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Blog Entry

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 5:35 pm
 

In May, Adam Bates received his law degree and master's in Middle Eastern studies from Michigan. In 2007, he got his undergraduate degree in political science at Miami.

Bates, 26, is starting an internship with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., next month. He is a bright young man, very bright.

He also happens to have been a walk-on offensive lineman at the University of Miami from 2003-05. He feels strongly about the hypocrisy of the NCAA and its "amateur athletics."

Bates told me he's been making these arguments for years, but the Miami situation hit home, so he made his feelings known with an impassioned take on his Facebook page Wednesday night.

"I have a hard time stomaching the party line that this is amateur athletics," Bates told me. "It's all about the money. The arm races, the [salaries of] coaches.

"The NCAA doesn't want to deal with this -- if it all. If not for [the media] discovering these situations, the NCAA would still stick its head in the sand. If [the media] sorted through everyone's laundry, they would find the same stuff that Yahoo did at Miami."

Bates' strong view on the so-called "amateur" aspect of college athletics:

"There is an awful lot of righteous indignation floating around college football lately. A man spending the next 20 years of his life in federal prison for fleecing investors out of more than $900 million says he gave some money and benefits to some Miami Hurricanes over the last 10 years. I'm not interested in talking about what did or didn't happen. I'm not interested in confirming or denying the spiteful ramblings of an insecure snitch with an inferiority complex. I'm interested in talking about hypocrisy.

"I want to talk about the hypocrisy of the NCAA and, by extension, its constituent school administrations; the very people who have enriched themselves so shamelessly on the backs of the kids they're soon to righteously delight in punishing.

"First, a little background: I had it easy at the University of Miami, and it often felt like it was too much to bear. I had an easier time in class than most of my teammates, and far less was expected of me on the football field. I went to school on academic money and I played football because I wanted to and because I had played my whole life, not because it was the only way for me to get through school or make a better life for myself and my family. I can't speak about what it's like to be a high profile recruit, an All-American, or a future NFL star and the pressures such statuses entail. But I can tell you this: College football is a grind.

"The NCAA says players put in 20 hours a week. Anybody who has spent any time around a college program knows that 60 is a better number. Then add 12 to 15 hours a week of class on top of that. Seventy-five hours a week, in exchange for a stipend mathematically designed to make your ends almost meet.

"The president of the NCAA makes more than $1 million a year. Any head coach worth his salt is making two or three times that. Talking heads at ESPN/ABC/CBS and the presidents of most major institutions join them in the seven-digit salary club.

"That's what this is really about, and people have to understand that. Why is it a problem for [former Georgia wide receiver] A.J. Green to sell his jersey when the NCAA sells 22 variations of the very same jersey? Why can't [former Ohio State quarterback] Terrelle Pryor get some free ink from a fan? Why don't people react the same way to that as they do to hearing that Peyton Manning is selling phones for Sprint or that Tiger Woods gets paid $100 million to wear Nike gear? What's the difference?

"The difference, as far as I can tell, is that the NCAA has done a wonderful job duping people into believing this multibillion-dollar-a-year industry is pursued for the sake of amateurism. It's a total sham. The coaches aren't amateurs, the administrators aren't amateurs, the corporate sponsors and media companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the backs of these players aren't amateurs. The only 'amateurs' involved are the guys doing all the work. Pretty nice racket if you can get it.

"The NCAA and ESPN are going to be telling you that some great kids are scumbags because they allegedly broke rules designed to keep them poor and implemented by people making money hand over fist. An ESPN shill in a $5,000 suit is going to ask you to morally condemn the kids who provide the framework for said shill to make enough money to afford that suit because those kids might have taken some free food and drinks. They're going to be called 'cheaters' despite the obvious fact that boat trips don't make you run any faster or hit any harder.

"Oklahoma gives Bob Stoops $3 million a year and nobody blinks. A car dealership in Norman gives [former OU quarterback] Rhett Bomar a couple hundred bucks and everyone wets themselves. Urban Meyer sat on TV this very day, making approximately $1,500 an hour to sit there and flap his lips, and was asked to judge a bunch of 20-year-old kids for allegedly accepting free food and drinks and party invites.

"Is that immense delusion intentional or do people actually not realize the hypocrisy they perpetuate?

"What's that you say? The rules are the rules? I call bull----. When the rules are propagated by the very same people they're designed to benefit, I say the rules must be independently justifiable. What is the justification for saying that A.J. Green can't sell his jersey? That he won't be an 'amateur' anymore? Doesn't the scholarship itself render him no longer an amateur by any objective definition? Doesn't the fact that Georgia spent hundreds of millions of dollars advertising itself to A.J. Green render him no longer an amateur? Doesn't he stop being an amateur when UGA promises him that his career at Georgia will net him NFL millions? Doesn't the fact that millions of dollars change hands thanks to the service he provides make him not an amateur?

"Is it because athletes should be treated like other students, lest they not appreciate the 'college experience?' Other kids get to sell their belongings, don't they? They get to go to parties and drink and throw themselves at women, don't they? They get to have jobs and earn their worth, don't they? And other kids don't spend 60 hours a week having their bodies broken or their spring mornings running themselves to death in the dew in the dark.

"It's nonsense. Unmitigated, indefensible nonsense. The players are ‘amateurs' for the simple reason that they're cheaper to employ that way. What is bad about giving a poor kid some money to spend? What is wrong with showing your appreciation for the service someone provides by giving them some benefit of their own? I'm supposed to believe it's wrong because the NCAA says it is?

"These players are worth far more than a free trip to the strip club and a trip around the bay on a yacht. A.J. Green is worth more to the NCAA and the University of Georgia than the cost of his jersey, and Terrelle Pryor is worth more than the value of a tattoo.

"I don't know much about players taking 'illegal benefits' and if I did I wouldn't be snitching about it like a lowlife, but I can tell you this: I hope to the bottom of my soul that every player in America is on the take, because they're getting shafted. The powers that be make too much money this way to ever change, and the rest of the country seems far too committed to delusions, institutional partisanship, and jealousy to see their own glass houses, so take what you can get while you can get it, youngbloods. You earned it."

Comments

Since: Jun 8, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 9:46 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

Back on point with the topic.  This was a nice rant...well thought out, however, the writer of this opinion forgets about one important factor in all of this.  Character.  Without it you have and are nothing.  Just because someone at one school breaks the rules doesn't mean that you have the right to do the same.  If the amount of time student athletes are spending on conditioning is 60 hours rather than 20 hours, then the school, NCAA and the conference leadership should take action against that happening.

I realize it is tough being a student athlete, but don't piss in my boots and tell me it's raining either.  There is SOOO much priveledge and support given to student athletes that it makes a large percentage of the regular students, who are paying their own way, very unsupportive of this whole "we should pay the players" argument. 

College football has many problems right now.  The biggest one is that many of the high profile athletes on the field think that they are beyond reproach.  Their behavior will not change until their perspective on life does.  You want to pay the players?  Fine, just as long as the players have to pay back the amount of money in scholarship cost to the school when the penalties for their actions call for ineligibility, or loss of schoplarship.



Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 8:39 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

Hey, buckeyezane, call me crazy, but I take what you just said as a "compliment."  But, let me remind you that it's better these days to be a Michigan fan than to be a fan of Ohio State.  Michigan is on the brink of something good, and Ohio State . . . ?  Let's just say Ohio State is on the brink. Wink



Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2011 8:25 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

UMichGradFan.....no need to worry about your Wolverine players taking things,at least in recent years and if they did they should give it back with the way they played........ UM players should pay the school and it's fans to have and sit and watch the product they put on the field nowadays.Laughing



Since: Dec 19, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2011 8:05 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

People, read the article! It's about the hypocrisy, not how well the athletes are compinsated. It's sickening to watch and listen to the NCAA parade around like they really have the best interest of the athlete at heart or they really care about protecting "ameteur status"! Bottom line, it's all handled as a business. Academic scholarships do not hog tie it's recipients like an athletic scholarship does. The NCAA can't fully enforce all the rules and harshly punish all who break those those rules because it would be bad for business! Pry into the day to day at any powerhouse program, and you're most likely going to find violations. USC, Miami, OSU, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Auburn, etc......the NCAA needs those powerhouses to pack those stadiums, buy merchandise, parking, concessions, etc. In a way they are already being paid to pay, which is a major violation in and of itself, so that actually voids their amateur status right there. They just aren't being paid in accordance to what the NCAA, universities, coaches, administrators, etc. are being paid. Amateur, business, and politics do not mix well. Any time you have the ones that stand to gain the most in position of setting policy, you will have these issues. In the end, ones in position of power usually come out on top



Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 7:56 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

These athletes have a choice:  Do or do not.  But don't ask me to feel sorry for them.




Since: Aug 20, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2011 7:48 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

I wonder why people quickly bring up the free scholarship crap. Is that scholarship actual money? Is the athlete actually taking a spot away from a non-scholarship student? Does the university pay itself? How free is the education? Can I tell my coach that I don't feel like going to practice today because I have to study for a test? Do I get to graduate from that university, if I decide I want to only concentrate on my studies and quit the team? Is my free ride guaranteed if I get injured? You all know the answers to these questions. High profile athletes in football typically has sleeping hour to use as study hours. I hate the word student athlete, because you are not a true student if you must produce on the field. Guys have to use their own time to study, and football takes your entire day.



Since: Aug 12, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 7:04 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

What a load of crap. 

Most of these athletes are already getting the benefits of a free education.  At a private university like Miami, is definitely not cheap.  Per U of M's website, 10 credit hours in a semester is $16k per semester.  Assume 2 semesters per year x 4 years and that's $128,000 of benefit.  That's excludes costs of books, tutoring, housing and athletic "fees" that students have to pay to support the beloved football program.  So, when it's all said and done, the athlete gets to get a degree (And no student loans).

In addition to that benefit the 72 players at Miami got yacht trips, free cash, cars, and hookers.  Do you honestly believe with that sense of entitlement that these athletes have that by giving them more money it will cure all ills?  Hell no!  It will only make them want more and will only seek to further entrench their sense of entitlement.

I don't know what the answer is, but as it is and as a college graduate who had to pay and who did not receive an athletic scholarship, I think the current system is BS because of the all the perks the athletes already get (permissable and impersmissable). 



Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2011 7:03 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

You play with fire, you get fire! I have no sympathy for any of these athletes! They get a free education for christ sake, and many of them will go onto to the NFL and earn millions there. Why should I give a crap about whinning athletes who dont know how good they have it. When these guys are hanging with a billionaire taking his money, hanging at his parties and half the administration knows about it, of course your gonna get burnt. This guy may be a low life snitch, but so are half of the athletes associated with this loser. are you really suprised a guy like this would bring down the univeristy, I'm not, and they deserve every snction they get!



Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:53 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

Former Colorado kick returner/pro skier Jeremy Bloom wrote some similar articles a few years back after the NCAA threatened to stop him from playing for receiving pro sponorship after he won Olympic gold.His articles were just as spot on.  Hopefully this will lead to the NCAA losing its tax free status if it doesnt make significant changes away from slave labor. 



Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:53 pm
 

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

Okay, I take your point.  But, what does a four-year scholarship at Miami cost?  The cost of four years at Michigan (a public university) is well over $100, 000.  So, in addition to a pricey scholarship that more than a few ordinary mortals would love to have, these athletes get a stipend for living expenses. I would also argue that figuring out how to make ends meet is part of the college experience.  It means having to defer some things players might want to have and do until they are making those big salaries in the NFL (like cars, tatoos, prostitutes?, and other luxuries).  But, they are also getting more . . . they are getting excellent preparation and training for the profession they want to pursue.  What football player can you point to who was ready to play in the NFL right out of high school?  Without that and the exposure of their college football experience, how many of them would be drafted into the NFL?  So, I think scholarship football players are already pretty well paid.  (As you concede, their scholarships alone could call their amateur status into question.)  They also know what they're getting into when they sign on, don't they?  They sign a contract that says, for all of the perks mentioned above, all they have to do is follow the rules (another life lesson), and oh, by the way, here are the rules. Many ordinary mortals have to pay their own way and may work a couple of jobs while they pursue their education full time--that also amounts to a lot of hours. So, I'm not buying the sob story you are trying to sell. 

Do football coaches, sports analysts, and NCAA officials make way too much money?  Yes. But, what does that have to do with the problem at hand?  My college professors and people who had already earned their degrees were making a lot more than I was when I attended college, too.  Even though my talents are different from those of football players, I had to pay my dues and work hard to "almost make ends meet" while I was going to college (right through my PhD), so perhaps you'll forgive me if I'm less than sympathetic.

There is an alternative that has been suggested many times.  Perhaps the NFL should have a "minor" or "development" league.  Then, talented players could skip the whole college thing and get paid right away for their skills (such as they would be at that time).  They could go pro right out of high school  Of course, the rest of us would be deprived of the chance to really watch them develop on the fall Saturdays we enjoy so much.  But, maybe that's the answer. Or not.  The NFL knows that it has a good thing going and depends on the colleges and universities to develop its players.  Then, of course, they laugh all the way to the bank.

The real problem is that some players want to have their cake and eat it, too, and "fans" and "others" are willing to feed it to them to see their teams excel and possibly win a national championship.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com