Why is the FBI helping the NCAA cheat athletes out of their earnings?

The NYT reports the FBI will hold a press conference today:

A second indictment charges five people with paying high school athletes or their families to attend particular universities. Those indicted include James Gatto, identified as the head of global sports marketing, basketball for “Company-1.” Though it is not named, Gatto works for Adidas in that role.

The indictment says about $100,000 was paid to the family of “Player 10” to stear him to a particular college. It says press accounts described his college decision as a surprise.

Why does the FBI care that colleges are paying athletes to come play for them? I can see why it infuriates the NCAA cartel, but they should have to hire their own enforcers, or at least pay for federal assistance like the Sinaloa heroin cartel does.

In a normal world the FBI would not be indicting people for breaking the NCAA cartel’s prohibition against paying players, they’d be helping make sure the players don’t get cheated.

But that would mean less money for coaches like Dana Altman and Willie Taggart, AD’s like Rob Mullens and FAR’s like Tim Gleason – who gets to vote on the NCAA’s rules.

In order to maintain their cartel and keep up protection like this, last year the FBS AD’s, presumably including Mullens, formed a PAC. Story here:

The athletic directors at America’s major college football-playing universities are forming a political action committee. The group will be called LEAD1, and it’ll represent the ADs at 129 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. It was announced Thursday morning. The group was formerly the D1A Athletic Directors’ Association. It wasn’t a PAC.

This PAC is being formed to lobby members of Congress in Washington. PACs can give limited donations to specific candidates and parties, and because of the Citizens United decision, they can independently spend as much money as they want to help a given candidate or party win an election. They’re a huge part of this country’s political ecosystem, both at the federal and state level. This one appears to be a federal PAC, though it’s not clear if its members might look for ways to lobby states, too.

“With the PAC now approved, it further ensures that the concerns of the LEAD1 members will be heard by members of Congress, and other key decision makers in Washington, D.C. and across the country,” announced Tom McMillen, a former three-term congressman and Maryland basketball player who will serve as the PAC’s president and CEO.

What’s interesting about this PAC is who comprises it, and how its members could use it. It’s pretty hard to get 129 strong-minded college athletic directors to agree on policy goals. But if the ADs saw fit to start a PAC to lobby politicians independent of the broader NCAA, it suggests they’re prepared to rally around at least one cause.

Let’s not overthink what “concerns” these ADs might have.

This PAC is going to try to keep college athletes from getting paid. …

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