Tuesday, July 26, 2005
PAY FOR PLAY WATCH
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Wherein SMQ chronicles demands that poor, exploited big-time collegiate athletes be paid for their valuable services...
On ESPN's Page 2, Patrick Hruby includes "Amateurism in College Sports" as one of "The Dumbest Rules in Sports":
"We live in a free society. We believe in free markets. Should we subject some of our best and brightest athletes to an outdated, bunkum philosophy that runs contrary to both?You will not find a more ardent supporter of free markets than SMQ, an avowed libertarian capitalist, but he cannot fathom this line of argument for the very obvious reason that college athletes are already paid. Or do those tens of thousands of dollars schools fork over for an education and housing not count?
Amateurism began as a myth, concocted by snooty English aristocrats who didn't want to dirty their hands -- let alone get their keisters kicked -- by competing against working-class opponents. It persists as a way to keep athletic departments rich while student-athletes rely on under-the-table booster handouts -- handouts that would be legal in any other context.
Since when is it a crime to accept a bill-stuffed envelope from someone dumb enough to give it to you?
Law students intern at local firms. Accounting majors work at banks. Physical education students appear in Playboy's "Girls of the Pac-10" issue. Athletes get the shaft. In a 1995 book, former NCAA executive director Walter Byers wrote that amateurism in college sports amounted to "economic tyranny." We couldn't agree more."
It should be noted that this is not necessarily Hruby's proposal, since he acknowledges the contributions of virtually the entire Page 2 staff in the formation of this list, but whoever drew the comparison between other facets of our culture should study a bit closer the principles of "a free society," particularly the difference between standards placed on government and private organizations and ability of citizens to enter into voluntary contracts, as a school does when it agrees to participate by the NCAA's rules and an athlete does when he agrees to attend and play for a school. A society is "free" based on the restrictions it places on government, and the lack of restrictions it places on private organizations. In a real free society, individual institutions - like the NCAA, or its member schools, which join voluntarily - are not bound to play by the same principles that society mandates that its government play by. Presumably, this same writer would extoll the virtues of the NFL's revenue-sharing system, which remains the most successful model for socialism anywhere in the world and is a quintessential example of an organization that runs its operations entirely differently than "free society" at large, and yet is a testament to said society precisely because it is free to do so.
And an athlete taking a bill-stuffed envelope is not, nor ever has been, "a crime" - it's only against the rules by which each school agrees to participate. There are no arrests or criminal proceedings; no one goes to prison. The sanctions come only from the NCAA, according to the policy upon which the school agreed when it joined the organization.
Anyway, players aren't getting the shaft - they're getting a free education, fame and notoriety, and an opportunity to prove themselves for a potential professional career (interning is a good analogy), all while doing something they love. Highly regarded academic students are given exactly the same opportunity (sans fame, maybe), and no more. Fans aren't getting the shaft because the richest boosters can't buy up the best players to load onto one roster, ensuring more parity, and better, more fair competition - more essential in sports than society in general because sports is entertainment and the product thrives on good competition, even if the rules have to be rigged to artificially create that competition (again, the key to the NFL's success). So what's the problem?
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And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.
AWWW!! The totally nicest people, like, ever!...
How much football does he watch? Dude's got insights on -everybody-, and by everybody, I mean everybody. Throw in some of the best writing in the blogosphere, and we're talking about a daily must-read.
- Burnt Orange Nation
SMQ starts to sound more and more like the Gregg Easterbrook of our ideal memories every day - whip-smart, systematic, omnivorous in his intellectual tastes and yet unafraid of the cheap joke.
- Every Day Should Be Saturday
Sunday Morning Quarterback is one of our favorite football blogs on the internet.
- State Fans Nation
Sunday Morning Quarterback is a killer football blog if you are a college football junkie. It is run by one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, and analytical writers in the college football blogosphere...The guy is thorough and detailed and provides a level of analysis you are not going to find anywhere else .
- Bruins Nation
Just another hack writer who hasn't done one lick of research...
...the pride of Southern Mississippi ever since Brett Favre turned into an ESPN soap opera, has the sort of prose knack that can keep you riveted to a preview about any one of D-IA's scrubbier members ... should be given gifts.
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e-mail Sunday Morning Quarterback at email@example.com
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