2/12/2012: At its heart the NCAA is a classic hiring cartel. College athletic departments agree among themselves to all pay the athletes a bare minimum, so that the bulk of the profits can be used for inflated salaries for the coaches, assistants, athletic directors, and of course the NCAA administrators.
The catch is that every college has an incentive to cheat, and offer top players a better deal – a few thousand in cash from a booster, a loaner car, good deal on an apartment, and so on. If this gets out of hand the players get the profits, and the cartel can collapse, leaving little money for the NCAA insiders.
The NCAA knows it takes eternal vigilance to hold their cartel together. USA Today now reports that their latest plan is a drastic increase in the penalties for “cheating” – i.e. letting the players keep some of the money they earn. I love the way the insiders getting rich off this throw around phrases like “illicit benefits for student-athletes”:
The plan, which also would streamline the processing of cases and expand the adjudicating committee on infractions to help speed their disposition, reflects a call by NCAA President Mark Emmert for swifter, tougher action and greater deterrence. Amid a spate of cases involving high-profile programs from South California to Tennessee to Connecticut to Ohio State to Miami (Fla.), he has talked of instilling “some sort of constructive fear.”
… It threatens serious payback for programs and individuals involved in what the NCAA terms the “worst of the worst” cases, involving such things as academic fraud, significant payments or other illicit benefits for athletes and a finding of a lack of institution control.
The people charged with delivering this “constructive fear” to those evil programs that want to compensate athletes for their work are the members of the NCAA Infractions Committee – including UO’s own “Faculty Athletics Representative” Jim O’Fallon.
O’Fallon has had the FAR job for 23 years – since back when he actually was faculty – without going through a review by UO. The 2004 UO Task Force Report on Athletics – signed by Dave Frohnmayer and Bill Moos – specifically called for a review of O’Fallon. Bullet point #2:
This never happened. Weird. O’Fallon’s contract is here.
The NCAA has even set it up so we have to pay their enforcers. O’Fallon’s salary and expenses come straight out of UO’s academic budget. Clever:
O’Fallon even gets called out by NYT financial columnist Joe Nocera, for this inane, officious decision penalizing a school for giving athletes books.