So the biggest story of the week – or maybe set of stories – is the ongoing investigation of college basketball by the FBI. And everything about it raises questions about the entirety of that sport, about the NCAA, about greed and corruption, about exploitation, about the role of the FBI in all this (what, if any, actual laws were broken?), about the place of big time college sports at our universities and in our society. This might change how college sports is run. Or it might not.
From where I sit, I stare at the whole thing and wonder how we even got here. How colleges decided, individually and as part of a whole, to turn what was supposed to be extracurricular activity into a business. How anyone thought it was a good idea to create a system so arcane and complicated. And how anyone thought they could exploit the players forever. If it were up to me, I would end big time college sports and adapt a system like they have in Europe, taking potential pro soccer players into a separate system and out of schools entirely (though I do wonder if those kids get any sort of education to fall back on). I don’t think that is going to happen here. But it’s far past time that we stopped pretending that amateurism works. Or that our colleges haven’t sold their educational souls for money and fame.
But if this scandal isn’t to your liking, we can talk about:
- Jerry Jones vs Roger Goodell, the next round
- NHL trade deadline, or “Steve Yzerman has the Rangers on speed dial”
- Spring training games start. Meaningless? Sure. But still fun.
- March Madness is about to begin. Assuming anyone cares about what goes on on the court, and assuming all the coaches aren’t suspended.
- Tiger golfed last week. And apparently someone else won the tourney, but that is never news.
Feel free to talk about any sports news, as ever.