Why Can't We Be More Like Tatarstan?

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Over at The Huffington Post, Northeastern University Law Professor Roger I. Abrams, who is probably some kind of Red Sox fan, comes up with the most asinine non-bailout public policy proposal you'll hear all day, riffing from the apparently untenable system the National Collegiate Athletic Association has for determining its champion football team, and a jokey statement from Barack Obama about this important national issue.

Of course, all other NCAA championship finalists in all other sports are determined by playoffs, but the defenders of the status quo fear the loss of collegiate glory for the many teams that can play in the "Corporate-Sponsored Bowl." Those lesser bowls actually cost colleges money after they cover expenses, money that is in short supply these days. I will leave the merits of the two conflicting approaches for a later discussion. But the Obama comment raises a more fundamental question: what might the President-Elect do to make sure someone in the federal government is responsible for national policy on, and coordination of, athletics and sports?

I propose we create a Department of Sport. Admittedly, this is not a unique idea. Most countries have a Ministry of Sports with responsibility for fostering physical education, developing amateur athletics and monitoring the businesses of professional sports.

Hmmm, let's see what well-governed, freedom-loving sports powerhouses come up first in a Google search on "Ministry of Sports"!

1) India
2) Tatarstan (pictured)
3) Guyana
4) Cameroon
5) Belarus [pdf]
6) Pakistan
7) Oman
8) Malaysia
9) Oman, again
10) Rwanda

So what's the rationale?

Obviously, placing the portfolio for athletics and professional sports in a single governmental entity would allow for some rational oversight. Under the current system of non-oversight, athletics have been driven purely by the profit motive.

Obviously! And as a result of this glaring lack, we continue to muddle through with the world's most entertaining and highest-quality competition in baseball, basketball, American-rules football, hockey, track and field, the gorgeous ladies of wrestling, and on and on. Not only has the profit motive improved said competition, the competitors themselves, once they were allowed to earn the fruits of their labors (much to the chagrin of those who prefer sporting indentured servitude in "pure" fields of play such as Cuba) then encouraged the rest of us to let our freak flags fly.

Best part of Professor Abrams' proposal?

I must admit a personal interest in this new Department of Sport since I would be more than willing to serve as its first Secretary.

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  1. The guy in the picture has loved sports since he was a tot. But he was too puny to actually play. So he wanted to be in the Ministry of Sports of Tatarstan. You could say he was a Tatar-Tot.

  2. Coming soon: Matt Welch, Sports Czar

  3. I must admit a personal interest in this new Department of Sport since I would be more than willing to serve as its first Secretary.

    I can understand that sentiment. I feel much the same way about the Censor. I’d love to go first, removing politicians on a daily basis much the way some people eat popcorn.

  4. Can I raise a practical question at this point? When did GLOW switch from the Glamorous Ladies of Wrestling to the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling?

  5. Shocking! Every day is a slow news day for you guys, isn’t it?

  6. I must admit a personal interest in this new Department of Sport since I would be more than willing to serve as its first Secretary. But even if our new President were to select someone else to lead DOS, it would be a worthy effort to provide a federal presence on these matters that affect so much of our lives.

    You should put the whole quote in Matt. It makes it much worse.

    What a complete tool.

  7. Hello, is this thing on?

  8. Who says Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction?

  9. So is the plan to have czars for each field of human endeavor? If so, I’d like to be Manned Spaceflight Czar. Is that still available?

  10. We’ve had a Ministry of Sports in India for a very long time (ever since Independence, I think). So far in the entire history of the Olympics since 1947, India has had less medals than Michael Phelps won individually. So yeah, its been working well for us. Excellent use of public money.

  11. Hello, is this thing on?

    (pegs sage in nuts with a volleyball for making such an awful pun)

    GREENMAN

  12. Great. So let’s model our sports czar after India’s Minister of Sports. Obviously, calling our guy the czar will make it work for us where it failed for our Indian friends.

  13. Can I be Women’s Volleyball Czar? I’d also be willing to accept the positions of Women’s Breaststroke Czar, Slow-Motion Women’s Diving Czar, and Women’s Softball Played in the Rain Czar.

  14. I think we should have a Czar of Everything. I nominate me.

  15. With all of these czars, we’ll need a czar czar.

  16. Women’s Jello Wrestling Czar

  17. Blog Comments Section Czar.

  18. Porn Czar.

  19. And, of course, the coveted Sea Czar. Get it?

  20. You want bad puns, ProL?

    Quay Czar

    Pulse Czar

    Go Czar the Gozarian

  21. Pirate Czaaargh!

  22. In America, you draft Roger Adams as Sport Czar.

    I pre-Soviet Russia, Czar drafts you!

  23. I like how he contrasts rationality with the profit motive, as if once money enters human affairs, reason is thrown to the four winds.

    I wonder why he chooses to be a law professor, rather than working at 7-11. I’m sure there’s some rational explanation.

  24. Great Sea Czar’s coast!

  25. “””I must admit a personal interest in this new Department of Sport since I would be more than willing to serve as its first Secretary.”””

    Just another moron looking to suck the government’s teat.

  26. Teat Czar?

  27. .. Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Ie. the other major English speaking democracies.

    I agree that there is no need. But most other countries do actually have a minister for sport.

  28. Lay Czar!

  29. BTW, in a world where Derek Jeter chooses freakin’ Madonna, a Sports Czar is desperately needed.

  30. Free Czar?

  31. Porn Czar.

    Heh. Why not? His inane statement works just as well for that:

    Obviously, placing the portfolio for amateur and professional porn in a single governmental entity would allow for some rational oversight. Under the current system of non-oversight, porn has been driven purely by the profit motive

    Of course:

    I must admit a personal interest in this new Department of Porn since I would be more than willing to serve as its first Secretary.

  32. And the Porn Czar could do us a great service by identifying what is good, wholesome porn and what is godless obscenity.

  33. Meet the Czarina of Sport (en France)

    …Right Hon. Czar of Sport (UK)

    Kaiser of Sport (Germany)

  34. in a world where Derek Jeter chooses freakin’ Madonna,

    What? That bastard! I thought he was my friend!

  35. Crap. I fail at sports. No czar spot for me.

  36. Thank You Czar, May I Have Another?

  37. Can I be tea czar?

    No, no, I kid, I kid.

  38. Sorry, highnumber, but the president saw your poor attempt at a pun and named you Tea Czar in a press release several seconds ago. He’d like you to meet with him in DC to discuss the green tea gap next week and to brief the transition team on the Oolong menace.

  39. Commie-czar of Sport (China) [pun intended]

    Did they “win” the Olympics? I never was quite clear on that.

  40. Sorry, highnumber, but the president saw your poor attempt at a pun and named you Tea Czar in a press release several seconds ago. He’d like you to meet with him in DC to discuss the green tea gap next week and to brief the transition team on the Oolong menace.

    Just remember, hn, that tea czar position is worthless, so if he wants to give it to you, he’s gonna have to come up with something.

  41. So is the plan to have czars for each field of human endeavor? If so, I’d like to be Manned Spaceflight Czar. Is that still available?

    I call Masturbation Czar. What’s that? Already taken? Oh, yeah, “overlap of duties” with all the others.

  42. Just remember, hn, that tea czar position is worthless, so if he wants to give it to you, he’s gonna have to come up with something.

    Well, FUCK THEM!

  43. We need a Manhattan Project for Czars.

    Two guesses whom I consider most qualified to run it. The bidding is now open.

  44. “the apparently untenable system the National Collegiate Athletic Association has for determining its champion football team”

    Sounds familiar…

    ed | December 12, 2008, 8:10am | #

    I caught part of ESPN’s Outside The Lines yesterday afternoon, wherein Rep. Barton literally engaged in extortion tactics with his foe from the other side. He very calmly stated that a bill had been introduced, and that college football had till 2011 to “act” on a playoff scheme. He didn’t actually say “Or else”, or “It would be a shame if something were to happen to your BCS”, but the threat was implied.

  45. Good points, but Tatarstan is not a country – it’s a part of Russia. But you can substitute Russia for it, because Russia also has a sports ministry.

  46. And as a result of this glaring lack, we continue to muddle through with the world’s most entertaining and highest-quality competition in baseball[…]

    There’s something woring with this sentence.

  47. Ehh, “wrong”. Sorry, wrote above post before first coffee.

  48. Great. So let’s model our sports czar after India’s Minister of Sports. Obviously, calling our guy the czar will make it work for us where it failed for our Indian friends.

    If we’re making India the model, I’d think it would be sports maharajah rather than a sports czar.

  49. all that is needed is a new private organization to brings a system that invites teams to a playoff and they can choose to accept the invitation or go to a bowl game. the BCS is a private organization and the polls are private too. not all polls crown the same national champion and some are contractually obligated to vote the winner of the bcs championship number one. if a playoff organization started and got acceptance which I believe then only teams which had no shot at the national title would accept a bowl invitation. or they could just fucking give in and turn it into a playoff system where each playoff game could be a “bowl” game.

  50. CzarCzar Gabor

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