Agree w/the premise, vehemently disagree w/the conclusion.
In reply to: Wetzel is becoming my favorite sportswriter posted by tenn_subway
I don't disagree that the current arrangement is a farce. Almost everyone is cheating, most of the kids couldn't give a shit about the educational mission of the schools, most of the schools couldn't give a shit about the kids, and the organization charged with regulating the whole thing is feckless, complicit and weak (and lily-white and small-dicked, but that's besides the point).
But he reproduces many of the same trite, bullshit misunderstandings that I see elsewhere, and his conclusions are fucked.
First, the misunderstandings:
(1) Colleges don't maintain the status quo because of any misplaced, paternalistic belief in "amateurism". It's because students aren't fucking employees. And making them employees would be opening up a can of worms that most mouthbreathing, favorite-team-jersey-wearing college football "fans" haven't remotely considered.
(2) College football isn't a true economic "market". And the players themselves aren't marketing themselves in a true free-market environment. First of all, NO competitive team sport is a true market, since competition is the ultimate end, rather than the means to an end, which is why even ostensibly professional sports have things like the draft, revenue sharing, salary caps, roster limits, and so on. And college football deals with the additional issue of team identification that leads idiotic, nutless, hillbilly, redneck cocksuckers to value elite players at far beyond their market value. A lot of these douchebags are willing to spend money far beyond any expected value to themselves (or even their school) just for the enjoyment of seeing their team win. When boosters pay players, it has nothing to do with any understanding of value, it's for "access" to the program, facetime with the coach, bragging rights at the golf course, and the homoerotic excitement of taut loins.
(3) The article does carefully mention that only "top college players are more valuable than what their schools offer as compensation", but fails to address the implications of most players not remotely being worth the $100,000 to $250,000 that their schools spend on them during their careers. Boosters might still pay them, if that's all they have access to, since being able to score your school a high 3-star recruit is better than scoring no recruit at all, but it doesn't mean that player is actually "worth" that much money in an economic sense. For every Johnny Manziel, there's the back-up CB, who doesn't earn his school shit from a marketing perspective. Any other player who put on the same jersey would have the same economic result.
(4) He has no understanding of what the competency of a University is. You could spend a long time debating what the true purpose of an academic institution is, but it sure as Hell isn't running a professional sports franchise. As soon as you turn college football professional, you remove the entire need for a University to compete. What reason would a University have to employ a pro football team on campus? A law firm might as well start raising and selling fucking chickens.
Second, his conclusion. He observes that no one gives a shit about the rules, and concludes that it's the rules' fault. Now, some of them are pedantic and stupid, but the overarching spirit is to preserve the status of the student-athlete and allow smaller schools (almost all of which DON'T make money on their teams) to compete.
The problem here isn't amateurism. The problem is that many college football players have no place being amateurs to begin with. And the culprit is the completely arbitrary rule against turning professional until after your third year at University. Where did they get that number from, anyway? The sky? Their well-laid asses?
Honestly, if you need the money that much, and you aren't interested in an education, you should be playing minor-league pro football. You shouldn't be fucking around in classes you despise, taking clandestine handouts from redneck assholes that have too much disposable cash from the 3 tire dealerships they own, and representing a school you couldn't give a fuck about.