As many of my friends know, I went to Syracuse University. I actually attended an attached state college, but I lived and studied all four years on the Syracuse campus. I had season tickets for sports there, I played club lacrosse there and I wore a Syracuse jersey. During my time at Syracuse, I fell in love. So when it was announced this week that Syracuse had self imposed a post season basketball ban, I thought I would share my thoughts.
I loathe the NCAA.
And it’s not just sour grapes.
My loathing of the NCAA is grounded in my enduring belief that the NCAA no longer works for major college sports. They do a fine job with non-revenue sports, but it’s time to completely rethink the way major sports are administered, and to consider whether they should be administered at all.
The problems with the NCAA’s management of major college sports are numerous. Even under the new agreement, the athletes doing the work see little of the millions of dollars that the NCAA rakes in. The standards of proper contact with recruits are a joke in the 21st century. It is impossible to prevent boosters, athletes, and teachers from cheating. When a violation is found, it is those who come later who get punished, while the guilty go free. Violations are administered with no accountability, and there is no person or group on earth I trust with such power. I am convinced that there is too much money in major college sports today for the NCAA to be able to wield that power in a way that benefits major sports athletes, fans or member schools.
What I think will happen is that, eventually, the most powerful schools will form a separate organization for their major college sports. The NCAA will continue to oversee non-revenue sports, and will continue to do a good job with those. I think that is a system that would work.
As for major college sports, though, I’m fairly confident that they cannot be policed. Therefore, I think schools in the new organization should just let it go. The major colleges are the ones who get the money the NCAA raises, let them spend it however they want. Let the athletes learn as much, or as little, as they want. These athletes are old enough to be imprisoned, vote, and join the military. Can’t they decide for themselves how much they want to learn?
It’s time major college sports, and the schools that play them, to start treating their athletes like adults. Treating them like children so schools can make money off of them is more than disrespectful, it borders on criminal.
That is why I loathe the NCAA.