It is the year 2017 and the National Collegiate Athletic Association remains firm in its hope that a lazy okie-dokie will be enough to stunt any form of real change.
Furthermore, while its laborers grasp at straws for fair payment and remain one of Western civilizations’ last bastions of obvious labor abuse, the NCAA stands condescendingly screaming at the top of its lungs about a broken structure that is somehow worthy of salvaging.
Faced with a mass-level of exposure to the sport’s most nefarious elements, the governing body of college sports has decided to attempt to shine shit.
Announced this week, Mark Emmert, Condi Rice, and a bunch of other people too invested in one side of the issue to see its own bias, are forming a Commission on College Basketball to help the student-athletes student-athlete better … or something. Whatever the actual goal, but the commission is hoping like hell you care not for those semantics.
Emmert, who has since gone on record whining that no one came to him with what the FBI received, is claiming all sorts of things are the mission statement of this commission. What he is not claiming, something in which he’s already said is not wanted by NCAA university members, is some form of pay is coming to the unpaid labor at the Division I basketball level. In fact, many of its board members are against any pay model.
While some old-guard media members took to Twitter to call this gesture by the NCAA “noble,” the transparency level of this fraudulent endeavor is so clear, so incredibly see-through, that even those who want to back the NCAA’s fictional ideal of amateurism have to be looming in the shadows, scratching the skulls keeping those outdated beliefs inside.
Anyone believing altruism is at the heart of this commission is, frankly, largely part of the issue. The enablers. The culpable. The same who want to romanticize basketball coaches as something other than just people attempting to win games to earn money.
It is a PR move of sorts; a reactionary tactic being wielded by an organization that is claiming ignorance as the feds are literally ripping one of its money-sports down to its bones. In a roundabout way, this is a venture by the NCAA to avoid accountability to the point of looking innocent, while redirecting blame to college sports’ favorite evil-doer — the “few bad eggs.”
This commission has been formed with the person most recent an actual student-athlete being Grant Hill. A former Duke Blue Devils player, naturally, who was once mentored by one of the sport’s all-time best coaches … who has long had a vested interested in being godified by those who have helped embed corruption into college basketball.
There’s no tangible connection between what the commission claims it wants to do and the people who comprise it. No grassroots or AAU people there to help the governing body understand it better; no shoe company reps, the type who can explain why any of this happened in the first place; zero current student-athletes on a board that swears it is there to help their best interest; and so on.
It is like starting a car repair shop without repairmen. Maybe the owners like cars, and even drove a few or fixed some back in the day, but none of them know how to even only change the oil in a 2017 Nissan Rogue.
“The culture of silence in college basketball enables bad actors, and we need them out of the game,” Emmert said in the statement. “We must take decisive action. This is not a time for half-measures or incremental change.”
Emmert is correct in that decisive action is needed and incremental change won’t do. At the same time, the obvious solution needed here, paying the talent which helps generate millions of dollars, isn’t on the table. The above statement, in itself, is an indecisive action in an attempt to make a half-measure by forming a commission which will blindly ignore a potential solution.
The NCAA is forming a commission not to better anything. Wait. Let’s clarify that.
The NCAA is forming a commission to benefit its own interests, which are clearly not aligned with what is best for the powerless labor these powerful people are tying like hell to not share any of that power with.
A gullible person might believe this to be a misguided attempt by a historically inept organization to make things better. That gullible person also probably believes the NFL cares for, in earnest, its players’ safety.
A realist, however, knows this for what it is. A slight of hand, third-rate magic trick by a non-profit basking in billions of dollars of money made off the back of teenagers it cares very little for or about.
“We need to do right by student-athletes,” the statement by Emmert read. “I believe we can — and we must — find a way to protect the integrity of college sports by addressing both sides of the coin: fairness and opportunity for college athletes, coupled with the enforcement capability to hold accountable those who undermine the standards of our community.”
The “integrity of college sports.” That’s the line in the muddy, misshapen sand. If — and they don’t — the NCAA and its university members actually believed that amateurism is being attacked, and that this model of exploiting labor is the correct way to go about doing business, the commission has already lost. It can’t “do right by the student-athlete” if it is unwilling to hear those people’s cries.
But let’s be honest. The “integrity of the sport” is the “fake news” of the NCAA. A purposely crafted phrase that, while untrue in its foundation, is meant to get the general public on board with a system so corrupt the FBI had to step in. Moreover, a business model so immoral that, structured within the bones of the system, corruption is both breed and lovingly fostered.
Amateurism, this ideal the NCAA and its members have long used as a way to keep the money for themselves, is now not only outdated, but directly causing most of the harms to a sport so many love. But hey, don’t tell the Commission of College Basketball that.
Oh no, silly. Not because it won’t listen, because it doesn’t actually care to hear what you have to say. Their minds are already made up.