By Ken Reed
The University of Oregon was recently given a slap on the wrist by the NCAA for a variety of NCAA rules violations. Many media observers and fans were shocked by how gently the NCAA dealt with Oregon.
To me, it wasn’t shocking at all. The NCAA is terrified that the big-time schools and their conferences will leave the NCAA and form their own governing organization. If that happens, the NCAA will be left with smaller Division I universities, along with Division II and III schools. The NCAA honchos would lose a lot of power and money. For their part, the big-time athletic programs in the Big Five conferences — Pac 12, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, and SEC — are tired of dealing with the rules and regulations they see as a nuisance to their mission of running major sports entertainment enterprises. They also are tiring of having their fate impacted by votes from Division II and Division III NCAA members.
In recent months, our major college sports universities have been more brazen in their public acknowledgments that their athletic departments are indeed big-time businesses. The Big Five conferences are run by shrewd business executives, not educators or even athletic administrators. And the hot new trend in big-time college sports is for schools to can their traditional athletic directors in favor of business execs from other industries who have excellent fundraising skills.
The New York Times‘ Joe Nocera recently wrote a column talking about how the vast majority of college presidents are ill-equipped to run the massive sports entertainment enterprises on their campuses. He argues persuasively that it’s time to stop the charade. Nocera writes:
“We could just finally be done with it: acknowledge that big-time college sports is a serious business that has to be managed by business executives who have an expertise in sports management. Let this new breed of athletic directors maximize revenues to their hearts’ content, but create some real separation between the teams and the universities, and stop pretending they have any ‘educational’ value. (And while we’re at it, pay the players.) And let college presidents get back to what they actually know how to do: run their universities.”
It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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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