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."


Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:48 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

Amen Adam Bates!

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:48 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

Nobody is forcing the athletes to stay. If they want the same experience and perks the other students get... quit.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:40 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

The only problem is that all but a handful of the several hundred schools are LOSING MONEY not PROFITING.  For every star wide receiver at Georgia there is 20 football players who never play, 20 field hockey players, 20 volleyball players etc etc etc.  To a man, a major University loses money on its labor.  They are not getting over on them.  The Uinversity is providing free tuition, free food, free tutoring, and travel all over the country for hundreds of athletes.  If all those 300 or so athletes got paid on top on this, we would be looking at Billions of dollars of losses not the millions in losses.  This is not a profitable venture for 99% of the schools.  It is a loss they suffer for the sake of amateur competition in nearly 40 mens and womens sports.

Since: May 10, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:35 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

I'm sorry, I missed the part about how the non revenue athletes are better served by having their sports eliminated to pay the football team. Or, how allowing gifts benefits the majority of football players. Players like Clayton Homme (TE, Idaho)? I don't see line for his jersey (no offense Clayton).

I am no fan of the NCAA and agree its hippocratic, archaic, and possibly corrupt, but breaking the dam to stop the leak is not the answer.

I believe the moral of Mr. Bates screed is that scholarships should be done away with entirely. A vote for the return of the true scholar-athlete. Why are our institutions of higher learning the only gateway to the NFL in the first place? The Miami debauchery highlights our desperate need for a pro football farm system.

Finally, in retort to Mr. Bates rhetorical question:

When the rules are propagated by the very same people they're designed to benefit?
Each and every time you enter into a contract with a binding arbitration provision. Or more appropriately EVERY time you enter into a contract.

Injustice is the flavor of America.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:25 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

Amen, brother Adam. However, the whole country(especially our politicians and clergy) are a bunch of hypocrites. Why would the NCAA be any different?

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:24 pm

Holy bleep

This is the best article on shamateurism that I have ever read.  Bates nailed it on every level.  I feel sorry for any attorney who has to argue against him in a courtroom.  I also think that he might end up in front of a congressional committee someday arguing this very same point.  

Since: Sep 14, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:10 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

I am shocked, simply shocked that a UM alum would blame the system and not his beloved university, administrators, coaches, players and the scumbag booster that facilitated all this.  Who saw this coming.  But hey, he's got a law degree so I guess that counts.  What is the point of this article other than to try and run damage control?  And the curious thing of all, we're hearing nary a peep from the university brass putting forth full throated denials or really even loud calls for the investigation to play out.  But we've heard plenty from the AD and new coach saying how they'll get past this, they'll weather the storm and that they should have been notified, etc.  Kinda sounds like a tacit admission for a lot of the goings on at the university.  In fact, the only ones I am hearing denying anything are the ex-coaches who are probably worried about losing their current jobs.

Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:10 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

I hope this isn't the last we've heard of this guy, that's a rock star speech. Well done.

Since: Aug 20, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:56 pm

One Miami grad's opinion on NCAA hypocrisy

By far the best articles I have read on the subject.  I love the perspective of a football player on a academic scholarship.  I couldnt agree more.  At minimum a player in a BCS conference should make more than just the scholarship. I have no problem with paying the star athletes more than the remaining players.  The NCAA is more crooked than certain members of our government.

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