A big chunk of sports fans look at the mess in college sports — a mountain of cheating scandals, conference realignment driven purely by greed — and wonder why the NCAA doesn’t step in and bring some sanity to the situation.
Well, here’s why: The NCAA’s not in charge.
The major football conferences, and the football programs within those conferences, are running the show. And it’s not pretty. A cartel known as the BCS (Bowl Championship Series), comprised of the six biggest college sports conferences, has hijacked college sports and left every other school in its wake. The formation of the BCS was greed based. (“If we band together, and tell the rest of the NCAA to take a hike, we can keep most of the TV money for ourselves.”)
The Washington Post‘s Sally Jenkins does a nice job outlining the history of the NCAA’s power decline in her column, “NCAA Lost Its Teeth in Court in 1984, And No One’s Been in Charge Since.”
The current conference realignment craze is the result of infighting within the BCS cartel. The big conferences are stealing schools from their fellow BCS rivals to protect themselves, i.e., keep the money they have while scheming to get more. Individual universities are leaving their current leagues to chase the almighty dollar, and in the process are chucking long-time rivals and traditions. Geographic location is now moot. Texas Christian University (TCU) left the Mountain West conference for the Big East conference for a bigger paycheck and then left the Big East for the Big 12 conference before ever playing one game in the Big East.
A side effect of these football-based decisions is that the other sports programs under the university umbrella are being negatively impacted. Basketball and soccer teams are having to take on the same crazy travel schedules as their football peers. See “Football Realignment Gets Basketball Coaches’ Attention,” Denver Post.
The world of college sports keeps getting uglier and uglier. Greed-based anarchy reigns supreme.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon