Last week, the NCAA came under fire as an FBI investigation revealed several players throughout the country were paid by an NBA agent as a recruitment tool for college athletes. The allegations range from a $70 payment for a meal for a player at Michigan State to $100,000 being sent to a player in Arizona.
This again raises the specter of how or whether to compensate college athletes or if a paid-in-full education is enough payment in itself.
Numerous people have since called the NCAA corrupt. If that’s true, it joins an elite class of scandal-ridden institutions leading our favorite sports organizations throughout the world.
Are we kidding ourselves to think that sports institutions are not simply small governments left relatively unregulated, operating with very little recourse, to great financial gain for the executives at the top?
“The NCAA is claiming these guys are amateurs — the athletes, of course — and they’re also claiming they’re in charge and they can enforce these rules and they’re keeping the sport clean,” says Bacon. “What the FBI investigation blew the cover off is this is a complete fraud.”
“The question is will the FBI investigation and the results finally shame the NCAA into doing something to actually police the sport,” he continues, ”and/or is this one more crack in the foundation that leads us to another model?”
Bacon jokes that if he were to award medals for corruption in sports, “FIFA has got the gold.” He awards the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the silver medal and “the NCAA, for my money, is a strong bronze medalist.”
The gold medal for Worst Commissioner goes to whoever’s running FIFA these days, but a tight battle for silver: NHL’s Bettman, who gives you the classic Germany-OAR gold medal final, and the NCAA’s Mark Emmert, who gives you, well, the NCAA. Basically, stupid v. corrupt. Discuss!— John U. Bacon (@Johnubacon) February 23, 2018
“We have these…global government entities, essentially, that are being essentially unregulated, usually untaxed,” says Bacon. ”At some point what’s going to have to happen, I think, and no one wants to hear this, is regulating these sports like you would an industry. And that’s not happening.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.