Thursday, August 26, 2004

NCAA Doesn't Nurture Bloom

The NCAA has, again, denied Jeremy Bloom’s request that he is able to play football for the University of Colorado….AND be able to keep his freestyle skiing endorsement deals.

The United States is one of the very few countries that doesn’t have its government fund the Olympic team. That is why endorsements are so critical….especially to athletes in those pure Olympic sports. Freestyle skiing is a Winter Olympic sport…and Bloom competed in the 2002 Salt Lake City games. To afford the training and travel needed to get to Torin in 2006.…Bloom needed the endorsements. The NCAA is fine with him being endorsed…..just that he’s disqualified from participating in varsity sports.

Of course, it is quite alright for coaches to sign ludicrous endorsement deals. In those endorsement deals [namely shoe companies], coaches must have the players [who cannot make one red cent] wear the company’s shoes and uniforms with the logo on the sleeve or pants leg. Of course, the coaches…..who are making the money off of this….still get to wear their Armani suits on the sidelines. So, coaches pimp their players to wear gear to make them money. Brilliant.

And it isn’t just the coaches. We have NCAA stadiums and arenas with corporate sponsorship. Many schools play in NBA arenas plastered with corporate names. MCI Center, Continental Airlines Arena, and Wachovia Center just to name a few. Value City Arena for Ohio State, Comcast Center for Maryland, Allstate Arena for DePaul, Dunkin Donuts Center for Providence, the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. It’s not just the big schools, either. Alltel Arena for Arkansas-Little Rock. Or Siena’s Pepsi Center.

And how ‘bout them bowls?? GMAC Bowl. Continental Tire Bowl. Heck, the Hall Of Fame Bowl is now the “Outback Bowl”….the Copper Bowl is now the “Insight Bowl”….the Citrus Bowl is now the “Capital One Bowl”. And all of the other bowls have a pre-fixed sponsored name attached to them. The Diamond Nuts San Francisco Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, FedEx Orange Bowl, Nokia Sugar Bowl, Toyota Gator Bowl, Wells Fargo Sun Bowl. Even the Rose Bowl gets backed by AT&T.

Also, schools can completely disregard history and jump ship to another conference when they feel like it. The conferences love it to….as they will soon consolidate all of the upper echelon schools into a five, maybe six, mega-conference format…..all but hogging up the BCS money, which is supplied by those sponsors I was talking about.

And, if a guy is good enough to play college football and minor league baseball…..he’s able to play for pay in one and still have eligibility in the other. Huh?? Then what is different with Mr. Bloom? The NCAA allows a salary to be paid to an athlete as a professional in another sport. John Elway did it….so did Drew Henson. College sports are filled with this kind of thing. But Bloom is being sponsored for a sport that [I’m guessing here] isn’t part of the Colorado athletics department.

Yeah….it is an endorsement. And, I’m sure, the NCAA is protecting itself from bogus “endorsements” that will come down the pike in they decide to let Bloom slide. What is to stop a company from “endorsing” a football player’s…..uh…..skateboarding or bike riding or whatever else they work out.

With far more pressing matters in the NCAA and it’s schools….and a lot of them involving Colorado’s program….why this?? Clean up what is going on at Baylor. At Missouri. At Colorado. Fix the BCS. Fix the mess Clarett made and get Mike Williams back to USC. Figure out how to keep athletes interested in the college experience. I guess, Jeremy Bloom’s skiing sponsor is just more important than the school providing prostitutes to its football recruits.

5 comments:

aeneashunter said...

Even better, let's finally address the root of the problem.  All of these rules exist because Division I schools -- and their boosters -- have no scruples about exploiting any loophole that allows them to get a recruiting advantage.  This forces the NCAA to be absurdly strict about amateurism, for fear of the slippery slope that would follow any exceptions.  The same thing came up a few years ago with the star running back for Northwestern who was an actor (I'm drawing a blank on his name, but you know who I mean).

It's just going to get worse if Clarett eventually wins his lawsuit.  If turning pro is an option for high school players (or college underclassmen), you know that eventually the NFL will succumb.

Sooner or later, we need to bite the bullet and let Division I schools pay their athletes.  I know that raises a lot of issues, but the current system is worse.  If you want an analogy, take Prohibition.  Making booze illegal caused a boom in organized crime and made bootleggers like Al Capone into popular figures.  The amateur rules in college sports create a culture of cheating and hypocrisy.  I'd prefer an honest semi-pro system to a sham amateur system.

sportzassassin said...

As you are very well aware....the NCAA system all around is a farce.  It is the Man Behind The Curtain.  This may as well be a 1890s factory, because this is how the system is set up.  Everyone gets rich off the product....except those producing it.

I've always had this idea that they should bite the bullet and make these sports majors.  Meaning, make football, basketball, etc, a major.   These guys can focus on their sports....just like any other student can focus on their chosen field.  And, they could earn a little spending money during their "internship" in sports.  I'm sorry...but if you are looking for pure amateurism....watch intermural sports.  Also, offer other courses like finance, accounting, business law, marketing, health and lifestyle management courses that could be included in the package.  It sure beats having them take "TV 101" to help them keep their grades up.

This would help with the scam of "student-athlete".  Sure, there are many student-athletes that are in college to get an education...and the means they got there was thru their athletic prowess.  But, these NCAA rules were designed, pretty much, for the kids who really only using college for sports.  It is supposed to protect the "dignity" of college sports....but the irony is that it just mucks up everyone's thinking that, under the table, there are foul things going on that we don't see.  Just like when we see a HR hit in baseball....we wonder if there are steriods contributing to that.  We wonder why these guys are going to school.  Let these guys have dealings with agents.  I know that the NCAA doesn't want these leeches anywhere near their sporting fields.....but as a business major, I am free to make contacts and in-roads with corporations that are looking for new talent.  So why can't athletes?  I mean, look what has happened to Mike Williams!!

I know....this is a very compl

aeneashunter said...

That's an interesting idea, but I like the fact that the universities are forced to give the players at least a rudimentary education.  Sure, it may be a farce, but only a handful of them will ever make a living off their sport.  They may not get a rigorous college education (as if the curriculum is really all that rigorous for anyone at some of the schools in question), but at least they get something.

As for the NCAA, we forget that it works quite well for the vast majority of sports.  Division I football and basketball are the exceptions.  Even in sports like baseball and hockey, it works just fine because those sports have minor leagues that take kids right out of high school.  You can make a case that we really, truly need the NCAA for sports like wrestling, golf, lacrosse, track and field, and women's sports in general.  At the college level, those sports are truly amateur.  The problem with the NCAA comes from the semipro sports.

sportzassassin said...

I somewhat agree that the NCAA does work for the "non-revenue" sports.....as they call it.  Football and basketball fund these sports and it is a great way for people with low chances at getting a college education the opportunity at getting one.  

One problem is that Title IX has had a reverse effect and instead of offering women more opportunities [which it does a little].....it instead cuts out men's sports in order to comply [especially schools with football programs].  You'd be amazed in the amount of Division I schools who don't own a baseball team [just look at the Big East].  

I, honestly, can see in the future...possibly 20-30 years or so.....that these schools in these newly forming "mega-conferences" will band together and leave the NCAA and operate under their own new system.  Especially if what is happening to basketball happens to their football programs....where the BIG money is made.    Sure, they won't escape Title IX....but they will have an opportunity to make deals with the NFL and NBA that may keep these guys around school a little longer

aeneashunter said...

I'd also wondered whether the top schools will one day leave the NCAA.  I think the answer is no.  The big schools need the NCAA format to protect them from antitrust scrutiny.  When a bunch of competitors band together and take actions that will exclude other competitors from the prime part of the market, that raises some serious issues under the Sherman Act.