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Latarski: The problem with college athletics
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For those who may not know, there is a thing called the Bowl Championship Series. This is an invention to pick and choose which teams play in which bowls at the end of the college football season and thereby determining a national championship.

While the BCS gurus have been lucky a couple of times and blundered into a matchup of the two best teams, the BCS is generally considered by most astute observers of college football to be the equivalent of leprosy in ancient Rome and its creators should be stoned.

But fear not! Several erstwhile politicians have urged the federal government to investigate the BSC for possible illegal restraint of trade and possible antitrust violations and the U.S. Justice Department is on the case.

The root of this lies in the fact only certain conferences are offered automatic bids to certain games, which means some conferences, get shut out from the opportunity to make a big payday simply because of who they are.

Some say there is enough going on to keep the government busy without becoming involved in college athletics, and they would certainly have a point. On the other side are those who cite college football as big business and billions of dollars are involved so having a system that discriminates against certain conferences and doesn't allow them a sit at the table much have less a piece of the pie is simply wrong and illegal. As with most things it is all about money.

Naturally, if the people in charge were human beings instead of self-aggrandizing windbags, there would be no need for an investigation because a system would have been put in place that would be fair to everyone.

But if the federal government is bound and determined to get involved in college athletics, then it should go directly to the source of evil: the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

This is the organization that is in business to protect the integrity of college athletics and look out for the well-being of the student-athlete. In reality the primary goal is to lookout for member institutions and make certain no matter what happens the money gravy train does not get derailed. The NCAA may be the most hypocritical and incompetent organization in the world next to the government of Pakistan. I would say they are also corrupt, but I'm not sure they are smart enough to be really crooked.

As a singular example, a coach can sign a player after sitting in his living room talking about integrity, teamwork and honor and the very next year ignore his contract and go to another school for a bigger payday. The recruit, should he want to leave because the coach he trusted to be there is gone, must sit out a year unless transferring to a different division. How can that be fair?

If a football player sells a jersey with his name on it, it is a violation; if the university sells 1,000 of them, it's business. And the nonsense about a free education is just that - nonsense. The reason is far too many youngsters do not get that education and in many cases the university and NCAA doesn't care as long as the player is ready on game day to help pull in the bacon.

If the federal government really wants to address the problems of college athletics, it should not worry about the BCS but start with a major overhaul of the NCAA. It should be dissolved and replaced with an organization run by reasonable people who will create rules and regulations that are fair for everyone. This is not likely to happen
But if the feds really get involved, what we are likely to see are meetings, followed by more meetings, followed by hearings, followed by meetings to discuss the next hearing with the finally result being a comprehensive report in very small type that will be filed away unread.
Just file this as guvmint at work.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at