Essay: Stop the Madness; the Free Market Case against the NCAA's Chokehold on College Sports
Byline: Patrick Hruby, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
From spectacular shots to dramatic finishes, the NCAA men's basketball tournament - which culminates in Monday night's championship game - is a thrilling sports spectacle beyond reproach.
Well, unless you're a free-market conservative.
Here's the thing about March Madness, and by extension big-time college sports: If you're a true, markets-know-best believer in the prosperity-creating, all-American double helix of economic opportunity and liberty, you ought to find the whole extravaganza infuriating. Not the dribbling and dunking. The system.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: The NCAA is not the solution to the problems of college sports; the NCAA is the problem. More overreaching than any federal bureaucracy. More antithetical to freedom than any convoluted health care legislation. A case study in failed utopianism. The source of the very corruption it purports to police.
Fancy yourself an ideological heir to the proud tradition of Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and, um, Grover Norquist? You can still don a State U sweatshirt and fill out a bracket. But you absolutely, positively cannot in good conscience condone the college sports status quo.
The NCAA nanny state
True story: Before a game between Syracuse University and Kansas State University in this year's NCAA basketball tournament, Kansas State forward Jamar Samuels was suspended for accepting $200 from his old Amateur Athletic Union coach to buy food on the road. Why the punishment? Because Mr. Samuels' actions were against NCAA rules - the money part, not (for now) the eating part.
The NCAA has regulations governing whether coaches can serve their players bagels (sometimes) with cream cheese, jelly and other condiments (an improper benefit until this year). It has rules that cover when coaches can text message recruits and when Gatorade should be served instead of chocolate milk; rules that prevent rowers from betting their racing shirts against each other and coaches' wives from sending Christmas cards to new recruits; all of them part of a 434-page (!) rule bookthat has existed since the Eisenhower administration - the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Essay: Stop the Madness; the Free Market Case against the NCAA's Chokehold on College Sports. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Washington Times (Washington, DC). Publication date: April 2, 2012. Page number: C10. © 2009 The Washington Times LLC. COPYRIGHT 2012 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.