Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's All About the Benjamins

One of the big topics of discussion in the coming weeks will be the likely expansion of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Vito Forlenza thinks that if the NCAA wants to be so greedy, then they need to pay the players who are making them all of this money. I think he's a ginormous fucktard, but that may just be me.

NCAA Needs to Show Players the Money

Let's talk about money.

Personally I’d prefer to talk about sex, but since this is your article and you brought it up, we can talk about money.

After all, it's the only thing NCAA officials can think about. Well, they're not exactly putting it that way. They're framing it as expansion of the NCAA tournament.

The NCAA is going to give many reasons for desiring to expand the Men’s tournament to 96 teams. Money is obviously the biggest and I have not really heard anyone shy away from that fact.

But don't be fooled. The NCAA is threatening to add 32 teams to the Big Dance because it thinks it can make more money. That's it and nothing more. Money is not the underlying factor that has the NCAA mulling expansion. It's the only factor.

First of all, fucktard, they are threatening to add 31 teams. Let me try and explain this so your small brain can comprehend this without exploding. If there are currently 65 teams that make the tournament each year and you want to expand to 96 teams, 96 minus 65 equals 31. I have not seen anything anywhere stating the NCAA wants to expand to 97 teams. You’ve pretty much lost all integrity by your little oversight. Plus, shitcan the editor, if there is one, who did not catch this before it was released.

You didn't really think it was about giving more kids the opportunity to experience the thrill of the tournament, did you?

No. I know several coaches that would like to make the tournament every year to give them some additional job security. If a coach does not make the tournament every so many years, they are generally shown the door. Adding 31 teams gives coaches some additional chances every year.

It's all about money. So let's talk about money. And let's finally get serious about giving players their fair share of the mountains of cash the NCAA rakes in.

I would say money is probably 80-90% of the reason. The other 10% I would attribute to the coaches wanting a better chance of making the tournament and the kids having the opportunity as well.

The NCAA can opt out of its current 11-year, $6 billion TV deal with CBS after the Final Four and begin shopping around the tournament broadcast rights this summer. It expects suitors to wage a fierce and expensive battle over this lucrative piece of Americana. The negotiations could potentially lead to unconventional bids and partnerships among network and cable sports broadcasters.

The NCAA has already requested proposals from the networks in regards to the new bidding process should the NCAA opt-out of the current contract. Adding another week, an additional 16 games to the current format, could result in a few billion extra dollars. Whether or not CBS can maintain its stranglehold on the tournament will be hard to tell.

Despite making a ton of money with the current format, the NCAA wants more. And apparently, the yet-to-be-determined sum from a new TV contract is not enough to satisfy its greedy appetite. Before heading to the negotiating table, the NCAA is prepping to sweeten the deal by expanding the field to a whopping 96 teams.

Yep. Is that necessarily wrong? I can’t really say no to that. While I have to say I enjoy the current format and was definitely against it when talk of the expansion began, I can definitely see good and bad points to expansion (hopefully another entry on that topic will be coming soon!).

Disgusting, I know. But not only because it's going to ruin the country's best sporting event.

You know, people said the same things when the NCAA expanded the tournament to include 64 teams in the 80’s. While I do not enjoy the fact that the Selection Committee will no doubt add a tenth Big East team to the tournament over a more deserving second or third mid-major conference team, adding another round of 16 games between teams of more equal caliber could lead to some exciting games. Change is not always bad, Vito.

What frustrates me even more is the NCAA's hypocritical, blatant and reckless exploitation of the players. The current set-up is bad enough. Still, it wants to squeeze even more cash out of the cash-strapped kids.

I hate that fucking analogy. I’m not sure what portion of basketball players are “cash-strapped”, but you will not squeeze more cash from the players. If you are going to gripe about how the NCAA exploits basketball players, then you better be griping about how they exploit the football players as well. I have not seen anything regarding them in here yet.

So go ahead, NCAA. Expand your tournament. Grab your billions of dollars. But pay your players.

They are paid you fucktard. They get an education in exchange for reaping their college some major bucks to fund the rest of the athletics at their school. They get free room and board. If you want to bitch about players needing cash, then bash the NCAA for allowing players to have more ability to work while in school. If you are going to pay basketball players, then how can you not pay the soccer players or hockey players or the underwater basket weavers? Yes, the basketball and football programs bring in the monies to help fund all of the other programs. But how can you can you justify paying only some of the sporting teams?

A radical change to college sports' highest-profile event requires a radical change to the overall structure. Stop the charade and float some cash to the kids.

Do you think Shaq got rich in Orlando? No, he got rich in

Because if you expand this tournament and make these kids play half an NBA season, all this talk about getting an education, upholding the integrity of the intercollegiate athletics and playing for the glory of Dear Old State will morph into lip service. And make no mistake, we're poking at that threshold now. One-and-done players, academic scandals and kickbacks to high school coaches already cloud college basketball's culture.

You are adding one game to the current tournament format. ONE FUCKING GAME, DICKHEAD!

One-and-done players are not the NCAA’s fault. I don’t think the NCAA went to the NBA and asked them to install the one year of college rule in order to get more NBA caliber players to go to college instead of straight to the NBA. The NCAA does gain some benefits from these players, but they tend to harm the schools more unless they can make it to the Final Four or win it all.

Academic scandals and kickbacks have been present for decades in all sports so don’t try and blame those on a single sport’s tournament. Douchebag!

Now the NCAA wants to expand the tournament, add another week to the season and pull these kids out of even more classes? Unless it's all a ruse, how can the NCAA approve this proposal and pretend to uphold its core values? How can it believe it's still looking out for the best interests of the kids? And - oh, don't get me started -- how can it extend the basketball season, but claim a football playoff is impossible because the players will miss too much class time?

One, adding a football playoff would require adding more than one week to the football season. Two, you are only modifying the existing basketball tournament versus modifying the current football bowl structure. The BCS conferences, bowls and bowl sponsors do not want that cash cow to go away and no one has come up with a good solution to satisfy everyone…yet. Class time might be their excuse, but this is definitely one where the money going to the BCS conferences is dictating the stance against a football playoff.

The only way the NCAA can even think about expanding the tournament while maintaining a sliver of dignity and curtailing corruption is by paying the players. I'm not suggesting millions of dollars. I'm advocating a flat stipend allocated across the board -- in both men's basketball and football.

OK, now you finally mention football.

Of the money that currently goes to the conferences and teams, I’m sure that there is not enough there to pay players and paying for the other sports at schools. At most schools, those monies do not even cover the cost of the other sports as it is! Now you think they should pay the players too?

Some of the money schools make from men's basketball and football supports the non-revenue sports like soccer, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, swimming and gymnastics. If the big-revenue sports are able to subsidize their smaller-revenue brethren, that’s a great use of the money. But the actual people responsible for making all that money - players - must benefit from it, too.

See my response above.

To make it happen, an independent body needs to be brought in to study all the different revenue streams from men's basketball and football - from TV rights and gate receipts to sponsorships and jersey sales. Then, it would determine a fair athletic grant that changes on a yearly basis to keep up with the money the NCAA, conferences and schools are taking in.

If there are 344 NCAA Division I teams that are eligible for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and 12 players per team, that works out to be 4,128 players. How much money are you proposing? $500 per month? At $500 per month for 9 months per year (assumes they do not get paid during the summer months) that would equal $18,576,000 per year. Granted, that is a drop in the bucket of the billions the NCAA receives from CBS. But what about football? Granted, there are only 119 Division I BCS schools, but if the average team has 60 players, that is another $32 million. Over 10 years you are talking over $500 million dollars. I don’t think the NCAA is willing to part with that much to pay players that are already receiving scholarships plus room and board.

Please, please, please don't tell me that college athletes are getting enough from a free education and room and board. That doesn't mean a thing if their parents back home can't pay the rent. That need inevitably leads to cheating, whether in the form of side deals with agents, extra benefits from boosters, stuffed envelopes from well-off alums or some combination of all three. When the kids aren't seeing a penny of the millions they know they're generating, it's hard to fault them for accepting something under the table.

So, do you expect an athlete will take the $500 a month stipend and sent it to his parents so they can make their rent? Get real.

Dude, this is not the 80’s where the stuffed envelopes, free cars and police looked the other way. Universities and coaches have staff that enforce that this does not happen, because when they get caught, it will not only cost them their jobs, it affects the players, the university and the conference. Granted, it still does happen but most of these coaches have probably already left before the shit hits the fan.

These kids are already getting between $5,000 and $100,000 in free tuition per year plus a place to stay and free food. Just to play basketball or football. Something they obvious love to do. Some in the hopes to make it to the pros, others just for the love of the game. For every student athlete that come from a poor family scrapping to get by, how many come from a Carmel or a Cathedral-type school?

If you think the payola is at a high point now, just wait until the NCAA arms all the agents, boosters and alumni with new ammunition of an expanded tournament. It'll be that much easier to convince these kids that everyone in the Ivory Tower is taking advantage of them.

Again…ONE FUCKING ROUND OF GAMES IS NOT GOING TO MAKE THAT BIG OF A FUCKING DIFFERENCE TO THE PLAYERS!!!!!!!!!! The NCAA will get more revenue and that revenue makes it to the conferences and schools. I’d rather a school have the ability to offer lacrosse or underwater basket weaving than pay student athletes.

The NCAA and its member conferences and schools have gotten away with hoarding all the money for far too long, while the players have been left with empty pockets. It's time to pay up.

Go crawl back into your little hole, Vito. Like it or not, change is going to happen. If not this year, the seed has been planted and we’re all going along for the ride, like it or not.

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