17 September 2011

College Football Saturday

Something for you to read during commercial breaks and halftime:
The Atlantic | Taylor Branch | The Shame of College Sports

A litany of scandals in recent years have made the corruption of college sports constant front-page news. We profess outrage each time we learn that yet another student-athlete has been taking money under the table. But the real scandal is the very structure of college sports, wherein student-athletes generate billions of dollars for universities and private companies while earning nothing for themselves. Here, a leading civil-rights historian makes the case for paying college athletes—and reveals how a spate of lawsuits working their way through the courts could destroy the NCAA.
I don't think I'm going to like the perspective of a civil-rights historian framing this with a lens of oppression, but it looks like it has good information based on the excerpt I saw.

I think my feelings about the NCAA are about the same ones I have about the United States. I love my country, and hate my government; I love college athletics, and hate the NCAA.

Two highlights from that excerpt:
Amazingly in retrospect, most colleges and marketing experts considered the advent of television a dire threat to sports [in 1951]. Studies found that broadcasts reduced live attendance, and therefore gate receipts, because some customers preferred to watch at home for free. Nobody could yet imagine the revenue bonanza that television represented.
Just keep that in mind when people tell you the internet is going to destroy whatever business they have interests in. Or when anyone complains about any impending economic dynamism, for that matter.
With clunky new TV sets proliferating, the 1951 NCAA convention voted 161–7 to outlaw televised games except for a specific few licensed by the NCAA staff. All but two schools quickly complied. The University of Pennsylvania and Notre Dame protested the order to break contracts for home-game television broadcasts, claiming the right to make their own decisions.
How did I get through four years of Notre Dame without ever hearing of this? I must have had several hundred conversations about ND football TV contracts, and as many more about the NCAA generally. I want to know more about this.

It is now time to go turn on College GameDay.  G'Irish.

~ ~ ~

Via Skip Sauer. Which actually reminds me, my friend Skipper (different guy completely) pointed out a couple of days ago that the entirety of Rudy is available on YouTube now. If the ND/MSU game gets too depressing I may have to watch that instead. Or I could finish reading "Near-Saddle-Node Bifurcation Behavior as Dynamics in Working Memory for Goal-Directed Behavior." Both are good options

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