|Urban Meyer, left: Black Dysfunction legitimized through college footall|
Black sheep battle: Disgraced Penn State faces disgraced Ohio State today (Oct. 27). It’s a pattern.
The political class may be focused on Ohio to see how polls shift in the Presidential race. But there’s only one poll Ohioans care about: the Associated Press college football poll. The coach of their Ohio State University football team is the only man whose approval rating worries them all year around.
He’s Urban Meyer, whose salary of $4 million a year—an order of magnitude greater than the commander-in-chief of the United States military—is designed to inspire him to restore luster to one of the most profitable college football programs in America. (According to the Memphis Business Journal, Ohio State logged $63 million in revenue in 2011.)
After “Tattoo-Gate”—in which a number of black Ohio State football players traded their autographs and memorabilia for free tattoos, a violation of their amateur status—then head coach Jim Tressel, known as the “Senator” for his high approval rating in Ohio, was fired in 2011. Ohio State was placed on probation by the NCAA for three years.
Enter Urban Meyer, widely considered one of the top coaches in football. Having led the University of Florida to two national championships, Meyer mysteriously resigned after a lackluster 2010 season. One of the unstated reasons: the thug culture present during his tenure.
Meyer had recruited back-to-back all-black signing classes (2009 and 2010), at a school whose enrollment is less than five percent black male. (At least his 2008 recruiting class had one non-black player: the white kicker!)
Inevitably, Florida came under intense scrutiny for the off-field problems of Meyer’s black athletes. The Orlando Sentinel details their off-the-field arrests: A list of Florida Gators arrested during Urban Meyer's tenure By Jeremy Fowler and Rachel George September 17, 2010. It’s three pages long and includes, besides drug and alcohol charges, aggravated stalking, felony burglary of an occupied dwelling, felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice, felony domestic violence by strangulation, felony theft, aggravated assault, battery and use of display of a concealed weapon.
But don’t worry! The Gainesville Sun absolved the Gators—because players at the other almost all-black Southeastern Conference (SEC) teams like Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee were doing the exact same thing! [Are the Gators getting a bad rap on crime?, By Kevin Brockway Staff, June 14, 2009]Read the rest over at VDare, comment on it here. But, as always, be share far and wide. Forbes published an article last year that went into great detail about the tax-exempt status of donations to college athletics [Miami Football Scandal Raises Questions About Tax-Exempt Athletics, 8-22-2011]:
Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the talk focusing on Miami has little to do with the current season or the current players. Instead, it’s about Nevin Shapiro, a 42 year old former University of Miami football booster, who is currently serving a 20 year sentence in federal prison for running a Ponzi scheme (a la Bernie Madoff) worth nearly a billion dollars. That kind of money can buy you a lot of friends. And allegedly, while Shapiro was a University of Miami booster, he bought a lot of friends – up to 72 of them in the way of University of Miami athletes including such names as Jon Beason (now a Carolina Panther), Devin Hester (now a Chicago Bear), Willis McGahee (now a Denver Bronco), Antrel Rolle (now a New York Giant) and Vince Wilfork (now a New England Patriot). Shapiro allegedly bankrolled the lifestyles of these young athletes by giving them cash and jewelry and entertaining them with hookers; he is said to have even purchased a yacht to hold sex parties for the athletes.
The allegations are pretty serious.
The worst part? They’re also not totally unbelievable.
The NCAA has been dodging a number of charges lately about questionable conduct from boosters and supporters. Most famously, after a lengthy and disturbingly quiet investigation, the NCAA found that Reggie Bush (now with the New Orleans Saints) received improper benefits while at USC, leading to sanctions against the university. Last year, Bush also gave up his Heisman Trophy
to keep his endorsements to make people like himas a public display of regret.
Shortly thereafter, Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign among allegations that his players received free tattoos and other perks from a local tattoo parlor.
Other football teams have been investigated for similar charges, including Auburn (where players admitted accepting money from boosters) and LSU (where a coach paid a player to transfer). Scouting and recruiting scandals involving cash and other perks have also been reported at Oregon and Georgia Tech.
With that, the University of Miami scandal just seems like the next notch on the NCAA’s dirty bedpost.
It used to be different. College ball used to feel like it was all about the love of the game. College athletics seemed like an opportunity for some kids go to school, play a little ball and get an education.
But now, not so much. Now, many college sports programs – especially football and basketball – feel less about education and more about industry. College sports programs are a money-maker for colleges and increasingly, apparently, the players and coaches.
More numbers? Ohio State University spent over $77 million on its football program alone last year, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics. Last year’s BCS winner, Auburn, came in just under, at $71 million. And the dollars pour in just as easily as they are paid out. Football and basketball programs combine for nearly 75% of the $5,002,206,503 in revenue brought in by college athletic programs in public universities.
That’s a lot of money. And it’s federal income tax-free. In fact, because of the tax-exempt designation for college athletics, nearly all of the revenue, including that generated by ticket sales, television deals, bowl games and corporate sponsorships flows tax-free.Let's go just a bit farther [Are Tax Deductions for College Athletics Worth the Price?, Higher Ed Watch, 10-9-2007]:
It looks like a business. It smells like a business. But we won’t call it a business. We won’t because we’re still buying into the fiction that these programs are somehow an integral part of the academics at these schools. So we call it a charity.
But consider this: while SAT scores now range from 600 to 2400 for college students, the NCAA allows athletes who score 820 (downloads as pdf) to participate in Division II programs so long as they maintain a C average.
Donations to college athletics programs are tax-exempt because government officials have long believed that college sports contribute to the educational purpose of higher education. When alumni give money to sports, the theory goes, they are contributing to students' educational experience beyond the classroom.Educational purpose? Watch any Southeastern Conference (SEC) game: almost all-white crowds cheering on almost all-black teams whose players SAT/ACT scores are considerably less than those of the student.
It's a joke: end the tax-exempt status for donations to college athletics.