Last week, the NCAA issued a statement in support of federal regulation on sports betting. In the wake of the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the organization wants to make sure that its events maintain their integrity.
For the NCAA to say the word “integrity” is to taint the word irrevocably. There may be no organization on the planet more blatantly resolved to acting unfairly and shamefully.
The most obvious example of this hypocrisy is in its Byzantine and Machiavellian rule structure for athletes to earn money. This Associated Press article details numerous situations in which the NCAA has fought for its right to pay its athletes nothing more than the cost of their schooling.
Sometimes, it doesn’t even want to pay that much. Numerous players have had to drag the organization into court just to cover costs of attendance at member universities and colleges. Only through decisions in 2008 and 2015 can athletes be sure they won’t take a loss on their time at school.
This stance comes even though the NCAA reported revenues of $1.08 billion last year. Bear in mind – this is purportedly a nonprofit organization, but even after disbursals to member universities and athletic programs, the NCAA kept over $100 million of those revenues and maintained assets nearing $400 million.
Much of that revenue comes from licensing and trademarking associated with NCAA events. Those products include the use of likenesses of student-athletes.
The athletes are never paid. Ever.
The NCAA uses their names and personae in perpetuity and expects never to shell out a dime for the privilege. In fact, it fights for that very right, under the guise of ensuring the integrity of amateurism.
Amateurism is the deceit at the heart of the NCAA
This farcical notion of amateurism is the driving force behind any of the NCAA’s arguments. As long as the organization can appeal to older judges’ and policymakers’ nostalgia about athletes playing for the love of the game and the purity of their sports, it can continue to rake in billions of dollars each year.
That argument worked to grind Ed O’Bannon’s antitrust suit to a halt. It also guides the NCAA on the recent overturn of PASPA.
The NCAA wants federal regulation of sports betting. Failing that, the NCAA would want an integrity fee and data control.
Of course it does. A regulatory scheme would reinforce its control and position, and integrity fees/data control would yield practical control over the entire sports betting industry.
Truthfully, the NCAA wants the ability to declare which of its events, if any, will accept wagering. You can bet (no pun intended) that the only allowed bookmakers would have given a piece of the pie to NCAA management.
Like a despot or a Mafia capo, the NCAA always demands tribute from its subjects. It’s not going to let something like a measly Supreme Court loss stand in its way.
After all, its athletes — the ones who do the real work — are amateurs and children. The NCAA must stand strong to protect students from the evils of money and greed.
It’s noble work they’re doing.