Sunday, October 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

NCAA ruling and the myth of the student athlete

thommason column sig

By
August 12, 2014 |

It may take a bit longer but it seems clear that college athletics is about to change dramatically and one of the most autocratic, often overbearing institutions ever conceived might never be the same.

It’s about time.

The NCAA with its doorstop rules book and its pretense at amateurism until now has managed to sidestep attacks on its lucrative business model built on the exploitation of mainly young men and a few women. But two decisions have produced severe cracks in the organization’s future.

The first of these is its decision to award its top five richest conferences in football and basketball new autonomy to establish their own rules. They would no longer have to abide strictly by the regulations that apply to the NCAA’s other divisions. More importantly, however, is a judge’s rulings that the member institutions are in violation of antitrust laws by denying athletes any share of the revenues gained through the use of their names and images in video games and television broadcasts.

While the ruling by Federal Judge Claudia Wilken didn’t go as far as many would like, it certainly was more than a mere harbinger of things to come. The big money producers are about to have their pockets picked and a whole lot of people, including fans, are going to cheer.

Wilken suggested that trust funds could be set up to pay the football and basketball players $5,000 a year after they graduate. The NCAA’s legal team, saying only that it would appeal the decision, apparently saw some relief in the fact the amount of remuneration could be capped.

This is an enormously complex issue that will take several years to play out. It involves the crumbling concept of amateurism whose enormous revenues belie it is anything but professionalism. It also poses the thorny question of who actually should benefit – only those players whose sports produce the money? If so, should a quarterback make more than a lineman or a 20-points-per-game-guard get more than a journeyman forward.

What about the impact on Title IX? The law requires balance between men and women in the number of scholarships afforded and that includes the 85 allowed for football where there is no female equivalent. Should football be set aside as it has long been argued? What is the value of a scholarship and should the baseball players or soccer players or members of the track team or the swimmers be excluded because they are non-rev sports?

This has been coming for a long time. More and more it has become clear that a mere college education in trade for athletic services when the school is benefiting to the tune of millions wasn’t going to last much longer. The NCAA’s presidents whose uncompromising approach has led to bizarre petty judgments – they once punished a player for posing fully clothed for a sorority charity calendar – is as outmoded as their constant reference to “student athletes.”

Obviously, in basketball the big schools already are a professional minor league for the NBA with the “one and done” concept of college attendance more prevalent every year. Whole starting fives leave for the NBA after the freshman year. Players only have to make their grades for one semester to be eligible to play through tournament time before declaring for the NBA draft.

So why maintain the fiction? For just the reasons the judge’s ruling covered. To be able to continue a model that produces significant amounts of money at an insignificant amount of cost. Feeding and housing athletes in reality is miniscule when compared to the financial gain to the school. Tuition in reality costs practically nothing. The expense comes in the high salaries being paid the coaches and a lot of that is offset by the contributions of alums with deep pockets and TV networks.

Those who have played major college athletics, at least in the modern era, will attest to the truth of the often repeated allegation that signing the contract is tantamount to slavery. They own you.

But the proverbial genie is out of the bottle and from those who claim they should have union bargaining rights to those who demand recompense beyond the price of a scholarship to those big boys who can now make their own rules, the NCAA is feeling the first tremors of an earthquake.

Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers. Readers may send him email at: thomassondan@aol.com.

Dan K. Thomasson

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Snakes, superheroes liven up Halloween Howl

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano looks at future of freight rail service

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Alpha Color Blast brings messy fun to participants

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Italian Festival brings out the Italian in everyone

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Are your heroes the good and honorable type?

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Cover cropping your home garden

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

 
Seven nutritional soundbites for kids

By Kate Land Md | From Page: C4

Suisun council to examine zoning changes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
More than planes draws crowd to Nut Tree Airport

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Voter registration deadline is Monday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Pots and pans, patios and more at home and garden show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Weather for Oct. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
A cut above: Hair-raising time at Locks of Love event

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Architecture that inspires present for all to see

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

‘Choice card’ doubts swirl as deadline nears

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
Service members from county complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Suisun City Police log: Oct. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

First US Ebola victim remembered for compassion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
Another year, another small Social Security bump

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 3 Comments

Family identify 4 kids, 2 adults killed in blaze

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Cops: Remains may be those of missing UVa. student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

Police: Another ambush suspect sighting reported

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Hawaii island hit by winds, rains from hurricane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraq lawmakers approve interior, defense ministers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US, China vow to manage rifts ahead of Obama visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Container ship adrift again off Canadian coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
9 more bodies push Nepal blizzard death toll to 38

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Market week ends on high note

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Why I’m voting for Proposition 1

By Richard L. Wood | From Page: A8, 33 Comments

Time to vote: Do so wisely

By Rod Keck | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

 
Sound off for Oct. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Adult education step to future

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Dodd best choice for 4th District Assembly

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

.

Living

Dogs welcome at St. Louis museum about, well, dogs

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Why I don’t breastfeed, if you must know

By The Washington Post | From Page: C2, 2 Comments

Today in History: Oct. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Goshen residents team up to save damaged church

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Vatican mystery: Where did gay welcome originate?

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Mental illnesses are real, treatment is available. Get help today.

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Seattle woman uses social media against groper

By The Seattle Times | From Page: C8

 
.

Entertainment

New Mencken book features unpublished material

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6 | Gallery

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
John Green’s first book to be reissued in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

So which Giants Series team is the best?

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Bumgarner gets nod for Giants World Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Goff’s late INT sends Cal to 36-34 loss to UCLA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vanden JV football team downs American Canyon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Canada helps Montana hold off UC Davis 42-28

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Trade for Shields spurred Royals to turnaround

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Ben Martin takes Las Vegas PGA lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Bruce Bochy has the postseason touch with Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Vickers wins pole in strange Talladega qualifying

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

On the money: Can you go solar? Leases, loans make it possible

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Flavors fuel food industry, but remain a mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

Recalls this week: toy toasters, folding tables

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Federal offshore oil lease sale set for March

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Review: Stir Kinetic smart desk makes you stand up

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Lawrence Weber

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Larry Lee Stanley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Chloe Chicko Kenty

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Billy Raye Carter

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Alton Lauderdale

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics