Everything College Sports

For those interested in all things college sports

Is college athletics a free market

I was struck by a comment by my good friend Bob Boland at the College Sports Research Institute Conference in Chapel Hill, NC last week. I moderated a panel that included Craig Esherick, the former head men’s basketball coach at Georgetown, Boland, a former collegiate administrator, lawyer, sports agent, and now professor at NYU, Matt Denhart, an Ohio University undergrad representing the Center for College Affordability and Accountability, and Dr. Kadie Otto of Western Carolina, the current Executive Director of The Drake Group.

Bob made a comment regarding coaching salaries and athletic budgets in these tough economic times. He stated that he did not have a problem with coaches earning as much as they can because it is a free market.  Bob is one of the smartest people I know and I certainly understand his rationale, and currently without an anti trust exemption coaches salaries cannot be capped. In a perfect capitalistic economic system this makes sense–but in my opinion intercollegiate athletics (primarily at the D One level) does not exist in a logical economic system given that the generators of the income do not share equitably, or in many cases not at all, in the profits of the enterprise that create the market salaries for coaches. Continue reading

April 26, 2009 Posted by | Finance, Reform, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

What is wrong with Ohio courts? First O’Brien, now this…

Many of us subscribe to the need for reform in various areas of the NCAA’s management of student-athletes (SAs). The White v NCAA settlement a year ago was a strategic maneuver that provided for more funds to be disbursed to SAs, with the important inclusion of the opportunity, not mandate, to afford SAs Comprehensive Health Insurance, the same that we as Faculty receive by our employers.

It is true that during the present NCAA administration a more flexible, responsive, and preemptive approach to policy and litigation management has been initiated. The past few settlements have been received with criticism, arguing that the member institutions will bear the financial burden in years to come. Fair criticism has also been targeting the dangerous prospects of what some of these settlements and certain policy amendments could mean for possible future decisions in appellate courts. This concern is especially true pertaining to amateurism deregulation and commercialization, allowing for institutions to compete for more revenue. No one can deny, however, that these settlements made sense, avoiding any unforeseen mishaps in this nation’s Halls of Justice.

Let’s talk about the latter for a minute as Oliver v NCAA is rather problematic (the full opinion is embedded below this post).

Reform in intercollegiate athletics, when coming from the US system of Jurisprudence, should be founded on solid theory, convincing arguments, and research that regardless of constituents’ predispositions would make legal sense and would be respected for intellectual quality and practical clarity. We all have in our minds judges’ decisions that really shaped the way we look at things in legal, policy, socioeconomic, and political sense. What do you remember about such decisions that gave you goosebumps? This Ohio Ct. decision by Judge Tone probably fails in most aspects important and well cited decisions were able to muster.

As this decision is considered and the appeals prepared, the Amateurism Cabinet and various Committees in the new governance structure of the Association are figuring out ways to come up with either de-regulation, or legislative amendments that preemptively treat many of the cases US Courts or ADR bodies within the NCAA would hear. Regardless of recent settlements, I strongly believe the NCAA has every right and the duty to appeal, and appeal again, preserving amateurism, per President Brand’s recent State of the Association article. Here’s why, very briefly:

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February 14, 2009 Posted by | Baseball, Legislation, Reform, Rules Violations | , | 7 Comments

“When I went into college I was a boy, and when I left I was a man!” – Patrick Ewing

With pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training camps in less than a week and a half, I figured I would post about my favorite sport, and America’s pastime, baseball! Prior to my time at Ohio University, I attended the University of Missouri and served as the student manager and bullpen catcher for the Tigers baseball team. I had the pleasure of catching two first round pitchers as well as work with three major leaguers during my time at Mizzou. During my time I also witnessed at least five of our recruits forgo their collegiate career for the chance to play minor league baseball as an 18 year old and begin living their childhood dream. Of these five players that chose to pursue their professional career early, only one of the players is currently at a higher level within their team’s farm system compared to those who signed to come to Missouri, and came, the same year. For this reason, I believe that high school baseball players should attend college, unless they are offered a signing bonus upwards of $1 million.

The possibility of making a major league team is very slim as there are only 750 spots; spread throughout 30 teams with a 25-man roster. Keep in mind that there are over 220 MLB affiliated minor league teams, ranging from different types of rookie teams to AAA teams, with at least 25 players on each team. Doing the math that leads to over 5,500 affiliated minor league players. Along with these teams, there are independent leagues that have had some success in producing major league talent, see the Northern League or Golden League, as well as foreign players who have access to major league affiliated training facilities and leagues in their home country. This leads to a pool of roughly 10,000 professional athletes competing for 750 spots. With this being said, if one gets drafted in the first round or is offered more than $1 million, which is late first round money, later on in the draft, they should not turn down this opportunity. These players will get more chances and a longer leeway period than the lower paid minor leaguer.

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February 6, 2009 Posted by | Academics, Baseball, Uncategorized | | 5 Comments