Maybe you missed it. Probably you missed it, because: (a) this is a holiday weekend; (b) you have a life. No problem. I’ll catch you up. On Thursday afternoon, the National Collegiate Athletic Association filed a wholly expected amicus brief with the National Labor Relations board, supporting Northwestern University’s appeal of a recent NLRB regional ruling that found football players to be school employees.
And then the NCAA said something truly ridiculous:
… Maintaining the collegiate model of athletics, which is uniquely American, is crucial …
No. No. A thousand times no. Not on a Thursday, not on a Sunday, and absolutely freaking not on the Fourth of July. Read past the public relations weasel words. When the NCAA extols the “collegiate model of athletics,” it meansamateurism. And amateurism is many things: a powerful, pernicious mythology; an eight-cylinder engine of tinpot morality and unearned sanctimony; a prime mover ofathletic department gold-plating; the next best thing to indentured servitude when it comes to reducing labor costs; a way to sucker otherwise-sharp federal judges, addled by the “Athenian concept of a complete education derived from fostering full growth of both mind and body”; an oily term of tax-and-worker’s-compensation-dodging legal art that basically means whatever the association says it means. But the one thing amateurism is not, has never been and can never, ever be is uniquely American. To the contrary, it’s uniquely un-American.
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