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Thread: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    Saw this and liked it. Your thoughts?

    http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blo...-laborers.html

    I hate blog posts that begin this way, but I will do it anyway: Imagine that Wal-mart, Target and a hundred other major retailers all got together and agreed to an industry plan to hold down workers’s wages. Anyone involved with even rudimentary economics training would know that there would be enormous incentives for individual retailers to “cheat”, ie offer wages above the agreed to levels to try to get a particular advantage hiring the best employees. So imagine that the cartel actually forms an enforcement body, that goes around the country levying fines and punishments against any individual participant who breaks ranks and tries to share some of the largess with their workers.

    Now imagine the NY Times rooting the enforcement body on, cheering it when it adopts a new get-tough stance on organizations that pay its workers too much. Hard to imagine, but that is exactly the case in this article, where the Times writes about the NCAA’s new efforts to get tough on what it calls “recruiting violations” but in any other industry would be called “trying to pay the workers more than the cartel allows.”

    NCAA division I sports are made up of a 100+ mostly public institutions that make a fortune off of their athletic programs, particularly men’s football and basketball. Large institutions like the University of Texas or Ohio State reap tens of millions each year in ticket sales, TV deals, merchandising sales, and Bowl/tournament winnings. One of the reasons this is so profitable is that they basically pay the key workers who generate this income close to zero. Sure, they give them a scholarship, but what is the marginal cost to, say, the University of Texas for providing a few hundred free educations on top of their 40,000 paid customers? This is roughly equivalent to McDonald’s paying its employees nothing more than a couple of happy meals each day.

    While many of these university’s athletes will make nothing after college playing sports, the ones involved in these “violations” are typically athletes who are offered millions, even tens of millions of dollars the moment they leave college. In effect, these colleges are getting tens of millions of dollars of labor virtually for free, and so the incentives to cheat on their cartel deal are huge, which is why the cartel enforcers have to be so aggressive in stopping under-the-table payments to the grossly underpaid workers.

    It is an ugly process, and one wonders why so many folks support it when they would be appalled at such practices in any other industry.
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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    I don't have an answer, but I'm not sure the correlations between the NCAA and McDonalds are really legit.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    Ok, what would be a legit correlation?

    Remember, that specific comparison is that it doesn't cost the schools anything to get a scholarship, not that the NCAA and McDonalds are necessarily working from the same business model.
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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    Mens football and basketball make a fortune, and subsidize 20 other money-losing sports. Overall, I'm not sure the school makes much money off of athletics as a whole.

    Paying the basketball and football players could thus mean you can cancel volleyball, field hockey, wrestling, swimming, soccer, lacrosse, baseball, tennis, golf, hockey, softball, rowing, cheerleading, etc.

    or you pay them ALL and raise the tuition and (for public schools) sock the taxpayers.

    A free education is fine compensation
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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem View Post
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    Ok, what would be a legit correlation?

    Remember, that specific comparison is that it doesn't cost the schools anything to get a scholarship, not that the NCAA and McDonalds are necessarily working from the same business model.
    I don't have a comparison. I think that this is a situation that is unique in its own way.

    I don't like comparing giving an athlete a free education to paying a McDonalds employee in happy meals...it undermines the value of the education that they are receiving...

  6. #6

    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    I don't suppose zero is an accurate estimate of the value of compensation given to college players. On top of the degree, players get housing, a stipend and health care worth many thousands.

    But the question Anthem poses is a valid one. The analogy is near enough to deserve consideration. College athletes do generate income that they don't share it. But hardly anybody gets paid what he is worth. Some get a lot more and some a lot less.

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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    I think we ought to start paying High school athletes as well then. Have you seen some of the the HS fields in the south, and even some in OH? They have field turf, big screen TVs, workout rooms that look like NFL training facilities, sponsorships from UnderArmor and other sport clothing brands, jumbotrons.

    Hell, even my 1A school has a inflatable bear head tunnel that our basketball team purchased, and it was almost 10grand.
    http://www.all-starinflatables.com/h...d=6&height=800

    Looked similiar to those. Inbetween my Soph/Jr year, we also were looking into buying a hottub, and putting it in our lockerroom, but decided against it because the school board told us we would have to make it available to all teams.

    Here recently they moved the varsity basketball lockerrom, out of the regular one, and made one with NBA looking lockers (like the wooden stalls they have with rolling leather chairs etc.), a projection TV to watch game film, and a 55inch big screen just to have, Our gym only holds 2250 people, and there were times when there was standing room only all the way around the place, and some people were even sitting on the balcony floor. I bet there was no shortage of 3,000 people. (hell one county tournament we played in, in a much smaller gym, there were people scalping tickets to the boys game after the girls final game was over. Tix were going for well over $10, when they were regular $7.)

    And don't even get me started on AAU basketball. Some teams travel in tour buses that are completely loaded, get brand new uniforms every year, brand new shoes a couple times a summer, paid hotels, paid entry fees to tournaments, plane tickets, the list goes on and on.


    I'm not saying everything is fine. The system definately needs to change, but paying athletes isn't the solution.

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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    I agree that free board and education is enough compensation. If one was really worried about exploiting the players, the seasons would be shortened and practice time would be cut drastically. If their compensation is a free education, then give them enough time for that education to happen. Make them hit a weekly quota of lab/library hours, whatever.
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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    In a report that admittedly may be somewhat suspect in that it was sponsored by the NCAA, among the 119 Universities playing major college football (Football Bowl Subdivision schools), only 25 schools turned a profit for the atletic department as a whole in 2007-2008.

    When broken down by sport, FBS football teams recorded a median net profit of $1.95 million. Men's basketball at the same schools produced a median profit of $518,000. No other sport, men or women's, operated in the black.

    http://www.allbusiness.com/education...3268535-1.html
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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    Quote Originally Posted by SoupIsGood View Post
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    I agree that free board and education is enough compensation. If one was really worried about exploiting the players, the seasons would be shortened and practice time would be cut drastically. If their compensation is a free education, then give them enough time for that education to happen. Make them hit a weekly quota of lab/library hours, whatever.
    FWIW, all the kids who lived on my hall who were athletes had to attend study hall (coach mandated it for crew)

    I think it was required X hours per week for freshmen, and then you were put back on mandatory study hall if your GPA fell below 2.5

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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    SoupISGood, the NCAA strictly limits when players can work out, when and how long they can use the football facilities, and, most stringently, when coaches can be around. Teams are not allowed to require players participate in more than 4 hours of practice or training per day, or (I think) 20 hours per week, even when school is not in session. Recall the Michigan football coach who took heat when a paper reported his practice exceeded those limits?

    The season is long and they do travel a lot, but practice time is less for many college athletes than it was in high school.

    story on the UM "practicing too much" NCAA violations: http://smartfootball.com/grab-bag/mi...-have-in-store
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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    I would bet every school in the nation, for every program, goes over their scheduled times. Team breakfasts/dinners don't count because they aren't "mandatory" but they are only unmandatory, by name. You gotta be there, or else.

    During BSU's undefeated streak last year, they started practicing at Lucas Oil, because we don't have indoor facilities on campus. The bus ride to and from Indy would have counted against their time, so the bus ride wasn't "mandatory" but all the players knew there was no hitching your own ride.

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    Default Re: Exploiting the laborers (an NCAA thread)

    I knew there were some kind of limits in place. I just think the question is, Is it enough? I'm definitely not the one to answer it, but I do think that if we're worried about exploiting them, instead of paying them we should make sure their athletic activity isn't making a sham of their education.
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