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Monday, April 02, 2012

Why Baseball is the Best—And Least Exploitative—American Sport

Michael Kazin argues baseball is superior to other American sports because it is less exploitative to fans and players.

Shaun Payne Posted: April 02, 2012 at 08:57 PM | 139 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: general

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   1. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: April 02, 2012 at 10:24 PM (#4095129)
I don't know. I think Magic Johnson got exploited last week, but I'm not sure by whom.
   2. Dan The Mediocre Posted: April 02, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4095162)
Not one mention of the fact that in baseball you have the longest wait until you could become a major league free agent.
   3. Brian C Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:53 AM (#4095183)
Didn't manage to talk about the NFL's farcical lack of guaranteed contracts, either, even though it would bolster his case. Or MLB's extensive investments in the Latin world ... although I guess that could be argued on either side of the "exploitation" question, which means that Kazin would actually have to think about something, which goes against the intellectual napkin-doodling tone of the piece.

Really, this column seems downright lazy - come up with a half-baked idea, look up ticket price stats to make it appear that you've done actual research, throw in an incoherent reference to NBA racial tensions, follow that up with an even more incoherent assertion about how Magic Johnson's buying a team makes MLB better, mention the NFL concussion problems, and then call it a day. It's just pap, but looking at some of Kazin's previous articles (mostly political), it seems pretty par for the course from him.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:48 AM (#4095203)
No mention either that football and basketball "minor league" players are more likely to get shot in a club, and minor league Baseball and Hockey players only have to worry about getting Walt Whitman read to them and falling in love with zamboni drivers.
   5. Flynn Posted: April 03, 2012 at 04:20 AM (#4095207)
This is a lazy article, but one thing I like an awful lot about baseball is that former players don't end up killing themselves because they can't remember their kid's name.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 03, 2012 at 06:41 AM (#4095213)
This is such a gimme of an article, and it came out a big mess.

1) Baseball players aren't dying at 40 from injuries incurred in their playing days, unlike football players.
2) Baseball players in the minors get paid, unlike basketball and football players.
3) Baseball players contracts are guaranteed, unlike football contracts (and to a certain extent basketball contracts, with the ridiculous "amnesty" provision).
4) Baseball players and owners have achieved labor peace, while NFL and NBA owners are dead set on breaking their unions.

One of the problems with writing a piece like this is that point (1) is so fully, categorically different from points (2)-(4) that you don't really want to trivialize it by placing in as the first point in a list. There's been an interesting discussion on Andrew Sullivan's blog over the last week about whether the controversy over concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy will displace football from its position in American sport. I think that over a 25 year period, probably yes.

EDIT: On Kazin, he's a writer that I really like, who was hired for a thankless job (house critic "from the left" at TNR) and has done the most half-assed of half-ass jobs. This article was at best quarter-assed. With other failed articles by Kazin at TNR, I could blame the editorial culture at the magazine in certain ways, but this one's gotta just be on him. He isn't really even trying.
   7. Bug Selig Posted: April 03, 2012 at 07:07 AM (#4095215)
2) Baseball players in the minors get paid, unlike basketball and football players.


If you set aside the mouth-breathing morons that can only get admitted to SEC schools, a free college education has worth. Like, way more than the pittance most minor-leaguers make.
   8. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: April 03, 2012 at 07:35 AM (#4095219)
a free college education has worth. Like, way more than the pittance most minor-leaguers make.
Not to mention the free room and board that NCAA scholarship athletes get, which almost certainly provides a better standard of living than a New York-Penn League salary.
   9. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4095226)
There's nothing inherently exploitative about the college sports model, and the student-athletes in the non-revenue sports aren't "exploited."

   10. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: April 03, 2012 at 08:37 AM (#4095234)
3) Baseball players contracts are guaranteed, unlike football contracts (and to a certain extent basketball contracts, with the ridiculous "amnesty" provision).

My understanding is that the NBA players released under the amnesty provision still get paid, their salaries just don't count against the cap. But I don't know the NBA cap all that well, so someone else can correct me on this.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4095241)
There's nothing inherently exploitative about the college sports model, and the student-athletes in the non-revenue sports aren't "exploited."

Correct. If the basketball and football players were actually students, and held to remotely the same admission and academic standards as regular student athletes, it would be fine.

Although, quite frankly, I see no reason why Universities should offer athletic scholarships at all.
   12. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: April 03, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4095247)
Although, quite frankly, I see no reason why Universities should offer athletic scholarships at all.
Concur. And I also don't understand why basketball players who have no intention of spending more than a year in college spend that year playing for free instead of going the Brandon Jennings route and getting paid giant piles of cash to go to Europe. Jennings made millions of dollars for his one season in Italy as an 18-year-old.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2012 at 09:23 AM (#4095266)
Although, quite frankly, I see no reason why Universities should offer athletic scholarships at all.

From the standpoint of a coherent academic mission, I'd agree that it distorts the mission of many Division I schools. But when you consider the percentage of alumni contributions that are driven by the success of big time football and basketball programs, there's absolutely no way of turning back.

The one thing that might be interesting would be that in the event that they ever started paying college athletes, a stipulation would be that the money would be put in a trust fund that would be payable only upon graduation within (say) 5 years from the time of matriculation. This would likely deter the One and Done jocks from even enrolling in the first place, but it might go a long way towards making the concept of "student athlete" into something more than a joke.
   14. Zach Posted: April 03, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4095277)
Concur. And I also don't understand why basketball players who have no intention of spending more than a year in college spend that year playing for free instead of going the Brandon Jennings route and getting paid giant piles of cash to go to Europe. Jennings made millions of dollars for his one season in Italy as an 18-year-old.

It's probably not that easy to get a spot lined up. If you're a European team, do you put millions of dollars on the line for an untried, immature player who plans to bolt to the NBA at the first opportunity, or do you sign a college senior who's trained, physically and emotionally mature but went undrafted because he's 6'8" instead of 6'10"? A top team like Kansas has tons of former stars floating around Europe.

One thing that the exploitation argument misses is that the supply of college players is artificially limited by four year eligibility restrictions. If colleges became true minor league teams, salaries would get bid down by all the post Seniors who can still play.

My personal belief is that all the money in college sports comes from the association with the college. Truly independent leagues exist in many sports, but don't make much, or pay much either.
   15. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4095278)
But when you consider the percentage of alumni contributions that are driven by the success of big time football and basketball programs, there's absolutely no way of turning back.

Sure, but this is mass stupidity and priority warp. If universities are existing only to sponsor football and basketball teams, they probably don't belong as universities in the first instance.

One easy way to get priorities back in order would be to reinstitute freshman ineligibility. That should be done tomorrow.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4095282)
One easy way to get priorities back in order would be to reinstitute freshman ineligibility. That should be done tomorrow.

Concur. And a minimum GPA in order to ever gain eligibility. Say, 2.5 with a 16 credit course load.
   17. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: April 03, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4095288)
It's probably not that easy to get a spot lined up. If you're a European team, do you put millions of dollars on the line for an untried, immature player who plans to bolt to the NBA at the first opportunity, or do you sign a college senior who's trained, physically and emotionally mature but went undrafted because he's 6'8" instead of 6'10"?

Seems like if the top high schoolers went to Europe with some regularity, you'd see Euro teams take the untried, immature player, just like college teams do now. After all, you can just replace them the next season with a new untried, immature player.

I guess it's tough to really know what the demand would be for 18-year-old American players. Latavious Williams is the other player I know of who skipped college - he spent two seasons in the D-League and is now with Joventut in the Spanish league. He's one of the top rebounders in the league, averaging ~10 points on a team that scores around 70 per game. He's not making millions, but he probably wasn't a one-and-done guy in terms of ability anyway. He was thought of as "one of the top 20 players" in his class, as opposed to Jennings, who was a can't miss, off-the-charts recruit. I'd think Williams has got a shot to wind up as an NBA role player in the next couple seasons, which is an entirely standard outcome for a very good-but-not-incredible high school recruit.
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4095290)
But when you consider the percentage of alumni contributions that are driven by the success of big time football and basketball programs, there's absolutely no way of turning back.

Sure, but this is mass stupidity and priority warp. If universities are existing only to sponsor football and basketball teams, they probably don't belong as universities in the first instance.


During the decade after WWII a lot of previously Big Time football schools either dropped or radically downsized the sport, out of a combination of financial considerations and a sense that football was getting out of control. Many or most of these schools were Catholic colleges that in the 20's and 30's were Notre Dame wannabees---Fordham, Georgetown, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, San Francisco, Duquesne, to name some of the more prominent examples---but that was at a time when the lure of megasized TV contracts wasn't there, and football was an actual money loser for colleges without big stadiums or big student bodies to support it.

But what you've got today is a set of incentives for obscure colleges like Boise State to go in the opposite direction. The days when a school would veto a Rose Bowl appearance because it thought that "the tail was wagging the dog", as Ohio State did 50 years ago, are never going to return. There's just too much money at stake for academic values ever to prevail in today's Division I schools. We can complain about it, but we're just barking up a tree.
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4095294)
One easy way to get priorities back in order would be to reinstitute freshman ineligibility. That should be done tomorrow.

Hell, Kentucky alone would probably get that suggestion squashed, as logical and sensible as it may be from any legitimate academic POV.
   20. Zach Posted: April 03, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4095305)
Seems like if the top high schoolers went to Europe with some regularity, you'd see Euro teams take the untried, immature player, just like college teams do now. After all, you can just replace them the next season with a new untried, immature player.

The European team also has the option of keeping or developing the guys it has, rather than kicking the seniors out the day they "graduate."
   21. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4095343)
From the standpoint of a coherent academic mission, I'd agree that it distorts the mission of many Division I schools. But when you consider the percentage of alumni contributions that are driven by the success of big time football and basketball programs, there's absolutely no way of turning back.
Haven't we been over this before? There's no evidence that team success drives alumni giving, especially alumni giving to parts of the institution outside the athletic department itself.
   22. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4095349)
Concur. And a minimum GPA in order to ever gain eligibility. Say, 2.5 with a 16 credit course load.
The problem is that the incentives are just too great, which means that as soon as you set conditions like this, you just end up with cheating. Fake classes, "tutors" to do the work for athletes, or just plain old fake grading.
   23. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 03, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4095352)
Haven't we been over this before? There's no evidence that team success drives alumni giving, especially alumni giving to parts of the institution outside the athletic department itself.

There may be no evidence, and yet the institution puts so much work into achieving team success with the goal of encouraging alumni giving. Surely you of all people can appreciate a good case of revealed preference.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4095358)
The problem is that the incentives are just too great, which means that as soon as you set conditions like this, you just end up with cheating. Fake classes, "tutors" to do the work for athletes, or just plain old fake grading.

What about a minimum SAT/ACT score?
   25. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4095364)
During the decade after WWII a lot of previously Big Time football schools either dropped or radically downsized the sport, out of a combination of financial considerations and a sense that football was getting out of control. Many or most of these schools were Catholic colleges that in the 20's and 30's were Notre Dame wannabees---Fordham, Georgetown, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, San Francisco, Duquesne, to name some of the more prominent examples---but that was at a time when the lure of megasized TV contracts wasn't there, and football was an actual money loser for colleges without big stadiums or big student bodies to support it.
Ivies, too.
   26. Zach Posted: April 03, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4095380)
I will say that European universities are a lot less fun and a lot less visible in the community without any sports teams to root for. And coincidentally or not, they receive a lot less funding.
   27. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4095383)
They do get enough funding that tuition is about 5% what it is here.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4095406)
They do get enough funding that tuition is about 5% what it is here.

They also don't waste money on things like dorms, and luxury student centers, etc. It's a much better model of education.

Cooper Union does it like that. The endowment pays for free tuition for everyone who gets in, but it's an urban campus, and you're pretty much on your own for housing.

The whole college as bacchanal/country club model needs to die. Keep tuition cheap, and let the students live at home.

Anyone read the Rolling Stone article about Dartmouth frats? Really disturbing stuff.
   29. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4095434)
There's nothing inherently exploitative about the college sports model, and the student-athletes in the non-revenue sports aren't "exploited."

Yes, there absolutely is when you consider that football and basketball players coming out of high school are forbidden to ply their trades professionally in the U.S for an arbitrarily determined amount of time.
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4095450)
During the decade after WWII a lot of previously Big Time football schools either dropped or radically downsized the sport, out of a combination of financial considerations and a sense that football was getting out of control. Many or most of these schools were Catholic colleges that in the 20's and 30's were Notre Dame wannabees---Fordham, Georgetown, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, San Francisco, Duquesne, to name some of the more prominent examples---but that was at a time when the lure of megasized TV contracts wasn't there, and football was an actual money loser for colleges without big stadiums or big student bodies to support it.

Ivies, too.


Yes, the Ivies, too, although after about 1920 there were no Ivy schools that competed with the Notre Dames and the Michigans for more than a few years at a time, and only Cornell, Penn and Princeton ever cracked the top 10 once the AP poll was established in 1936.

But then as long as the Ivies gave out athletic scholarships, with a good freshman class that stuck around, a few of them were still able to compete on a national level as late as 1951, when Dick Kazmaier's Princeton team was ranked 6th in the two major year end national polls. Another factor then was that the football factories had far smaller rosters compared to today, which leveled the playing field coming from the opposite direction.

And to show what the dropping of athletic scholarships (and Spring practice, which was eliminated along with them in 1952) did to the Ivies, consider the case of Penn. In 1952, with those scholarships fully in place, Penn tied Notre Dame and Navy (which was Big Time itself back then) and narrowly lost to Georgia. But in 1954, by the time that the only remaining scholarship players were seniors, they opened with a 52-0 loss to Duke, lost to Notre Dame by 42-7, and wound up with an 0-9 record and a 73/308 PS / PA total.
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4095468)
Haven't we been over this before? There's no evidence that team success drives alumni giving, especially alumni giving to parts of the institution outside the athletic department itself.


There may be no evidence, and yet the institution puts so much work into achieving team success with the goal of encouraging alumni giving. Surely you of all people can appreciate a good case of revealed preference.

It may vary by school, but the number of solicitations I've gotten from Duke that make much ado about their basketball team have been enough to fill a small trunk. I seriously doubt if alumni contributions to the football factory schools (and not just to their athletic departments) wouldn't be affected if the football program were to be reduced to the scale of the Ivies, not to mention to the level of Chicago.
   32. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4095473)
Football's tough to pull off, but Ivy League basketball was very good until about 1980. Penn made the Final Four in 1979, the Magic-Bird year.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4095482)
Football's tough to pull off, but Ivy League basketball was very good until about 1980. Penn made the Final Four in 1979, the Magic-Bird year.

Wasn't that a fluke of a very weak draw? They used to do the regional brackets on pure geography, IIRC.
   34. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4095486)
Yes, there absolutely is when you consider that football and basketball players coming out of high school are forbidden to ply their trades professionally in the U.S for an arbitrarily determined amount of time.

That's not inherent in the model.
   35. PreservedFish Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4095505)
The whole college as bacchanal/country club model needs to die. Keep tuition cheap, and let the students live at home.


Really? Surely there's room for some of these. I liked my country club college, and my parents were happy to pay for it. Sure, I look back on it as an extravagance...
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4095511)
Really? Surely there's room for some of these. I liked my country club college, and my parents were happy to pay for it. Sure, I look back on it as an extravagance...

Well the taxpayers sure as hell shouldn't be subsidizing it.

My parents wereb happy to pay b/c the best schools fall in that model, but they would have been thrilled if I had commuted to Columbia instead.

In retrospect, I got nothing lasting out of college (Harvard) that I wouldn't have gotten commuting. I probably would've learned a lot more without the distractions of residential life.

Elite colleges should be much, much harder academically. In the 60's my parents had to study 40+ hrs a week to get A's and B's at Columbia/Barnard. I got a 3.6 at Harvard studying ~10-15 hrs a week, and it's only gotten easier.
   37. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4095518)
Football's tough to pull off, but Ivy League basketball was very good until about 1980. Penn made the Final Four in 1979, the Magic-Bird year.

The Ivy League has produced competitive league champs in basketball the past half decade or so.
   38. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4095528)
What about a minimum SAT/ACT score?

This is second hand, of course, so it might not be true. But at my high school, a few years before I arrived, they had a star football player who broke every county rushing record. He was recruited by many big time D1A schools, but his grades were terrible and he apparently was having trouble cracking 700 on his practice SATs. So, eventually, he was allowed to take the SAT in a room with just himself and his "proctor." He ended up going to West Virginia. Not exactly Harvard, but the consensus seemed to be he wouldn't have been able to even get into WV without the special treatment.

Point being, whatever bar you set, people will find a way to get around it. In most of these cases, it doesn't bother me. In the case of the guy from my high school, he ended up going to the NFL and making a few million for himself. Even if he burned out in college, I don't think he was going off to NASA if they didn't bend the rules for him. For many college athletes, it's in their best interest to ease the rules for them, and for many others, it may not benefit them long term, but it probably doesn't hurt them either.
   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4095546)
Football's tough to pull off, but Ivy League basketball was very good until about 1980. Penn made the Final Four in 1979, the Magic-Bird year.


Wasn't that a fluke of a very weak draw? They used to do the regional brackets on pure geography, IIRC.

Regional brackets began to erode as early as 1974, when Syracuse wound up in the Midwest bracket along with Texas, while Dayton was put in the West region along with UCLA. But in 1979 it was still mostly geography, and the outermost team in Penn's Eastern bracket was North Carolina, with all the other teams coming from the Northeast.

---------------------------------------------

The Ivy League has produced competitive league champs in basketball the past half decade or so.

As it did with Princeton for quite awhile before that. But none of these Ivy champs has ever been nearly good enough to seriously contend for any sort of national title. An upset or two and maybe an occasional top 20 ranking is about the best they're going to get without athletic scholarships.
   40. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4095550)
As it did with Princeton for quite awhile before that. But none of these Ivy champs has ever been nearly good enough to seriously contend for any sort of national title. An upset or two and maybe an occasional top 20 ranking is about the best they're going to get without athletic scholarships.

But doesn't this describe 99% of D1 basketball programs?
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4095552)
In most of these cases, it doesn't bother me. In the case of the guy from my high school, he ended up going to the NFL and making a few million for himself. Even if he burned out in college, I don't think he was going off to NASA if they didn't bend the rules for him. For many college athletes, it's in their best interest to ease the rules for them, and for many others, it may not benefit them long term, but it probably doesn't hurt them either.

Except for every undeserving athlete, or non-revenue athlete that gets a scholarship, some poor schmuck doesn't get to go, or doesn't get a scholarship.
   42. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4095569)
Yes, but so what? Someone is getting screwed in the end. Why should I prefer it be the athlete instead of the student?
   43. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4095587)
FWIW, Canadian universities cannot offer athletic scholarships. Not that our high school grads couldn't go to an American college, but it is a bit odd that we've only ever had a handful of NBA and NFL players, and no stars unless you count Steve Nash, who was born in South Africa to non-Canadian parents.
   44. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4095592)
Yes, but so what? Someone is getting screwed in the end. Why should I prefer it be the athlete instead of the student?

Well the athlete isn't "getting screwed", he doesn't belong in college. He belongs in the minor leagues that the NFL and NBA are too damn cheap to organize.
   45. Morty Causa Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4095610)
Just one more way big business is subsidized by government at the expense of the little guy, eh?
   46. Morty Causa Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4095613)
Where does all the money made off athletics go? Does it actually help education to have most of the students thinking mostly about sports and athletics?
   47. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4095630)
Well the athlete isn't "getting screwed", he doesn't belong in college. He belongs in the minor leagues that the NFL and NBA are too damn cheap to organize.

So, in other words, he's getting screwed.
   48. Ephus Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4095636)
So Slate runs a story detailing how minor league baseball players are exploited.
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4095639)

Where does all the money made off athletics go? Does it actually help education to have most of the students thinking mostly about sports and athletics?


I could be wrong, but I thought most athletic departments were pretty much separate from the rest of the university. My impression was most of the money is plowed back into the program - building new facilities, allowing more travel, better coaches, etc. The best programs don't run profits, they break even because they re-invest (which is why its stupid when people defend college athletics by saying "hey, they're not even making any money off this!")

I love college basketball, but morally I think its about time for NCAA athletics to disappear and go back to "club" status.


Well the athlete isn't "getting screwed", he doesn't belong in college. He belongs in the minor leagues that the NFL and NBA are too damn cheap to organize.


FWIW, I saw some billionaire is trying to set up a legit minor league football league and is trying to partner with the NFL. We'll see how successful he is.
   50. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4095646)
As it did with Princeton for quite awhile before that. But none of these Ivy champs has ever been nearly good enough to seriously contend for any sort of national title. An upset or two and maybe an occasional top 20 ranking is about the best they're going to get without athletic scholarships.

But doesn't this describe 99% of D1 basketball programs?


Not that many, though your point is still well taken.

From an athletic standpoint, though, a determined Ivy League school can compete at the fringes for the potential Duke or Stanford basketball recruit by the sheer prestige of their names**. It's hard to measure how this advantage compares to the Boise States and Miamis that can accept athletes who could never make it into the Ivies because of their grades / test scores / etc., but considering the level that Harvard's played at since Amaker came along, it's an advantage that they've clearly exploited. And it wouldn't surprise me a bit if other Ivy League schools decide to play the same game, as Penn already does to a great extent.

**Another Ivy League advantage is that their supersized endowments have enabled at least some of them to remove tuition costs as a dealbreaker for otherwise qualified students.
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4095661)
FWIW, I saw some billionaire is trying to set up a legit minor league football league and is trying to partner with the NFL. We'll see how successful he is.


I suspect it's a good way for him to become a millionaire.

   52. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4095677)
Until the lot of you, and millions more, stop stupidly supporting athletics via indentured servants (much less rationalizing away your support of such things by pretending it "supports" academics) the industry which exploits those indentured servants will continue to rake in your money and exist. College athletes are the "talent" from eastern European pornos. You're the guys providing the "handlers" of that "talent" with their incentive to "recruit more."
   53. Morty Causa Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:42 PM (#4095681)
So Slate runs a story detailing how minor league baseball players are exploited.


With all the political discussions around here through the years, it's always been rather surprising to me how little discussion there is of MLBs monopolistic status, especially wrt the hold it has over the minor leagues. It's like with college football--you can tell a college football fan how you think it's outrageous that all this money is paid from basically a system of serfdom. They nod zombie-like, give you this thousand-yard stare, and go back to whatever porn violence point they were diddling themselves over.
   54. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:53 PM (#4095699)
Sam, as always, thank you for your levelheadedness and your entirely apt and hyperbole-free metaphor, which will undoubtedly further push this conversation in a polite and productive direction.
   55. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4095701)
With all the political discussions around here through the years, it's always been rather surprising to me how little discussion there is of MLBs monopolistic status, especially wrt the hold it has over the minor leagues. It's like with college football--you can tell a college football fan how you think it's outrageous that all this money is paid from basically a system of serfdom. They nod zombie-like, give you this thousand-yard stare, and go back to whatever porn violence point they were diddling themselves over.


You pretty much explain the reason it doesn't get discussed here in your close. To acknowledge the injustice of Minor League Baseball would be to acknowledge that you support injustice for your in entertainment. It's the same impulse that hand waives away dead children as "collateral damage." Cognitive dissonance must be avoided at all costs.
   56. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4095707)
Sam, as always, thank you for your levelheadedness and your entirely apt and hyperbole-free metaphor, which will undoubtedly further push this conversation in a polite and productive direction.


Yes, because what we need in relation to exploitative child labor at the collegiate level, a famously popular element of which renders obscene physical violence upon the child laborers, is a "polite" discussion. We'd hate to get sweat on that NPR tote and look *impolite.*
   57. Ephus Posted: April 03, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4095710)
The slightly nuanced point in the Slate story is that the system really extracts its toll on career minor leaguers. Players who make the majors get a nice guaranteed minimum ($500k by 2014) and an immediately vesting pension. Although not noted in the story, players who make the majors are also more likely to have received a sizable signing bonus -- at least U.S. born players. They can utilize that signing bonus over the course of their minor league tenure to subsidize their wages. But if you are a low draft pick or a Latin American teenager, you are going to get virtually nothing for your labor until you make the majors.

Slate's suggested solution -- unionization of minor league players -- is unlikely to improve things even if implemented. A union is only as strong as its ability to credibly threaten to cease production and cutoff revenues. I see virtually no likelihood that a Minor League Baseball Players Association could credibly threaten to strike: (1) the best players would cross the picket line to keep up their prospects of promotion to the big leagues, (2) the logistical issues in getting 2500+ players in line would be enormous, particularly given the language issues, and (3) minor league players would be much less likely to see a prospect for a return over the course of a career -- if they are good, they will be in the majors, and if they are bad, they will leave the game.

In the end, the salaries for minor league baseball players will be dictated by the market. Specifically, baseball will only raise minor league salaries if they cannot get enough players to stock the minor leagues with sufficient talent to determine who are the major leaguers. So long as there is a strong correlation between minor league performance and success in the Majors, there is little incentive to raise the minor league salaries.
   58. Morty Causa Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4095714)
This thread needs to be merged with the Big Hrbowski one. Now, bowlingi--that's a sport. You can play it all day and all night while you drink beer and smoke cigarettes. Add fried chicken and porn on the internet during games and it would be just like the Red Sox dugout.
   59. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4095715)
Yes, because what we need in relation to exploitative child labor at the collegiate level, a famously popular element of which renders obscene physical violence upon the child laborers, is a "polite" discussion. We'd hate to get sweat on that NPR tote and look *impolite.*

To the extent anyone's "exploited," it's only because others are making "too much" money. Take away the others' money, then. Boom ... no "exploitation."

A Michigan tennis player or golfer or swimmer or wrestler isn't being "exploited." The notion's ridiculous.
   60. Morty Causa Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4095718)
57:

The solution might be to revoke MLB's anti-trust exemption, although in the political climate of the last thirty years, the anti-trust division of he government is pretty much a farce. But it's a start.
   61. bunyon Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4095719)
@54: criticize him if you want, but he's right. It won't change until people stop watching or the players go on strike. Neither of which seems very likely at the moment.


I can say, having worked in several universities with big time athletics that the athletic department is a separate entity than the university. I haven't yet worked at a university in which the athletic department, overall, didn't lose a boatload of money. The answer always is that donations would go down without it but no one ever puts that to the test. My guess is that, at most schools, donations wouldn't flicker much if, say, football was axed.


But, once they kick off or throw the ball up at center court, I'm there watching. Sorry, Sam.
   62. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4095722)
To the extent anyone's "exploited," it's only because others are making "too much" money


Spoken by a true toady of the exploitative system. Is Anthony Davis being paid his free market wage?
   63. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4095725)
But, once they kick off or throw the ball up at center court, I'm there watching. Sorry, Sam.


I respect a man who recognizes his own behavior, even if he can't quite stop it (yet.)
   64. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4095727)
Until the lot of you, and millions more, stop stupidly supporting athletics via indentured servants (much less rationalizing away your support of such things by pretending it "supports" academics) the industry which exploits those indentured servants will continue to rake in your money and exist. College athletes are the "talent" from eastern European pornos. You're the guys providing the "handlers" of that "talent" with their incentive to "recruit more."

Of course, the NFL and NBA heavily abet the system by artificially restricting draft eligibility, and by watching NFL and NBA games ...
   65. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4095728)
Is Anthony Davis being paid his free market wage?

No, he's an amateur athlete playing for a scholarship. If he doesn't like the arrangement, he doesn't have to enter into it and can go seek another market for his services.

And I like how you picked one of the Big Two sports, run by the oiliest con man in college athletics, as if it's a representative sample.

As noted, the University of Kentucky golfers and tennis players are not being exploited -- which means that a non-exploitative model of college athletics actually exists.

   66. Morty Causa Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4095729)
But, once they kick off or throw the ball up at center court, I'm there watching. Sorry, Sam.


Not me. They could play the college football national championship playoff in my back yard, and I could have a free seat up in the air on a cable that slid along the sidelines, and I'd rather attend a college production of Long Day's Journey into a Pork Roast than aid and abet all that bullbungussberriness.
   67. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4095733)
Is Anthony Davis being paid his free market wage?


At the start of this basketball season, what was the free market wage for Anthony Davis's services?
   68. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4095735)
No, he's an amateur athlete playing for a scholarship. If he doesn't like the arrangement, he doesn't have to enter into it and can go seek another market for his services.


Oh, that's right. Like the NBA? Wait. No. He can't do that any more, because the NBA has an agreement with the NCAA to exploit him for a year.

Or do you mean Europe? Because we all know how easy it is for underclass workers to pick up and move continents to pursue employment, right?

And I like how you picked one of the Big Two sports, run by the oiliest con man in college athletics, as if it's a representative sample.


Right. How bad of me to point to the two big sports that run the entire enterprise at the NCAA. It's like those people that ignore the fact that Hitler built good roads.
   69. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4095737)
At the start of this basketball season, what was the free market wage for Anthony Davis's services?


Zero. He wasn't allowed to test a free market.
   70. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4095741)

At the start of this basketball season, what is the free market wage for Anthony Davis's services?


I'm not sure what you're getting at. Davis has been considered one of the top basketball prospects all season. Had he been allowed to jump from HS, I'm sure he would have been a high draft pick.
   71. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4095747)
@54: criticize him if you want, but he's right. It won't change until people stop watching or the players go on strike. Neither of which seems very likely at the moment.


I don't actually disagree with him on the basic issue. I just think the way he addressed it hurts the overall discussion and discredits others who more or less agree with him.
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4095751)
Zero. He wasn't allowed to test a free market.


Then I guess he's getting paid more than his free market wage.

I'm not sure what you're getting at. Davis has been considered one of the top basketball prospects all season. Had he been allowed to jump from HS, I'm sure he would have been a high draft pick.


But it's not the NCAA that's preventing that, but the NBA. The NBA created the age eligibility requirement because the league thought it was in its best interests. It doesn't really do much good for the college game at all.
   73. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4095753)
Oh, that's right. Like the NBA? Wait. No. He can't do that any more, because the NBA has an agreement with the NCAA to exploit him for a year.

No, they don't. The NCAA and NBA do not have an agreement. The NBA has an agreement with its players union regarding eligibility for the league.

Old chestnut, but this is vintage leftyism. We see it over and over. They kind of have a handle on an area that could use reform, but the language they use is so imprecise and shrill, and they're so angry about the injustice, that rational people are left with nothing to do but shake their head.(*)

College athletes in non-revenue sports aren't exploited. Because of that, you need to catalog the reasons why Anthony Davis is "exploited" and the reason the Kentucky golfer isn't and there's your area for reform. That area, of course, entirely ignores the value of an education to someone like Anthony Davis and I'm not sure why you'd want to steer all 18-year-olds away from actually improving their minds and into doing nothing but dribbling a friggin' basketball at age 18 ... but as noted, the lefty mind is a very difficult thing to comprehend.

(*) Taylor Branch and Joe Nocera, the two "intellectuals" driving this bus are the same way -- kind of right, a lot wrong.
   74. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4095756)
He can't do that any more, because the NBA has an agreement with the NCAA to exploit him for a year.

Other than the fact that this is totally wrong and completely false, it's a really good point.

Had he been allowed to jump from HS, I'm sure he would have been a high draft pick.

His inability to jump has nothing to do with the NCAA. If the college option weren't available, he'd be playing club ball or minor league ball making pennies a month.

The NCAA is a disgusting mess. There is much to mock it for, but no reason to blame is for things it can't control (like NBA admittance rules or college football playoffs.)

EDIT- Cokes
   75. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4095763)
My understanding is that the NBA players released under the amnesty provision still get paid, their salaries just don't count against the cap.

And this is true. All NBA money remains guaranteed. The amnesty provision alters cap and luxury tax considerations, it has no impact on dollars paid to players.
   76. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4095769)

And this is true. All NBA money remains guaranteed. The amnesty provision alters cap and luxury tax considerations, it has no impact on dollars paid to players.


Would't that ultimately serve as a good thing for the players? If the money's guaranteed but there's no hit on the cap, shouldnt' that lead to, potentially, more dough for other guys in the league?



   77. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4095770)
Then I guess he's getting paid more than his free market wage.


Surely you're not this stupid.
   78. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4095773)
I'm not sure why you'd want to steer all 18-year-olds away from actually improving their minds and into doing nothing but dribbling a friggin' basketball at age 18

Playing sports at a high level requires intelligence and a quick, adaptable mind. You know this, I'm sure. Beyond that, why should an 18-year-old worth millions of dollars (were he allowed to enter the market for his services) fritter away four years of earnings in college when he can make a fortune and, if he wants, become an autodidact in his downtime?
   79. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4095776)
Would't that ultimately serve as a good thing for the players? If the money's guaranteed but there's no hit on the cap, shouldnt' that lead to, potentially, more dough for other guys in the league?

Theoretically, it allows for more spending on players before the tax hits (or the cap is reached.) From that standpoint, it should definitely be a win for the players. Of course, the tax itself (and its increasingly punitive nature) is just the opposite. So, it's probably best to say that the amnesty provision mitigates a bit of the bite the luxury tax takes from aggregate player revenue. A plus, but only to undue some portion of a larger minus.
   80. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4095778)
become an autodidact in his downtime?


Am I the only one who's always thought the word "autodidact" sounds a little kinky?
   81. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4095779)
Surely you're not this stupid.


Follow the conversation sweetie. You asked if he was getting paid his free market wage. When asked what that wage was, you acknowledged he doesn't have a free market wage.

The NCAA does not now nor has it ever had the ability to prevent Anthony Davis from seeking maximum recompense for his services on the open market. The trouble is, the NBA, and the NBA alone, won't allow him access to the one North American market that pays that kind of wage. So unless he wanted to flee to a foreign country, there was no market for his services.

   82. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4095783)
Beyond that, why should an 18-year-old worth millions of dollars (were he allowed to enter the market for his services) fritter away four years of earnings in college when he can make a fortune and, if he wants, become an autodidact in his downtime?

So he doesn't piss all his money away like Antoine Walker and countless others. That's one reason.

Playing sports at a high level requires intelligence and a quick, adaptable mind.

I guess that's kind of the new lefty meme to explain how intelligence comes in all kinds of forms,(*) since not long ago I and the crowd assembled heard much the same testimony from a senior guy at a renowned NYC preschool as to the high level of intelligence it took LeBron James to dribble a ball and do what he does. This by way of justifying the school's decision not to bother kids with such retrograde things as report cards until they're in the 8th grade.

Ummmm ... no. I like sports as much as the next guy, but no.

(*) It's funny -- in the span of about a generation, lefties have gone from barely condescending to notice sports and athletes, to exalting athletes, even barely literate ones, as examplars of intelligence. Who can guess what they'll come up with next?
   83. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4095785)
So unless he wanted to flee to a foreign country, there was no market for his services.

This is practically true in that the other basketball leagues (non-NBA affiliated) in NA are tiny and provide very little revenue potential for a player, as you note. But as a legal matter, he can still sell his services as a basketball player. The NBA can't (or won't) buy those services because of the rules it established with its union, but he can still sell his services.

The fact that your best potential customer won't do business with you is not typically a legitimate legal issue. It can be, but I don't believe this instance is one that would typically fit within the instances where the law will do much for the 18 year old basketball player.
   84. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4095787)
I guess that's kind of the new lefty meme to explain how intelligence comes in all kinds of forms


Hmm, isn't it your experience interacting with different people, that intelligence does actually come in all kinds of forms?
   85. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4095790)
This is practically true in that the other basketball leagues (non-NBA affiliated) in NA are tiny and provide very little revenue potential for a player, as you note. But as a legal matter, he can still sell his services as a basketball player. The NBA can't (or won't) buy because of the rules it established with its union, but he can still sell his services.


Yes, he can. But as I noted, not for the kind of wage Sam thinks is his due.

(Well, he can offer it at any price he wants, but no one is likely to be willing to pay anything other than peanuts).
   86. JJ1986 Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4095796)
Wikipedia says Brandon Jennings signed for $1.65m for 3 years in Italy. That's not peanuts.
   87. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4095799)
Wikipedia says Brandon Jennings signed for $1.65m for 3 years in Italy. That's not peanuts.


Already addressed that option in 81 JJ. We were talking about domestic opportunities.
   88. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4095803)

But ... no. I like sports as much as the next guy, but no.


Bull$hit. It does. We'll not reach a middle ground on this point, I suppose.


(*) It's funny -- in the span of about a generation, lefties have gone from barely condescending to noticing sports and athletes, to exalting athletes, even barely literate ones, as examplars of intelligence. Who can guess what they'll come up with next.


What the hell are you going on about? I was unaware that I was a reconstructed athlete-hating leftist. If it helps your feelings, I'm not suggesting Anthony Davis is smarter than you. I'm suggesting playing sports at a high level requires intelligence. I'm guessing to most people this is not a controversial statement.
   89. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4095811)
It's funny -- in the span of about a generation, lefties have gone from barely condescending to notice sports and athletes, to exalting athletes, even barely literate ones, as examplars of intelligence


What's actually funny is a guy on the internet lambasting athletes as "barely literate" while in the same comment proving his inability to read for comprehension. Not *that's* funny.
   90. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4095815)
What the hell are you going on about?

The sea change in lefty thought about sports and athletes.

I'm suggesting playing sports at a high level requires intelligence. I'm guessing to most people this is not a controversial statement.

The preschool honcho tried to explain that the physics of bouncing a basketball just the way you wanted, and moving your body to certain points on the floor were markers of intelligence, but they're more indicative of instinct and improvisation than intelligence. The whole idea presupposes that basketball players conceptualize something before they execute anything, but that's not really what happens. Certainly there's much to admire in what elite athletes do, but intelligence properly understood is a tiny part of that.
   91. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4095824)
The NCAA does not now nor has it ever had the ability to prevent Anthony Davis from seeking maximum recompense for his services on the open market.
Nope. But they have always had the ability to pay players who contribute so significantly to the revenue production of their universities and the NCAA - as they are be morally obligated to do - and they have chosen instead to exploit these players and take the revenues on six- and seven-figure salaries for the coaches and athletic directors and NCAA bureaucrats and the rest.
   92. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4095827)
but that's not really what happens

And how do you know this? Besides, I was referring to things like the mastering and executing of often complex schemes (offensive and defensive in basketball) and handling absurd levels of pressure and scrutiny and at an age when the likes of you and I were ... not. The surprising thing is that this needs to be explained to you. You seem foolish.
   93. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4095833)
And how do you know this? Besides, I was referring to things like the mastering and executing of often complex schemes (offensive and defensive in basketball) and handling absurd levels of pressure and scrutiny and at an age when the likes of you and I were ... not. The surprising thing is that this needs to be explained to you. You seem foolish.


Don't confuse the poor boy, Dayn. He has a dogma and he's sticking to it. It's pointless to do anything other than mock and throw rocks.
   94. Fanshawe Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4095834)
College athletes in non-revenue sports aren't exploited. Because of that, you need to catalog the reasons why Anthony Davis is "exploited" and the reason the Kentucky golfer isn't and there's your area for reform.


It's not really that hard to understand is it? Everything about NCAA basketball and football suggests that those sports create more revenue than golf or tennis. Coaching salaries, facilities, ticket prices, broadcast rights packages. Davis is exploited to the extent that he is unfairly excluded from that revenue even though he helps create it. I don't know how much he's "worth" but it's certainly much more than the typical collegiate golfer.

That area, of course, entirely ignores the value of an education to someone like Anthony Davis and I'm not sure why you'd want to steer all 18-year-olds away from actually improving their minds and into doing nothing but dribbling a friggin' basketball at age 18 ... but as noted, the lefty mind is a very difficult thing to comprehend.


Because dribbling a friggin' basketball can be a very lucrative and satisfying career if you're good at it. Would you tell an extremely talented 18-year-old violinist that she should pass up an offer to join the New York Philharmonic so she could get a Sociology degree from Kentucky? It might be a good idea for certain 18-year-olds, but it shouldn't be too hard to comprehend why that would be bad advice in a lot of similar cases.

Generous estimates place the average lifetime earnings gap between a high school graduate and a college graduate is around $1,000,000. Meanwhile the NBA rookie minimum salary is a shade under $500,000, and the minimum salary for a second year player is about $780,000.
   95. SoSH U at work Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4095838)
Nope. But they have always had the ability to pay players who contribute so significantly to the revenue production of their universities and the NCAA - as they are be morally obligated to do - and they have chosen instead to exploit these players and take the revenues on six- and seven-figure salaries for the coaches and athletic directors and NCAA bureaucrats and the rest.


Can you propose a solution to this thorny problem that doesn't result in massive opportunity losses for the overwhelming majority of college athletes?

I understand the frustration with college sports, particularly the bloated coaching salaries and staffs at major schools. I'm sure there are ways the system can be tweaked that would be more equitable to the student-athletes.

But most proposals I see would, ultimately, result in greatly reduced opportunities for the 99 percent of athletes. That never struck me as a good fix for the exploitation.
   96. The Good Face Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:31 PM (#4095841)
I'm suggesting playing sports at a high level requires intelligence. I'm guessing to most people this is not a controversial statement.


You're wrong and it is. Unless you simply want to redefine intelligence as "being good at sports, or whatever else I want it to mean," in which case don't let me interrupt your masturbatory pleasures.
   97. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4095843)
Because dribbling a friggin' basketball can be a very lucrative and satisfying career if you're good at it. Would you tell an extremely talented 18-year-old violinist that she should pass up an offer to join the New York Philharmonic so she could get a Sociology degree from Kentucky? It might be a good idea for certain 18-year-olds, but it shouldn't be too hard to comprehend why that would be bad advice in a lot of similar cases.


Why is Anthony Davis' vocational training in basketball derided more than, say, Jimmy McCornfed is lauded for taking on welding training or something?
   98. Fanshawe Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4095844)
Can you propose a solution to this thorny problem that doesn't result in massive opportunity losses for the overwhelming majority of college athletes?


An easy first step is to pay the players on a work-study basis. This wouldn't come particularly close to "fair" compensation for the elite performers in the big sports, but I'm in favor of anything that would break down the amateurism fiction.
   99. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4095846)
Nope. But they have always had the ability to pay players who contribute so significantly to the revenue production of their universities and the NCAA - as they are be morally obligated to do - and they have chosen instead to exploit these players and take the revenues on six- and seven-figure salaries for the coaches and athletic directors and NCAA bureaucrats and the rest.

Then cap coaches' salaries and get rid of the bureaucrats. At some level of non-player "take," college basketball bears a close enough resemblance to other college sports and other collegiate extracurricular activities that it can be stomached.(*) Make the non-player take that level.

Nor is it true that voluntarily engaging in an extracurricular activity that people pay admission to see (and that is exhibited on TV/radio) means the participant is being "exploited" -- otherwise I'd have been exploited as a high school "revenue"-generating athlete and that's simply ridiculous. You'll get no argument from me that big-time college football and basketball are filled with hypocrisy and leeches and worthless greedy gladhanders, but it doesn't have to be that way. Get rid of them.

(*) I'm assuming the argument isn't claiming that college tennis coaches, or college wrestling coaches, shouldn't be paid.
   100. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 03, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4095848)
You're wrong and it is. Unless you simply want to redefine intelligence as "being good at sports, or whatever else I want it to mean," in which case don't let me interrupt your masturbatory pleasures.


This is the crux of the matter. Our resident right-wing mafia has an ideal of what it means to be "intelligent," based on some horseshit nostalgia from the 50s most likely, and don't let the most recent learnings from cognitive science get anywhere near them, okay?
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