Ya’ll please excuse me. I really, really intended to flood your eyeballs with stories from last weekend’s AFC and NFC Championship games but alas, thoughts and nightmares about the freakin’ NCAA woke me up repeatedly on Sunday night and if I have nightmares I am inclined to share them with you, the readers who most of the time, unbeknownst to “yinz” guys, function as my “proxy therapists.”
Why was the darn NCAA founded in the first place? If we are to believe the very words of the NCAA itself, the very formation of the organization was to police the game of football in an attempt to insure the physical well-being of the student-athletes participating in a brutal sport being played in the midst of one of the most nastiest and volatile periods in the history of the world, the Industrial Revolution.
How did the rules-makers and the advocates of student welfare become the money takers? According to their website, “for several years, the NCAA was a discussion group and rules-making body; but in 1921, the first NCAA national championship was held.
The evolution of the organization continued but a series of crises brought the NCAA to a crossroads after World War II. The “Sanity Code”—adopted to establish guidelines for recruiting and financial aid—failed to curb abuses involving student-athletes. Post-season football games were multiplying rapidly. Member institutions were increasingly concerned about the effects of unrestricted television on football attendance. A national headquarters was established in Kansas City, Mo., in 1952. A program to control live television of football games was approved, the annual convention delegated enforcement powers to the association’s council and legislation was adopted governing post-season bowl games.
Now this is where it begins to get a bit tricky. The NCAA was now leaving the lonely road of “money watchers” and exiting onto the “getting paid” expressway. Is this possibly where the seeds of corruption were planted or were there “tubers of greed” already flourishing underground from the dark rich influx of high school athletes?
Ah, now we are getting warm, boys and girls. The NCAA realized that if you controlled which athletes were recruited and awarded scholarships, you controlled the revenue from television and game attendance. Well as far as the NCAA’s loot collecting is concerned: game, set, match. Their own history does not say that they continued to fret over the academic and physical welfare of their student-athletes that attended their member universities but the revenue gained from the broadcast of those events as well as the gravy from game attendance concerned the organization more because they had less than full control of the revenue stream.
The greed of the NCAA is not my only concern. On Nov. 7, 2009 an article on espn.com profiled the diversity or lack of in regards to the head coaching ranks in the NCAA the article said that: “Days after the election of the country’s first Black president, a study shows the number of African-American coaches in major college football is not growing.
With the recent dismissals of Ty Willingham at Washington and Ron Prince at Kansas State, the number of Black head coaches in the 119-school NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision was reduced to four.
In 1997, there were eight Black head coaches, the most in history. In 1993 and 2005, there were only three.
Fifty-five percent of all student-athletes are minorities.
Now let’s see if my math is even slightly on target. 119 divided by 55 = 2.16. Even if we round the aforementioned sum down to 2.0 that figure based on the percentage of minority athletes participating in the football programs at NCAA member institutions, every other school should have a Black head coach. That is not going to happen, okay, but to have an African-American football headmaster in 25 to 30 percent of the colleges is not jumping on the “little red wagon” of affirmative action. If recruiters from these schools can relentlessly pursue Black athletes then that same zeal and passion should be used to get Black coaches to patrol the sidelines of the gridiron and the courtsides of the basketball arenas.
Based on the past and present of the NCAA, the organization, aside from when it was in its infancy, has lost the empathy for the actual condition of the student-athletes that it was initially formed to protect. When it comes to trusting the NCAA let me put it this way. My father used to say, “Don’t worry about the guy who wants to borrow your car three times a week, you should lose sleep over the pal who has to come over and borrow a cup of sugar twice a week just around the time that you have punched in at work.”
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at aubreybruce.blogspot.com.)