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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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