Friday, August 30, 2013

Sports ramblings

Along with not wanting contribute my 2 eyeballs to what is essentially boxing in disguise as far as the brain is concerned, the other thing about fitba is I have gotten thoroughly disgusted with NCAA. Just reading about the kid from A&M is enough to give you a headache.

But the bigger problem with college sports is the whole setup. NCAA is no longer sustainable as a model. What started out as a place for clearing house of rules, enforcement and actually trying to keep Universities from doing what they are supposed to do which is provide education, it has now become a hypocritical, bureaucratic nightmare. As with any bureaucracy, it's existence is now not even questioned and people just assume it needs to be there and try to reform it and such. This is all such BS. There is absolutely no reason for NCAA to exist. The only reason it exists is because people are unwilling to question it's existence.

I am not saying that paying the athletes is a alternative. But what is going on now is RACIST. The 2 sports that feed the monster are college football and men;s basketball. This is what makes that world go around. These 2 sports are overwhelmingly black. The problem is not that they are blacks contributing to ALL the other sports to thrive, it is ALL the other sports are essentially white. Not just white, but suburban, middle class white. The Tennis, Golf, Gymnastics, Crew, Soccer, Volleyball and myriad other sports that are essentially supported by urban, poor black kids are essentially lily white. You do not find too many brothers or sisters on the crew, golf swimming or tennis teams. Not even that many in soccer, volleyball and such. Let me not even get into hockey.

All this would be OK, if the educational component of the scholarships are actually implemented. They are not. Just the sheer hypocrisy of calling these kids scholar athletes is a disgrace. I am not talking about anecdotal evidence of one kid here or one kid there actually utilizing his opportunity to get an education. Statistically it is just a JOKE. These kids are being exploited. The exploitation is unconscionable.  It does not take a genius to see that the people making the biggest gobs of money on this exploitation are the coaches, administrators and the 'industry' around. Say what you want about Baseball and Soccer, at least they run their own production lines. They are not mooching off the NCAA. To think that less than 1% of the kids playing in the NCAA ever get a pro career. Even of that 1%, only a third of those get to make a decent amount of money to retire. The other 2/3 get out of their pro career with no nest egg, medical problems and NO SKILLS to enter the workforce. They have been taught nothing since their talent was spotted in high school. High schools usually do not give them enough. Then in college, it is usually a joke. The kids have to actually work against the system to get a actual education. The basic problem is that the system as it is now is broken. Paying the athletes is a problem simply because where are you going to put the line. Are you going to pay ALL athletes, which is the only sensible thing. If not do we pay only the revenue generating sports? Even within the revenue generating sports, is it going to be need based? Is it going to be performance based? Who draws the line? Once we have decided to pay some athletes, what is to prevent boosters from 'augmenting' the amounts. Set up endowments to make it like endowed chairs and such. Reggie White endowed pass rusher at UT. This is a nightmare.

As paying the athletes is a non-starter, the only recourse for universities and conferences with a modicum of self reflection, pride and conscience is to get out. College sports are unique in that the fans are usually people with some REAL connection with the team. I am now talking about conferences like the BIG 10, Pac12 and Ivy and such. When the big 10 started it was oly for athletic and ACADEMIC comingling of the midwestern land grant institutions. Now with Big10having it's own network to broadcast its games, it does not need ESPN and such. The fans can be served by the conference itself. What the big10 and Pac12 should do is to disengage from the NCAA. The only thing that matters for most fans is the intra-conference rivalries and games anyway. The only thing where the outside matters is the NCAA basketball tourney. But if you are a TRUE fan of the team, you should be willing to forego that for the larger good. This way we can play intra-conference for football. Get our championship. Then play the Pac12 for bowl games. In all other sports, we can have a post conference tournament. For things like baseball, volleyball, tennis etc. For Basketball, we have a competing postseason tournament open only to winning teams from the 2 conferences. 

So the money generated will be miniscule compared to the NCAA tournament etc. But we are sharing with only 26 teams. Also when you combine the 2 conferences, we will have enough eyeballs to generate sufficient income. What I am saying is we do not need the NCAA. Not anymore. Not with all the platforms that exist to deliver these sports to the real fans.

What this will do is to let us get out from the NCAA and set up our own standards. We know what is needed. The educational component has to be strictly enforced. When these kids come in to get an education, then dammit they are going to get one. NO CHEATING. If there are violations they will be of 2 kinds. Minor and major. Minor involving kids will result in the team forfeiting as many scholarships as kids involved. Major transgressions will result in the program being shut down for a year. The offending coaches will be dismissed, and barred from ever coaching in either conferences. The rules that need to be set up will be simpler. If you do something that you are unwilling to talk about publicly, it is a violation. The details can be worked out. The plan is what matters. We need to get out. NCAA started because of us. It is now a disgrace. We need to get out and start again. If we are able to persuade pac12 to get in with us; this is doable. Seriousl, the sport that drives the engine is football. Football is a regional, parochial thing. I still think that a big10 pac12 rosebowl will be a bigger draw that whatever BCS crap they come up with. Moreover, the money generated will be split among universities within the conferences. 26 of them. This is a doable thing.

As long as the present system exists, I am no longer going to be able to support it in good conscience. After reading Taylor Branch and Malcolm Gladwell on this, I cannot support this anymore.