Monday, December 12, 2011

What to Do About College Sports?

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a special feature on college sports with a round up of views.  Here are some excerpts.

Oscar Robertson:
Today there is a tremendous disparity in how the NCAA treats its student athletes and the way it treats its member institutions. Student-athletes are treated like gladiators—revered by fans and coveted by member institutions for their ability to produce revenue, but ultimately viewed as disposable commodities.
Frank Deford:
Athletic scholarships should be discontinued—except for the football and basketball players who desire them. The players in the two "revenue sports" would officially be school employees and only, at their option, students. They would have four years of athletic eligibility. Whether or not they wish to attend class and work toward a degree would be their choice.
William C. Friday
There is much that must be changed, but a place to begin now would be to make the operations of this entertainment colossus more transparent. A good start would be to require each institution to issue annually a comprehensive report on its intercollegiate sports programs. This report would go far beyond the won-lost column.
C. Thomas McMillen
Congress must force the issue. It has intervened in this way before, when, with the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, it granted the U.S. Olympic Committee a monopoly—so there is precedent. I would like to see legislation—with provisions for mandatory reforms—enacted to reinstate for five years the antitrust exemption the NCAA had before a Supreme Court decision overturned it, in 1984.
Harry Edwards
Aggressively soliciting and expanding corporate sponsorship of collegiate athletics would allow colleges to be both right and honest, while enjoying a sustainable flow of revenue without overburdening the general fund. . . Big-time collegiate football and basketball programs must share the wealth with the athletes who produce the wealth.
Nancy Hogshead-Makar
Congress should pass a narrow antitrust exemption that would allow the NCAA to control athletic-program costs and television revenues. Only Congress can override the Supreme Court's 1984 decision that the NCAA could not require its members to participate in its television plan . . . The NCAA and conferences should replace win-loss records as a determining factor in revenue distribution with demonstrated educational values.
Richard H. Thaler
If I could change one thing about the college-sports scene, it would be to end the Bowl Championship Series. The BCS system is a relic of ancient history and is now one of the reasons that there is a continuing battle among conferences.
Len Elmore
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has the potential to be a central and powerful regulatory body that can offer real reform, but antitrust restrictions prevent it from regulating all aspects of intercollegiate sports—including financial ones. Therefore, to create a strong and authoritative regulatory body that protects the interests of the games and the people who play them, the NCAA must be exempt from antitrust laws.


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