NCAA Still Tone-Deaf When It Comes To Its Student Athletes

Bob Bowlsby
Bob Bowlsby. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In this day and age, the NCAA has become such a monarchy you have to salute as somewhat courageous Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby even being willing to say what everyone already knew on Monday during the league’s annual state-of-the-league address.

While it hardly rates as a rage-against-the-machine, for anyone willing to even remotely speak out against an empire so accustomed to getting its way while everyone else is simply forced to fall in line, Bowlsby at least deserves a nod for broaching the subject.

Enforcement is broken,” he ranted. “The infractions committee hasn’t had an FBS hearing in almost a year, and I think it’s not an understatement to say cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions.”

In truth, there are no rules when it comes to the NCAA, at least not any that stand to get in the way of the evil empire increasing its already astronomical profit margins.

Even in stating the obvious, Bowlsby knew he couldn’t say too much, at one point staunchly defending the overall collegiate model and strategically going on the attack against the idea of college athletes unionizing. “Student athletes are not employees,” he reasoned.

But what the NCAA refuses to understand and even Bowlsby still seems to be at least somewhat lagging in grasping is that they are not slaves either. From where I come from, anybody at all responsible for generating millions to an overflowing revenue stream deserves to cash in on at least a fraction of those said revenues.

“It is hard to justify paying student-athletes in football and men’s basketball and not recognizing the significant effort that swimmers and wrestlers and lacrosse players and track athletes all put in,” added Bowlsby. Perhaps, but even that pales in comparison to trying to convince your biggest earners of all they don’t deserve a dime for all their labor.

“Football and basketball players don’t work any harder than anybody else,” he added. “They just happen to have the blessing of an adoring public who is willing to pay for the tickets and willing to buy the products on television that come with the high visibility.”

That, Mr. Bowlsby would be called the American way: you get paid more, or in this case at least paid, for what people are most willing to pay to see.

With that, Bowlsby launched into a convoluted tirade about the virtues, or lack thereof, of perhaps paying some athletes and not others. “We have both a legal and moral obligation,” he said. “I don’t think it’s even debatable.”

Couldn’t agree with you more, Mr. Bowlsby about there being no need for further debate. The clock on just talking should have expired long ago.

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