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 #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
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.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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