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Senators Pressure NCAA to Put Scholarship Above Sports

“This is plain and simple the dark side of the NCAA,” says one former collegiate football player now in Congress.

by
Bill Straub

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July 12, 2014 - 12:56 am
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WASHINGTON – A Senate panel provided NCAA President Mark Emmert with some rough treatment on Wednesday on issues ranging from the treatment of college athletes to investigations into reports of sexual abuse.

For his part, Emmert tried to assuage members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, voicing support for the concept of “scholarships for life” for athletes while acknowledging that “changes are needed.”

“Intercollegiate athletics provides more financial aid to more students-athletes than ever before,” Emmert said. “More student-athletes are graduating than ever before and student-athletes enter college better prepared and leave college better conditioned to take on leadership roles throughout our society.”

But panel members made it clear that there is deep dissatisfaction with NCAA operations. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the committee chairman, expressed concern that the system is being corrupted by money, wondering if the NCAA is “simply a legal cartel.”

“Colleges and universities say that these revenues benefit college athletes and their student bodies at large,” Rockefeller said. “But I think we have to consider whether the lure of such riches could corrupt the basic mission of athletic programs. Winning teams get higher payouts than losing teams, which creates a strong incentive to win at any cost. And much of the money is often funneled right back into those sports programs, in the form of multi-million dollar coaching salaries and state of the art facilities – to perpetuate that cycle of winning.”

Athletics, Rockefeller said, “are meant to serve schools and their public duty to educate students, not the other way around.”

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the committee’s ranking member, also sought to remind Emmert that “the college student-athlete is and should be a student first.”

Thune cited criticism that “some institutions appear unable to balance the core academic mission of the university and the commercial considerations that often accompany college athletics, particularly in high-profile sports. Many feel the commitment to the ‘student-athlete’ is falling short.”

The hearing marked the second time in two months that a congressional committee held a hearing regarding the authority of the NCAA, which finds itself under increasing pressure to adopt changes to better serve the student-athlete.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing in May about the potential consequences of a movement initiated by Northwestern University football players to unionize college athletes – a process opposed by Emmert and the NCAA. The organization also is facing a lawsuit from former student-athletes, most prominently former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon, who maintain student-athletes should get a share of the revenues from the use of their names, images and likenesses in broadcasts and videogames. Emmert opposes any attempts to pay athletes, saying it runs counter to the concept of amateurism.

But Emmert told lawmakers that promoting student-athlete success in the classroom and on the field stands “first and foremost” among his priorities, maintaining that the aim is to enable them “to succeed throughout life.”

“And while we strive every day to do just that, I strongly believe improvements need to be made and more work must be done,” Emmert said.

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All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
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What does any of this have to do with education? The only thing I remember about "college athletics" from my time at school was when the administration moved all student parking to peripheral lots somewhere on Mars so that they could tear down all the near in restaurants students frequented with eminent domain to build an "alumni center" (post game party house for non students) and big empty parking lots we couldn't use that sat empty til game day.

I and all my friends took a blood oath never to give the school money, and I never have.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Grandfather out the scholarships til they're at zero. Look at film of the NBA from 2000. Those people had half the speed today's players do. People still watched. They watched because it was competitively even. I understand college should encourage athletic endeavor - FOR STUDENTS!

People watch college though it's not as athletic as the NFL.

I've seen enough. I don't want this institutionalized into morons using college as an NFL farm team, plus now get paid, and don't get an education. Let the NFL make their own farm teams. Teams were selling out games in the '60s without the athletes of today, and they still will. Put some real students out there, I already can watch the NFL.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree student athletes shouldn't be paid more. For me, free education is comparable to getting paid for labor. Do away with scholarships and give the students the money to pay for school. If they do not use the money for this purpose, they will be out of school or saddled with debt--like most students.

You are, however, wrong that less talented athletes are just as entertaining because of the relative talent level of everyone else competing. Ever watch WNBA games? No, me neither.

Yes, people watched games 40 years ago because they were the most accomplished athletes at the time. The same will be true 40 years from now. That doesn't mean we will watch lower skilled players because they are playing lower skilled athletes. I love minor league baseball, but there is a reason their games are not televised nationally and people typically won't drive a couple of hours to see a AA game.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ever watch college football, college basketball, college hockey? Ever hear of March Madness? Could the men's NCAA champ beat the women's pro champ? Of course we'd watch inferior athletes - we already do.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jesse Ventura, as Governor of Minnesota, suggested that athletes be given scholarships which allowed them to play sports for up to four years without going to any classes, and then afterwards (when most of them don't get drafted by the professional teams) be able to go to classes for four years without playing sports.

Jesse, of course, made too much sense to be a successful politician.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why is any of this the business of the Senate?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey senate. Illegal alien invaders infested with all manner of diseases are pouring over our Southern border. Many of them are violent gang bangers. The vast majority of them are coming here to get a free welfare check every week. That welfare check is going to have to be written on money that we borrow from our communist enemy in China. My kids and grandkids will be slaves to that debt.

obamacare is destroying our healthcare system. If it isn't repealed, it will not be long before real Americans have to wait months and months to get a simple thing like a CAT scan - it there's even one to be gotten!

International islamic jihad has created a "caliphate" in the Middle East, and our ONLY true ally in that region is besieged.

I could sit here and write all day long about the issues you freaking limp-wristed morons SHOULD BE addressing, but you're up there raking some guy from the freaking NCAA over the coals???? I lack the eloquence to express how angry I am that you are wasting my tax dollars on this.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...before real Americans have to wait months and months to get a simple thing like a CAT scan...". Oh, you mean like me...I had to wait 3 months to get my CAT scan on my "shiny new O'care HMO plan", (AFTER my good PPO plan was cancelled by O'care because it "deprived" this 62 year old woman whose had a hysterectomy of B.C. Pills & Maternity Care). When I FINALLY got my CAT scan the co-pay had gone up to an "affordable" $300.00, when my last CAT scan on my good PPO had an "un-affordable" co-pay of $60.00!! So HAPPY that O'Care made me shell out an extra $240.00 & then ENLIGHTENED me by telling me that it's now "affordable"!! Up is down, black is white, night is day, in the O'care world!!
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The answer is simple, and Conservative. Which means that most of the Establishment won't understand it.

1. Create four divisions in college football. 2 professional minor league, 2 student Athletic.
A. Division 1 is the equivalent of AAA/AA baseball, the team is sponsored by an NFL or CFL team, the players are recruited and managed by professional standards, and paid a real salary to play the game. The school gets a cut of the gate for being the host field audience and facility, of which that cut can be used for academic and non-football sports programs.

B. Division 2 - would be a minor developmental league that would allow a player to determine whether their skills are good enough to move to the next level. AA and A teams, where AA would relegate back and forth between Division 1 and Division 2 depending on status, the school's commitment to the sport, etc.

In both of the minor leagues as in baseball there is an NFL and CFL direct involvement, the player is an Athlete first, and a student as a benefit of being assigned or accepted into a particular school's minor league program. That student development should be assisted and encouraged, but is not a requirement.

This puts the big money out in the open, allows it to be limited and not abused by Athletic Departments and coaching staffs for pocket lining, and helps to deal with the endemic corruption of the big money part of College football.

Divisions 3 and 4 would be a traditional partial scholarship, limited gate, student first athlete second sort of arrangement where the membership of the division depends on the size of the school, and the travel capability of the team. Scholarships may only be partial and depend on need of the student, and his qualification to be enrolled in the school (where there are no advantages given above any other student). The programs must be walk on oriented, with absolutely no recruiting allowed.

Until college football admits that the NCAA is an abysmal failure at what it was intended to do, and now has just become a cash cow cartel for the big school semi-pro teams shot full of corruption, the old problems will continue.

Sunshine and honesty with the issue is the only cure. Alabama, Stanford, West Virginia, et al are semi-pro football teams and the false front of Student Athletics is a lie. Living a lie is completely corrupting. End both.

Best,

John - The Mighty Fahvaag
Your Neanderthal Commenter
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please go testify before congress. They are WAY TOO STUPID to figure this out.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very smart, for a Neanderthal. College sports is big dollar entertainment and should be treated accordingly. You hit all the right points, well done.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jay Rockefeller lecturing others about integrity. You couldn't make it up.

Did the august committee explore the ludicrous and destructive effects of leftists implementing Title IX?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
The usual babble that skirts the real issue.

Either admit that certain sports at the college level (and even at the high school level, for that matter) are simply businesses run by the school, in order to earn a profit - and therefore subject to all of the rules and regulations (and taxes) that come with operating a business.

Stop pretending that the ability to throw a football, or hit the basket from the three point line, has ANYTHING at all to do with education.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
many fans would be hard pressed to answer what some schools are in business for other than football basketball or whatever.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would be interesting to see the first scenario play itself out- admission that school sports is a business- making players employees- entitled to pay and benefits. Of course HS sports programs would risk running afoul child labor laws... too big of a Pandora's box ultimately aimed at a tax base that would be required to fund whatever is to emerge from such a sequence of events- perfect for society's wrecking ball...
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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