Being right makes it all wrong
The entire NCAA structure is in violation of some laws while it is trying to adhere to the standard of other laws. The model is so flawed that the only way to fix it is to have people vote themselves less money and power. It's easy to agree that won't be happening.
Simply put, teenage football and basketball players make millions of dollars for adults in exchange for a scholarship worth much less. Any administrator who tries to act like that's an even swap is an arrogant fool.
However, it's also not just the fat cat administrators gravy-training off of teenage boys. Other teenage boys and teenage girls are also gravy-training off of teenage boys. How can there be women's lacrosse without men's basketball? Track is eliminated without the TV money paid to broadcast college football. College baseball isn't having a 64-team tournament with the 15 teams across the country who would survive without the cash from the NCAA basketball tournament. A lot of the money generated by football and the men's basketball tournament goes right into the other sports.
Every judge is supposed to work within the parameters of the case before them. When the NLRB ruled that Northwestern players could unionize, it was the right decision because those players are being treated like employees. Yet, the decision to allow unionization will only make it more impossible to follow the guidelines set by Title IX.
Women's groups could bring Northwestern into a legal entanglement with the EEOC if the school is forced to employ 85 men to play football but won't hire women's tennis players. Is Northwestern football now exempt from Title IX issues since they are employees and not part of the education system? If an athletic department is part of the state's educational system, couldn't their hiring practices be called into question when they have no women on the football coaching staff?
Football and men's basketball pay for everything. It's not an equality issue; it's a marketplace issue. No matter how much you try to force it down the throat of the general public, the masses of sports fans don't care about women's basketball. Chances are very high that no matter how much soccer is thrown at you, you don't care. It's not sexist, it's reality. Men's wrestling teams are mooching just as much as women's soccer teams.
The problem here is every single court case that whittles away one aspect of the NCAA model makes it impossible for the NCAA to withstand an attack on a completely different flank.
I don't feel bad for the NCAA. They deserve this. Colleges are the ones that allowed fountains in football offices. Universities accepted athletic director contracts that paid $18,000 bonuses for one wrestler winning a national title when the wrestler gets a trophy.
Concessions and ideas should have been floated with one goal in mind: how are we going to share the revenue with the labor that is creating it? The NCAA decided to hire more administrators. Colleges spent the money on more adults to run the program or better facilities to compete for better teenagers they weren't willing to pay. Colleges never wanted to share the money with the athletes. Universities never showed the foresight to invest in the future of the athlete. Universities could easily afford to put football players on a state healthcare plan. Basketball teams can make an agreement that a four-year player has a scholarship for life for he and his family.
The real losers are the Olympic sport athletes who will lose college athletics if the trend continues to its logical conclusion in 15 years. The winners are the labor union leaders who will now represent college athletes and make union dues based on the massive amounts of money that is now being funneled to the athletic administrations.
It's amazing there all these adults fighting in the best interests of the kids when they all disagree what's in the best interest of the kids. The only thing that will end up happening is the NCAA will no longer exploit the kids playing men's basketball and football. Those kids will simply be exploited by someone else.
Doug Franz, Co-host of Doug & Wolf