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Can the NCAA Cartel Survive?

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I really like the athletic director who comes on at 1:20 of yesterday’s SNL skit:

I don’t want to be unduly optimistic — if American history has taught us anything, it’s that grossly exploitative institutions can go on pretty much forever. But there does, at least, seem to be an increasing number of people who aren’t willing to go along with the scam. I hope that Taylor Branch’s article won’t be in vain.

On a related note, in many respects I appreciate Selena Roberts’s expose of Auburn. But, still, I wish that muckrackers would make careful distinctions between real scandals (academic fraud) and “scandals” that involve penny-ante violations of utterly indefensible rules (oh noes players who risk their bodies to generate massive amounts of revenues for the university get a few hundred bucks for their labor!). Rules are rules and I’m not saying that secret payments aren’t a story, but still stories that can be read to imply that the problem with the NCAA isn’t the gross exploitation but the fact that the exploitation has some minor exceptions can be part of the problem. I hope Roberts will return to ask questions about why Newton should be prohibited from getting fairly compensated in the first place.

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