All the talk in the sports world these days seems to revolve around the impending lock-out of NFL players by the NFL owners. However, this Antonio Irzarry/Sports in the Courts Blog post reports on Ed O'Bannon's class action lawsuit against the NCAA, which might just end up being more interesting and change-provoking than anything that occurs in the current NFL labor negotiations: As noted many times over the years, big-time college sports under the rubric of NCAA regulation is shamefully corrupt. Granted, it's an entertaining form of corruption, but corrupt nonetheless. There is simply no reason why gifted young football and basketball players should be prevented from earning compensation for the entertainment and wealth that they create in the same manner that young golfers and tennis players do. It is far past time for the NCAA member institutions to abandon the NCAA's obsolescent regulatory system and adopt one that recognizes and rewards the risks that the players take — and the contributions that they make – in providing entertainment and creating wealth. Let's face it – paying indirect compensation to professional athletes in the form of academic scholarships and flashy resort facilities just doesn't cut it anymore. Let the market sort out the institutions that are willing to take the risk of investing in what amount to upper minor-league football and basketball teams. The top 30-50 programs will probably do so, but most institutions outside of that group will not. Why risk losing even more money than most programs are under the present system? Who knows? Perhaps the institutions that elect not to sponsor professional teams will decide to engage in true inter-collegiate competition between real student-athletes. And with no need for the embarrassing hyprocrisy that the NCAA represents.
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