Does Any Of This Make Sense To You?

Earlier this week, I got an email from a reader alerting me to a “situation” in women’s tennis that might be part of a future rant.  I do not follow tennis much at all and I certainly do not follow collegiate women’s tennis, but the email sounded like something I should try to track down.  Here is the important part of the reader’s email:

“I thought I would send a tip for you to ponder for a rant.  The subject is Fiona Crawley… she is a rising senior at UNC-CH and leads the tennis team … She recently won three qualifying matches in order to play in the US Open.  She won those and she played in the first round, losing to the world #11 I think.

“My point in raising this is that she qualified for a cash prize of $81,000.00 … based on her level of play in the Open…BUT…she is not allowed to accept the money if she doesn’t want to forfeit her eligibility to continue to play for UNC.

“How about some ranting on the stupidity of the NIL etc. etc. etc….the NCAA etc. etc. etc. that discriminates against the sports that aren’t basketball or football?”

Yes, the author of the note is a UNC alum; but that is not germane to the argument here.  Yet again, the folks who make the rules at the NCAA have twisted themselves into an impossible posture and have turned their rules into a self-eating watermelon.

This is not really a question of discrimination against sports other than football or basketball; this is a demonstration that the NCAA has not opened its mind to collegiate athletes being compensated for athletic achievement.  I must admit that I endangered my “curmudgeon credential” when it became clear that the NCAA was going to be forced by the judicial system to accept NIL payments to athletes.  I was sure there would be bumps along the way, but I actually thought that new leadership at the NCAA plus evolving views on the role of collegiate athletics would lead to something at least marginally sensible.

I should have gone with my gut; I should have anticipated that the blunder-bunnies at NCAA HQs in Indy would find a way to create an illogical and untenable situation.  Here is the situation in September 2023:

  • An NCAA athlete can “earn” a million dollars selling subscriptions to a social media channel on which the athlete provides photos of herself in bikinis.  There is nothing salacious or prurient about it; there is also no threat to this athlete’s eligibility.
  • An NCAA athlete can “earn” a million dollars paid to him/her by either a school athletic department or by a collective of boosters simply by agreeing to play for a specific university and then to participate in various promotional activities.  The athlete can sign with the highest bidder and there is no threat to his/her eligibility.
  • HOW-EVAH, an NCAA athlete cannot earn more than $10K as prize money in the sport they compete in without jeopardizing their eligibility.  If the “earnings” accrue to the athlete because of athletic competence, then the earnings are capped at a ridiculously low level.

So, it is hunky-dory for collegiate athletes to earn money and retain eligibility so long as that money does not derive from success in the sport that put the athlete on a college team in the first place.  Now, if that makes sense to you, the good news is that there is probably a career opening for you at NCAA HQs.  The downside is that you will have to live in Indianapolis …

Moving on …  The fallout in Spain from the Spanish victory in the Women’s World Cup seems not be abating.  The “investigation” and the determination of blame and sanction related to “The Kiss” by the head of the Spanish Soccer Federation on one of the winning players continues.  The “Kisser” has been suspended for 90 days by FIFA; the “Kissee” says that she believes she was sexually assaulted by his unwelcome advance.  If there is a way for these two sides to come to any form of amicable “accommodation” here, it is beyond my capacity to envision.

But wait, there’s more …  The coach of the Spanish women’s team that just won the World Cup was just fired.  That coach, Jorge Vilda, was praised by the folks that fired him as:

“… key to the remarkable growth of women’s football.”

At the moment, Spain holds the world title for women’s soccer in the Under-17, Under-19 levels in addition to the World Cup.  Vilda has been part of that developmental process since 2015; from the outside, it would seem that he must be doing something right.  At the same time, Vilda and Luis Rubiales (“The Kisser from above) must be doing something wrong too.  Normally in sports, winning cures just about any internal strife that may exist.  Not so with the Spanish Women’s National Team:

  • All 23 members of the winning World Cup team along with 58 other current and former players for teams under the Spanish Soccer Federation umbrella signed a proclamation that they would not play for the national team again “if the current management continues.”

Finally, for no particular reason let me close today’s rant with an assessment of an actress by noted arts critic, John Simon – – sometimes referred to as the Vicar of Vitriol:

Doris Day: The only … talent Miss Day possesses is that of being absolutely sanitary; her personality untouched by human emotions, her brow unclouded by human thought, her form unsmudged by the slightest evidence of femininity.”

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



2 thoughts on “Does Any Of This Make Sense To You?”

  1. Indianapolis? You wish for me to move there? I think that’s in Indiana. This time, you’ve gone too far.

Comments are closed.