The DEFEND Cleveland Show

Why OSU should just join the NFL- DC Show Report for October 4th, 2011

While you watch the worst OSU football this season that you, your father, and your father’s father have seen in your lifetimes, yet another story runs about their players taking thousands of dollars and being suspended in the same year they helped their conference generate a billion dollars1. What’s confounding with this new continually higher level of absurdity is how we’re supposed to believe that OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith and President Gordon Gee, who are painting all these violations now as the actions of rogue players and not that of a “systemic” problem with the program (or what it really is, a systemic problem of the NCAA in general), had no idea what was going on while all this was occurring under Tressel’s watch. But now, as they fear further sanctions beyond their self imposed -show of good faith- sanctions, they all of a sudden are all knowing and are catching everything.

Isn’t it interesting how much attention the bosses will pay when their business and its profits of millions is threatened by the actions of its below poverty line working staff?

This recent joint study 2 conducted by the NCPA (National College Players Association) and Drexel University Department of  Sport Management illustrates this precisely (which of course is something that inherently everyone already knows), with the amount of money generated by college athletes, specifically men’s football and basketball, they’re woefully underpaid based upon the amount of revenue they generate. Yes, they’re “underpaid”, forget amateur status, all that goes out the window when the current yearly fair market value of a collegiate player in one of these two sports is on average $120,000 and $265,000 respectively. Yet, holding with the same average, if you add up the value of their scholarships and room and board, 85% of these athletes while in college live below the federal poverty line3.

And then you ask me to care whether or not a couple extra hundred dollars or so goes to a player here and there when the bigger crime seems to be that it’s not allowable?

My favorite tale of late though in this very busy year for such stories has been this one as reported by Gene Wojciechowski from a few weeks ago, when Pitt and Syracuse defected from the Big East for the greener, literally, pastures of the ACC. Gene asked chancellor Nancy Cantor of Syracuse4 , a university that was a charter member of the Big East, “What are your concerns regarding the future of the Big East Conference and why did those concerns lead to Syracuse’s defection to the ACC?” Chancellor Nancy’s response, without laughing, was, “I would say that our concerns are really forward looking with respect to the ACC,the issues for us is that we have increasingly strong Olympic sports across the board, women sports — the ACC is a wonderful match for that for us. And we really are obviously very excited about that.”

You know what I like? Honesty. Complete disclosure. I don’t care if what you have to say is upsetting or hurtful, if you tell me the truth, good or bad, I at least know where you stand. Now, Nancy, I won’t deny that a strong women’s Olympic sports program when you were making the full pros and cons list of defecting to a new conference might have been one of the factors as to why you’d join the ACC (if it were a very lengthy list, and this was at the bottom of it), but to state that as your first response is just insulting. And insulting to everyone, including yourself and all institutes of higher learning. It’s even so far more insulting than the truth which everyone on the planet already knows to be for no other reason than for the money. Wouldn’t you think had she jumped out of her chancellery and just made it rain that it would have been actually far less insulting? It would have. In fact, had she done a send up of the “what is the problem with Michael Jackson?” torture scene from Three Kings by grabbing Wojciechowski, prying his mouth open, and just started stuffing $100 bills down his throat as her reply, it would have been less insulting. Hell, that response I might have even respected.

Instead, “women’s Olympic sports.”

For the sake of full disclosure and to go with my own honesty as I ask it from the NCAA, no matter how corrupt it is and how it will soon be congress trying to set it on a better path (hooray)5, I’m pretty sure I’d continue to look the other way without too much complaint6 if there was a playoff system for football. I mean it’s pretty obvious as to why we are the only country in the world that has high dollar collegiate athletics and I’m betting it’s because it doesn’t work. Give me an 8-12 team playoff tree to crown a champion each year though and all you’ll hear from me is chants of, “USA! USA! USA!”

Until then, I’ll take all my athletes elite, and their sports professional. At least when they’re shady, lie and cheat as professionals, they can just give me the pat answer of “it’s business”, and it’ll be the truth.


-Mike James

PS – Take the time if you’ve not already and read this October cover story from The Atlantic that Frank Deford calls “the most important article ever written about college sports”. I posted it a few weeks ago and each day that goes by only proves its message ever more so:

  1. In 2010 the Big Ten earned a whopping $905 million to be exact []
  2. Big DC thanks to James for sending me this one. []
  3. Keep in mind this is an across the board average, the comparable football program to OSU in this study, Texas, found their fair market value for each player to be $513,922 a year. And yes, those boys in helmets and pads playing for the Longhorns are living below the poverty line. []
  4. Who knew colleges even had chancellors? How are they on viceroys? Are there kings and queens too? []
  5. Said in the most sarcastic way possible []
  6. Just as we the American populace have been doing for over a 100 years with all high dollar collegiate athletics []

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Posted by on Oct 4 2011. Filed under Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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