Expanding Earlier Commentary…

Earlier this week, I expressed my wish that the NCAA would continue to lose out in the procedural actions with regard to the Northwestern University football players’ attempt to be qualified as employees of the university so that they might unionize. In the same rant, I expressed why I thought unionization was not a beneficial end to the current legal challenge. For the full discussion, please see this

I would like to expand my remarks from that discourse just a bit here…

    College athletes seek to be categorized as college employees here. Are they REALLY sure that they want to be treated the same way all other college employees are treated? Ignoring the fair market value of the educational opportunities they may or may not take seriously, athletes get quality meal plans and free travel around the country where they can “ply their trade”. Consider for a moment the college employees currently represented by unions and ask yourself if indeed the players would be all that better off…

    The fundamental problem here – which neither the NCAA nor its member institutions will acknowledge – is that college football and men’s college basketball are NOT university activities that blend into the mainstream of all the other college activities. College football and men’s college basketball are business enterprises and nothing more. By pretending that they are “college activities” they sidestep that little thing known as “paying taxes on the profits”. So long as the pursuit of a meaningful degree in a real major is a secondary or tertiary concern for some/many of the “student athletes”, the whole system under consideration is a sham.

Based on my previous remarks and the ones presented here, I think I am safe in assuming that I will not be invited to give the keynote address at the next convocation of NCAA officials at the administration level or the athletic director level. Too bad – for them…

Since I am in the mode of expanding previous remarks, let me add to my commentary regarding DeSean Jackson going to the Redskins. For his entire NFL career, Jackson has worn #10 with the Eagles. That number is “taken” on the Redskins by none other than RG3 – the guy who is entrusted with the responsibility to get Jackson the ball for big plays. When asked about how he felt about this, here is what he told Tarik El-Bashir who covers the Skins for CSN Washington:

“I definitely am familiar on the No. 10 [worn by] Robert Griffin . We’ve talked about it a little bit. But that isn’t a decision that’s been made yet so far . . . Maybe by the time the season starts we’ll know. Maybe RG III will wear No. 3 and I’ll try to get into 10. We’ll see how it goes, though. You never know.”

There are at least a hundred ways for that situation to “go south” and all of them begin with discussing the “situation” in public before all the parties have come to whatever is the resolution to the matter. This has the potential to blossom into the biggest and stupidest intra-squad squabble since T.O. bitched and moaned about how Tony Romo and Jason Witten conspired to keep the ball away from T.O in key third down situations. There is GREAT potential for entertainment value here…

Tiger Woods had surgery earlier this week and is out of The Masters. TV execs are not pleased to be sure but there is not much they can do to replace Woods as a compelling draw for the event this year. That is because they have focused on him to the exclusion of just about everyone else on the PGA Tour for the last decade or so. With him on the shelf, the field is a bunch of faces and a list of names and most folks cannot properly link most of them. To a certain extent, the TV execs are now inheriting the wind…

Here is the good news for Tiger Woods acolytes:

    At least he will not take an illegal drop in this year’s Masters giving the rules mavens agita as they figure out how to penalize him while still keeping him on TV for the weekend ratings.

Woods’ place on this year’s Ryder Cup team is up in the air based on his recuperation and how he performs once back on tour. Before any nationalistic Americans go into self-flagellation mode over this, consider this perspective from Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:

“Making a case: Of the seven Ryder Cups Tiger Woods has competed in, the U.S. has lost six. Last time the U.S. won was in 2008, when Woods was out with a knee injury. Coincidence?”

And speaking of the Ryder Cup, here is a litmus test you can apply to your friends, neighbors, co-workers with regard to being Golf-Goofs:

    NBC and the Golf Channel (owned by NBC) will telecast the Ryder Club matches from Gleneagles, Scotland LIVE. Matches will begin at 2:30 AM EDT from 23 to 28 September.

Here is what it would take for to get up at 2:30 AM to watch this live:

    The Royal and Ancient gurus would have to decide randomly to release rabid badgers on the course and only the caddies – not any player or spectator – would be permitted to wear any clothing/gear that might protect them from badger bites.

Finally, here is an analysis from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:

“ ’The Walking Dead’ is a TV series based on:

    a) a post-apocalyptic world dominated by flesh-eating zombies

    b) this year’s L.A. Lakers”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • rainier beacher  On April 4, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Not to quibble, but are other pro jocks transportation and training tables taxed?
    If you would, I’d like to see a full “what if” piece: Assuming athletes become employees, will it be easier to to recruit to a state (Washington) with no income tax? Mike Leach of WSU had great line. He mentioned he was looking forward to being able to draft from the nationwide talent pool. Any thoughts?

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On April 5, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      ranier beacher:

      Good to hear from you again…

      My understanding is that pro athletes’ contracts define things like transportation to events and food provided during team events as rfesponsibilities of the team. therefore it is not income for the players but is an expense for the team. Since I have never been involved in such contracts, that understanding is from afar and not from personal experience.

      States without income taxes – such as Florida and Texas in addition to Washington – provide a significant advantage when it comes to signing pro recurits where the taxable income can be in the tens of millions of dollars. Even if college athletes were to be paid $100K per year, the advantage of no state income tax versus a state like Pennsylvania where the income tax is a flat 2.9% would be marginal. However, it is there and it will be used as a recruiting tool should college athletes ever get paid.

  • rainier beacher  On April 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you.

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