Exciting NCAA Tourney Upsets: Not Brought To You By Enforced Amateurism

Over the next week, a relatively unheralded team from a small conference will probably defeat a blue blood program from a major conference. This will be surprising because we will have expected the more powerful team to win, what with their larger budget, better-paid coach, etc. » 3/16/15 5:25pm 3/16/15 5:25pm

Gender Equity Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

The world of college sports reform can be divided into three camps. The first is the NCAA itself, which seems to want to change just enough to have everyone stop bashing it just for a little while. Then there are two opposing camps, both of which see the NCAA's centralized control of college sports as a problem, but… » 1/09/15 3:07pm 1/09/15 3:07pm

Wait, The NCAA Can Pay Players' Parents Now?

The day before yesterday, if a school reached the Final Four or the College Football Playoff and anyone—the NCAA, the CFP, the school, a booster, President Obama, etc.—agreed to pay for a parent of one of the athletes to travel to the game, it was unethical conduct, an extra benefit, and punishable with… » 1/07/15 10:14am 1/07/15 10:14am

Michigan's Problem Isn't Commercialism; Michigan's Problem Is It Stinks

Recently, I've been reading about Michigan's attendance woes (which only really count as "woes" if you consider a college selling out 95 percent of a 100,000-seat stadium at $75+, plus an unspecified donation per ticket, woeful), and it occurs to me that lay people and economists think very differently about how… » 9/29/14 3:28pm 9/29/14 3:28pm

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You The O’Bannon Ruling Conflicts With Title IX

I'm already starting to see rumblings out there that the recent ruling by Judge Claudia Wilken (of which I present a broader, preliminary analysis here) is somehow incompatible with the existing obligation of universities to comply with Title IX. That's simply false, and it's important to understand why before that… » 8/13/14 4:46pm 8/13/14 4:46pm

In The O'Bannon Decision, Truth Wins Out Over Rhetoric

Let me start by apologizing. Because of my own involvement in the Ed O'Bannon case, and because of past situations in which the NCAA has misquoted my own personal statements as if they represent the official opinions of the plaintiffs in the case, I can't be quite as analytical here as I might like, especially since… » 8/11/14 10:11am 8/11/14 10:11am

How Not To Reform The NCAA

There will be no new release of an EA NCAA Football game this year. The man most frequently blamed for this is a former UCLA basketball star named Ed O'Bannon, who had the temerity to sue the NCAA and EA for using his image without asking permission and without negotiating to pay for it. » 8/01/14 12:23pm 8/01/14 12:23pm

What's Karl Marx Doing In These Arguments Against College Athlete Pay?

Bob Bowlsby is a man with a very influential job. He is the commissioner of the Big 12 conference, one of the so-called power conferences that helps set policy for major college football. He also harbors a belief that is most commonly associated with pre-20th-century economics, and has really only endured as a… » 7/22/14 4:10pm 7/22/14 4:10pm

The Competitive-Balance Argument Against Paying Athletes Is Bullshit

High on the list of myths thrown out as excuses to delay or prevent the advent of pay-for-play is that the price-fixing engaged in by the 351 schools in Division 1, and especially the now 128 schools in FBS who play football, is necessary to ensure competitive balance across the sport. » 5/15/14 2:14pm 5/15/14 2:14pm

How Athletic Departments (And The Media) Fudge The Cost Of Scholarships

Paula Lavigne has an insightful piece on ESPN.com about how college sports thrived even as the rest of America suffered through a terrible economic downturn starting in late 2008. Paula is one of the best people writing in the mainstream sports press on money issues, and this piece is no exception. She presents a… » 5/02/14 2:24pm 5/02/14 2:24pm

Iowa AD: Paying Players Is Too Complicated For Me And My $450K Salary

From a piece on the Iowa and Iowa State ADs' opposition to athlete unionization comes this doozy from Iowa's Gary Barta: » 2/17/14 4:35pm 2/17/14 4:35pm