Tuesday, November 19, 2002

As expected, the NCAA upheld the ban on post-season play for CAL, but set aside the scholarship limitations imposed on the program before the season. As an alum of the great school, the jewel in the nation's public university crown, I won't say that I will lose a minute of sleep over this, and frankly believe that the Bears could have easily been slapped harder than they were. One of the subjects I feel very strongly about is that the NCAA's priorities have always been warped when it comes to investigating schools: more focus is placed on malum prohibitum transgressions (ie., players getting money under the table) than malum per se violations (ie., academic fraud). While many college athletes receive an "education" in name only, directly or indirectly subsidized by the taxpayers, the NCAA remains obsessed with enforcing arcane regulations prohibiting the payment of athletes, rules that have absolutely no moral basis supporting them, and which therefore cause the athletes to cynically view the entire system as a racket. In effect, it is as if police detectives were to spend more time investigating traffic violations than violent felonies.

Moreover, since most athletes in big-time collegiate sports are African-American, while most of the coaches, administrators, boosters, and sportswriters who profit from the system are white, they get taught a very harsh lesson in power relations as well (btw, the fact that some student-athletes receive athletic scholarships has nothing to do with the issue of whether athletes should be paid, unless one believes that no other student who receives financial aid or a scholarship should be allowed to accept a paycheck). The media, now in an uproar about money CWeb received a decade ago at Michigan, speak of how the Wolverines have tainted the program, as if the payment of college athletes were some sort of unholy crime against humanity. In fact, that Webber may have perjured himself before a grand jury investigating criminal conduct by his sugar daddy seems less important than the fact that he drove a nice car while he was an "undergrad" at the school. While Sports Illustrated cheers the airbrushing of the Fab-5 out of the history book like they were Stalin-era thought criminals, the same magazine cheers the return of Bob Huggins to the sideline, the same coach who has led a team that has had less than a handful of its players graduate during his tenure.


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