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Former Miami Hurricane Adam Bates on the sham of amatuerism

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Double Down, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Can't link this because it's from his Facebook page, but this pretty much nails it as far as I'm concerned. I really can't wait to see the whole thing come crashing down.

    There is an awful lot of righteous indignation floating around college football lately. A man spending the next 20 years of his life in federal prison for fleecing investors out of more than $900 million says he gave some money and benefits to some Miami Hurricanes over the last 10 years. I’m not interested in talking about what did or didn’t happen. I’m not interested in confirming or denying the spiteful ramblings of an insecure snitch with an inferiority complex. I’m interested in talking about hypocrisy.

    I want to talk about the hypocrisy of the NCAA and, by extension, its constituent school administrations; the very people that have enriched themselves so shamelessly on the backs of the kids they’re soon to righteously delight in punishing.

    First, a little background: I had it easy at the University of Miami, and it often felt like it was too much to bear. I had an easier time in class than most of my teammates, and far less was expected of me on the football field. I went to school on academic money and I played football because I wanted to and because I had played my whole life, not because it was the only way for me to get through school or make a better life for myself and my family. I can’t speak about what it’s like to be a high profile recruit, an All-American, or a future NFL star and the pressures such statuses entail. But I can tell you this: college football is a grind.

    The NCAA says players put in twenty hours a week. Anybody who has spent any time around a college program knows that sixty is a better number. Then add twelve to fifteen hours a week of class on top of that. Seventy-five hours a week, in exchange for a stipend mathematically designed to make your ends almost meet.

    The president of the NCAA makes more than $1 million a year. Any head coach worth his salt is making two or three times that. Talking heads at ESPN/ABC/CBS and the presidents of most major institutions join them in the seven digit salary club.

    That’s what this is really about, and people have to understand that. Why is it a problem for AJ Green to sell his jersey when the NCAA sells 22 variations of the very same jersey (http://sportsillustr...sion/index.html)? Why can’t Terrelle Pryor get some free ink from a fan? Why don’t people react the same way to that as they do to hearing that Peyton Manning is selling phones for Sprint or that Tiger Woods gets paid $100m to wear Nike gear? What’s the difference?

    The difference, as far as I can tell, is that the NCAA has done a wonderful job duping people into believing this multi-billion dollar a year industry is pursued for the sake of amateurism. It’s a total sham. The coaches aren’t amateurs, the administrators aren’t amateurs, the corporate sponsors and media companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the backs of these players aren’t amateurs. The only "amateurs” involved are the guys doing all the work. Pretty nice racket if you can get it.

    The NCAA and ESPN are going to be telling you that some great kids are scumbags because they allegedly broke rules designed to keep them poor and implemented by people making money hand over fist. An ESPN shill in a $5,000 suit is going to ask you to morally condemn the kids who provide the framework for said shill to make enough money to afford that suit because those kids might have taken some free food and drinks. They're going to be called "cheaters" despite the obvious fact that boat trips don't make you run any faster or hit any harder.

    Oklahoma gives Bob Stoops $3 million a year and nobody blinks. A car dealership in Norman gives Rhett Bomar a couple hundred bucks and everyone wets themselves. Urban Meyer sat on TV this very day, making approximately $1,500 an hour to sit there and flap his lips, and was asked to judge a bunch of 20 year old kids for allegedly accepting free food and drinks and party invites.

    Is that immense delusion intentional or do people actually not realize the hypocrisy they perpetuate?

    What’s that you say? The rules are the rules? I call bullshit. When the rules are propagated by the very same people they’re designed to benefit, I say the rules must be independently justifiable. What is the justification for saying that AJ Green can’t sell his jersey? That he won’t be an “amateur” anymore? Doesn’t the scholarship itself render him no longer an amateur by any objective definition? Doesn’t the fact that Georgia spent hundreds of millions of dollars advertising itself to AJ Green render him no longer an amateur? Doesn’t he stop being an amateur when UGA promises him that his career at Georgia will net him NFL millions? Doesn’t the fact that millions of dollars change hands thanks to the service he provides make him not an amateur?

    Is it because athletes should be treated like other students, lest they not appreciate the “college experience?” Other kids get to sell their belongings, don’t they? They get to go to parties and drink and throw themselves at women, don’t they? They get to have jobs and earn their worth, don’t they? And other kids don't spend sixty hours a week having their bodies broken or their spring mornings running themselves to death in the dew in the dark.

    It’s nonsense. Unmitigated, indefensible nonsense. The players are “amateurs” for the simple reason that they’re cheaper to employ that way. What is bad about giving a poor kid some money to spend? What is wrong with showing your appreciation for the service someone provides by giving them some benefit of their own? I’m supposed to believe it’s wrong because the NCAA says it is?

    These players are worth far more than a free trip to the strip club and a trip around the bay on a yacht. AJ Green is worth more to the NCAA and the University of Georgia than the cost of his jersey, and Terrelle Pryor is worth more than the value of a tattoo.

    I don’t know much about players taking “illegal benefits,” and if I did I wouldn’t be snitching about it like a lowlife, but I can tell you this: I hope to the bottom of my soul that every player in America is on the take, because they’re getting shafted. The powers that be make too much money this way to ever change, and the rest of the country seems far too committed to delusions, institutional partisanship, and jealousy to see their own glass houses, so take what you can get while you can get it, youngbloods. You earned it.

  2. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    He had me until "snitching about it like a lowlife."

    I know that it is a hip hop thing but it is stupid.

    If people don't know the scope of the problem, then it will never get fixed.

    The best thing that could happen is every former player who got an "illegal" benefit, say so.

    Tom Brady talking about hundred dollar handshakes and other things will resonate more than Devin Hester getting a trip on a yacht.

    Maybe it is late or maybe it is early or maybe it is the Mexican food I had for dinner haunting my dreams but my lack of sleep feeling is that no one gives a shit because it has mostly been black players getting the benefits.
  3. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    @Jay: What's the "problem," exactly, that needs to get "fixed?"

    Lack of competitive balance? Moral issues?

    The fact that college sports are full of people who are in it only for themselves 1/shouldn't come to anybody as any great shock or surprise and 2/matters really very little in the overall scheme of things. It's not like Nevin Shapiro bought UM a national championship.

    I thought Bates's piece was eloquent not only in calling out the NCAA officials and coaches who are being enriched by the enterprise, but also the incredible sanctimony of the media figures who are ascending into stratospheric tax brackets "lamenting" the very system that is filling their wallets.

    And I don't think this is a racial thing at all, Brian Bosworth. The benefits go to the players who deliver on the field, regardless of race.

    Bates is right. The rules are stupid. Stop pretending college sports is some sort of amateur extracurricular activity like the French Club and just call it what it is -- minor league athletics. And let the free market take it from there.
  4. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    If Jay-Z walked up to a student on scholarship in the music department and offered her a steak dinner to possibly work for his music company, that would be OK, right?

    Fighting boosters is like fighting the war on drugs. There is too much money involved to even think about eliminating them entirely.

    And does anyone really think the NCAA is going to vote to get rid of itself? Does anyone really think all these ADs and college presidents are going to get rid of possible jobs when they retire from education?

    Make athletes employees of the university, with full free tution as an option for life once their eligibility expires, and go from there.

    For 95% of college athletes, everything will stay the same; free room, tution and board while they play. Football and basketball could get $1,000 or $2,000 a month and whatever rewards they can garner from being good at what they do.
  5. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    The difference, as far as I can tell, is that the NCAA has done a wonderful job duping people into believing this multi-billion dollar a year industry is pursued for the sake of amateurism. It’s a total sham. The coaches aren’t amateurs, the administrators aren’t amateurs, the corporate sponsors and media companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the backs of these players aren’t amateurs. The only "amateurs” involved are the guys doing all the work.

    Adam Bates really does a wonderful job of articulating the issue. What does he do these days?
  6. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member


    He is an aspiring republican who will be working for a Koch Industries shell propaganda institute (Cato Institute).
  7. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That's a shame. He could be doing something good with his life.

    Great opinion piece.
  8. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    Very nice. Now if only the fans and powers that be do the right thing....Crickets.....
  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    "Amateurism" is a crock, always has been, and was mainly concocted by the aristocratic class of European society in the late 19th century to make sure the people competing in world-class athletic competition were "men of leisure" who neither wanted or needed to profit from their athletic skills.

    It was imported into American college sports when the people running the sports noticed:

    1) People would pay money to watch college athletes perform;

    2) Why give any to the athletes when you can keep it all yourself in the guise of "moral purity"?
  10. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Excellent column..

    The only way fans will ever give a shit will be if the athletes band together and start complaining en masse as a group. Maybe a team starts to boycott a game or something like that.

    The athletes are very aware of what's been going on and frankly, they don't care about the rules anymore. They see everyone else getting rich, while they have to scrape together their couch change to buy themselves a beer. When someone comes along and offers to buy it for them, they sure as hell aren't refusing. And why should they? They'll make their apologies when they're caught, but they're not really sorry.

    If anything, right now, I'd say big-time college athletics is Major League Baseball players, circa 1967. They know they're getting screwed and they're starting to fight back. They're not totally organized together, and that may be a difficult thing to do due to the number of athletes. But they're going to get pissed off enought to eventually overturn the system.

    If I'm the NCAA, I find a way to work with them quickly, before they get overrun.
  11. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I'm still waiting for the boycott. There have been rumors in the past, but I'd just love to see the NCAA foofs fall all over themselves when the players refuse to take the floor for the Final Four.
  12. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    Its a rationalization, but Cam Newton cheated, but really who are the guys getting paid cheating anyways? Who's being protected? Is there really a "level playing field" if no one gets paid? Look at the difference between the facilities offered at say OSU or Oregon to Portland State. Is that level? What about the disparity in coaching and recruiting resources?

    Being on PEDs is one thing, this is not the same.

    College athletics, namely big time D-1 football and basketball, needs to solve this hypocrisy. I'd love to see the big time athletes generating this revenue stream find an alternative so that those currently benefiting from this lavish trough get stuck with the consequences.
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