do realize that with the prohibitions on paying them money - those athletes are broke and utterly dependent on the schools for everything.

    They knew that when they signed on the dotted line. These are adults who sign contracts or other binding agreements. And they still get monthly stipends.

    They're "broke" adults who get a full ride, including books, and stipends? This is in the "feel bad for the millionaire who stubbed his toe" category.

  • ||

    As someone who spent his freshman year attempting to study in a dorm that was half full of dudes on athletic scholarship assholes, I say fuck yeah.

  • Brandon||

    If you're gonna be in college, you should learn to proofread.

  • ||

    You see!

    Can I sue the state for this? I can't even write properly! And I had to pay for my own edumucation.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    One more thing: The Ohio State University does not use one thin dime of direct state support or student fees for athletics.

    I am kind of stunned that Mr. Gillespie, living so close to a living, breathing example of a university that combines athletics and one of the best research and academic programs in the Midwest (see also: Michigan), has such a hard line about this.

  • ||

    There are a dozen schools in OSU's financial class, out of 120. The bottom 60 rob students to fund athletic endeavors. Then we move to I-AA (FCS), and matters decline faster. You would have a point if you could say the same thing about Kent State, but they're just losing their shirts, as are almost all mid-majors. And kids on financial aid are paying to maintain the pretence of a D-I program.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    The bottom 60 rob students to fund athletic endeavors.

    Robbery is theft by force. I think you meant to say "charge voluntary adult customers".

    and kids on financial aid are paying to maintain the pretence of a D-I program.

    And...?

  • ||

    Robbery is also theft by fraud. And coercion. And kids on financial aid at a major institution are dealing with a monopoly provider chooses not to advertise that those students are borrowing money so that Coach Jack-em-up doesn't take his carpetbag down the road.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Robbery is also theft by fraud. And coercion. And kids on financial aid at a major institution are dealing with a monopoly provider chooses not to advertise that those students are borrowing money so that Coach Jack-em-up doesn't take his carpetbag down the road.

    This is more of a stretch than Lindsay Lohan's legs when a vial of coke is at stake.

    Problem #1 - there is no fraud or coercion. 18-year-olds can just as easily find out where their fees are going to. And even if they don't, so what? McDonald's may jack up their prices so that their CEO can get a golden bidet. If I don't like it, I'll eat somewhere else. That leads to...

    Problem #2 - how in the world is any particular institution a "monopoly provider"? Is there suddenly a shortage of post-secondary educational options in the country?

    Failure to disclose is not fraud (and university books are open); there is no coercion. Your contention that this is "robbery" is completely ridiculous. They are 18-year-old adults, not delicate lambs.

  • ||

    Got it. fOSU is just like a fast food joint. Insightful. Same lock-in costs, commitment, and complexity, as in the event one wishes to switch from McD. to Wendy's.

  • LinAL||

    I know it's just for alliteration, but nobody says "go bama". It's "Roll Tide". Thankyouverymuch.

  • ||

    It was until at least the 70s that most Alabama fans knew that toilet paper had another use besides being stuck on Tide detergent boxes and made into signs.

  • Robert||

    What did they use before that brand was invented? Crimson Rinso just doesn't have the same ring.

    Eh, come to think of it, I have video of U.Tenn. vs. U.Ala. varsity football from back then, and they dressed so much better they didn't have to hide behind a soap box.

  • rho||

    What's the difference between Auburn and Alabama? They all look the same to me.

  • Antonin Scalia||

    One throws their toilet paper over old trees. The other glues it to Tide boxes.

  • Richard Head||

    One has a Tiger mascot and says 'War Eagle', the other has an elephant mascot and says 'Roll Tide'.

    And both kickass in Football.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    I worked at one of those places for three years and I still haven't figured out how that works.

  • Jeremy||

    Well...Auburn kicks ass in football every 5-10 years before they go back on probation again.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Can anyone clearly delineate a significant difference between professional sports organizations (e.g., the MLB or NFL) and the NCAA?

    Each is its own institution.
    Each promulgates and enforces the rules by which teams must abide.
    Teams are not forced to become members of the organization - that is, membership is voluntary.
    Some teams who have joined each organization receive taxpayer dollars, and some don't.

    If a college doesn't like the NCAA's rules, it can leave. There is no law that says you have to be in the NCAA. If you hate the BCS so much, then leave.

  • ||

    Sure, they could leave. I guess they could play themselves. It's not like there's a network effect controlling individual organizational behavior. Your point is like saying the USA should withdraw from the ICAO -- because, hey, who needs to fly to another country or let other countries fly here, when we can fly ourselves around our own?

    More reasonably, I think we'll see the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC create a new super-class, just as D-IAA split off from D-I around 1979. Presumably the super class will start sharing some of the loot with the athletes and create a playoff.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I guess they could play themselves. It's not like there's a network effect controlling individual organizational behavior. Your point is like saying the USA should withdraw from the ICAO -- because, hey, who needs to fly to another country or let other countries fly here, when we can fly ourselves around our own?

    Look, that is the standard libertarian rejoinder (one which I heartily endorse, by the way) when people complain about private actors. Go start your own NCAA.

    If the shadings and complications of "network effects" are valid complaints about the NCAA, then they are valid complaints when someone talks about how his favorite bar is too smoky or his employer has a policy he doesn't like. It's simple freedom of association.

  • ||

    I gather you have never heard of switching costs, either.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I gather you have never heard of switching costs, either.

    I could say the same thing about someone who complains about his job.

    Am I aware that there are benefits to tapping into the pre-existing system rather than starting one from scratch on your own terms and with your own rules.

    Fucking duh, guy. That isn't the point. The point is that people harbor special hate in their heart for this particular private institution, and I don't get it. If a school doesn't like the rules, it can leave the association. True of a individual at a job he doesn't like; true of someone who signed a land covenant or joined a HOA; true of the NCAA's members.

  • ||

    And this is why libertarians suffer slings and arrows. They think moving a $100mm enterprise from a monopoly organization, to a nonexistent abstraction of an organization (oh, during summer break?) is like selling a house because of HOA constraints.

  • Robert||

    There's already the NAIA.

  • Robert||

    And there was AIAW, which among other things organized women's intercollegiate basketball before the NCAA muscled them out from under those boards.

  • Mr Whipple||

    As a long-suffering college fan who graduated from three schools (Rutgers, Temple, SUNY-Buffalo)

    Temple? Isn't there where people go that flunk out of real college?

  • Bill Cosby||

    It's where you get a master's in Pudding Popology.

  • ||

    One thing is clear to me, as someone who has been writing about Big Time College sports for a while: the Big Schools have no idea, at present, how to manage their athletic enterprises. They are going to have to hire some serious nut-cutting executives to backstop the college presidents. Or they are going to have to create a new semi-pro organization in which the rules and standards of behavior are vague to meaningless. The current system has the tail wagging the university dog, while shouting to the skies that the opposite is true.

  • Seer||

    This post ignored the 800 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to college sports: title IX.

    Many, many schools could make money off of their football and men's basketball programs, but they end up losing on funding so many women's sports that no one really wants to watch, and that have no real prospects of advancing anyone's careers.

  • ||

    Agreed.

  • ||

    Good point. Saying "they are subsidized" is somewhat irrelevant when you are grouping all athletics together. It is much more likely that the sports that are subsidized are ones that the market has not favored. Football, basketball and baseball might fund themselves while women's field hockey probably doesn't.

  • Handsome Dan||

    Sports are for retards. Lock thread.

  • ||

    Obama’s Justice Department has kicked around many legal strategies on how to gain the control of the NCAA football system that the federal government currently does not have.

    I used to oppose the government getting involved in sports and other relatively trivial matters where they have no business. I've come to wish they'd spend all their time involved in doing stuff like passing resolutions and managing football and baseball.

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