The Real Scandal In The NCAA

Yahoo News broke the story on February 23:

Exclusive: Federal documents detail sweeping potential NCAA violations involving high-profile players, schools

It's a tale of pervasive violations of strict NCAA rules by some (maybe most) of the top college basketball programs in the country.  The FBI is deep into an investigation.  They're uncovering  "impermissible benefits" and "preferential treatment" for top recruits.  The allegations could "cast a pall" over the whole upcoming NCAA tournament!

The documents [that have been uncovered] tie some of the biggest names and programs in the sport to activity that appears to violate the NCAA’s amateurism rules. This could end up casting a pall over the NCAA tournament because of eligibility issues. There’s potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families of players at Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC, Alabama and a host of other schools. The documents link some of the sport’s biggest current stars – Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Alabama’s Collin Sexton and Duke’s Wendell Carter – to specific potential extra benefits for either the athletes or their family members. The amounts tied to players in the case range from basic meals to tens of thousands of dollars.

Are you shocked and horrified?  I am too, but probably for a different reason.  

These are the days when academia is consumed by its obsession with "diversity" and "equity," with the grave injustices of white "oppression" and "income inequality."  Angry protests sweep campuses over things like treatment of black suspects by the police, and alleged "cultural appropriation" in Halloween costumes.  

Meanwhile, the NCAA is a naked antitrust conspiracy with the number one purpose and intent of preventing college basketball and football players -- both groups predominantly black, although basketball players even more so than football players -- from earning a nickel from doing the thing they are best at.  Have you ever heard the slightest protest about that?  I sure haven't.  And now here we have the FBI once again adding to their stellar reputation by joining the NCAA in cracking down on any side payments to the athletes, some as small as just a free lunch!  And the FBI/NCAA gang claims the moral high ground!

The payments in question are not even direct payments for playing the game of basketball.  Mostly, they seem to be side payments made as part of the recruitment process.  And the reason why that is not OK for basketball players?  Nobody can actually articulate a reason, other than that the NCAA doesn't allow it.  In fact, in anything other than sports governed by the NCAA, payments to students to do what they are good at are completely pervasive.  Isn't that what summer jobs are?  And there are plenty of extreme examples of very high payments to students.  From Warren Meyer at CoyoteBlog on February 26:

When I was a senior at Princeton, Brooke Shields was a freshman.  At the time of her matriculation, she was already a highly paid professional model and actress (Blue Lagoon).  No one ever suggested that she not be allowed to participate in the amateur Princeton Triangle Club shows because she was already a professional.  When I was a sophomore at Princeton, I used to sit in my small dining hall (the now-defunct Madison Society) and listen to a guy named Stanley Jordan play guitar in a really odd way.  Jordan was already a professional musician (a few years after he graduated he would release an album that was #1 on the jazz charts for nearly a year).  Despite the fact that Jordan was a professional and already earned a lot of money from his music, no one ever suggested that he not be allowed to participate in a number of amateur Princeton music groups and shows.

OK, when I, the Manhattan Contrarian, was a junior at Yale, I parlayed my study of economics into a very well paid summer job at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  Nobody seemed to think there was a problem with that either.  (I was not nearly as well paid as Brooke Shields.)

Even if the schools are allowed to continue their conspiracy to prevent the players from getting paid by the school to play for the school team, what is the reason that the players cannot do a professional gig on the side or over the summer, maybe for an NBA farm team?  For many or most of them, this is the thing they are best at, and they quickly age out of it.  Their one chance to make some real money from their top skill is right now.  

This will give you an idea of what passes for intelligence at the top levels of academia:  On the one hand, there is constant protest and anger over underrepresentation of blacks in the student body and faculty, even though almost all of the schools engage in dramatic discrimination in favor of blacks in student admissions and faculty recruitment.  On the other hand, there is a naked antitrust conspiracy to prevent the black sports stars from getting paid anything for their work, and everybody is just fine with that.  How does this make any sense?  Remember though, these are the same geniuses whose idea of "climate justice" is to triple or quadruple the price of electricity so that low income people can no longer afford to light and heat their homes.

And can someone kindly explain to me what the FBI is doing in this case investigating on behalf of the NCAA?  What business is this of theirs?  What even is the federal crime?  I'll tell you what the federal crime is -- it's the one that is so blatantly obvious that these "really smart" people are incapable of thinking of it, namely the antitrust conspiracy to keep the players from being paid.  And the NCAA and all of the schools are participants.  In any other industry, they would go to jail for this, and then pay treble damages to the victims (here, the players).

Let's face it:  the world is completely nuts.