National Collegiate Athletic Association

Reduce the NCAA’s Power

Northern Iowa v Michigan State

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) functions as a cartel.  One of the most significant ways to check the powers of the NCAA is to form a body of composed university presidents from each conference and division, former college student-athletes, and professional coaches to vote to approve, modify, and/or reject rules and decisions rendered by the NCAA.  Essentially, this new body would have line-item veto power over the NCAA.  For rules and decisions of the NCAA to be vetoed, this new body would have to arrive at a two-thirds majority agreement.  By creating this new governing body, the NCAA’s current absolute power would be eliminated.  Although this is not a panacea to the problems in intercollegiate athletics, it does provide critical oversight for the NCAA.

A governing body with real oversight powers over the NCAA is needed.  When the NCAA recently evinced that it cannot abide by its own rules during the investigation of the University of Miami, no substantive consequences ensued.  The reason why no consequences followed for the organization is there’s no oversight body in place to address the NCAA.

The NCAA constantly produces rules and decisions that aren’t beneficial to student-athletes and the schools they attend.  Although the NCAA markets itself as a zealous advocate for student-athletes, the organization’s marketing is completely phony.  If the NCAA was serious about being an advocate for student-athletes, then it would supply student-athletes with all the resources they need to be successful academically and would allow student-athletes to receive stipends.

Higher education administrators, students, student-athletes, fans, alumni, and policymakers must federate to call for an oversight body for the NCAA.  An oversight body for the NCAA would help to improve phenomena in intercollegiate athletics and significantly benefit student-athletes and the schools they attend.

If you care about student-athletes and reforming intercollegiate athletics, then you will join the effort to institute a new oversight body for the NCAA.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Tyrann Mathieu and Albany State University Are a Great Fit

Tyrann Mathieu

Recently, Tyrann Mathieu, a talented Louisiana State University (LSU) defensive back and punt return specialist, was dismissed from LSU for violating team and university rules.  After the decision was reached by administrative officials at LSU, Tyrann Mathieu started looking for eligible schools he could attend.  It has been reported that he is seriously considering attending McNeese State UniversityAlbany State University offers Tyrann Mathieu the greater opportunity to demonstrate his talent and get his life together, however.

By attending Albany State University, this will move him a long distance away from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Albany State University is located in Albany, Georgia.  In Albany, Georgia, Mr. Mathieu will be situated in a city with good values and in a city with denizens who will not allow him to allow himself to handle his fame recklessly.  Mike White, Albany State University Head Football Coach, is a no-nonsense guy and coach who will not treat Tyrann any different than any other player on his team.  Mr. Mathieu will have to run through those gruesome sand dunes on one of the practice fields at Albany State University.

Albany State University is the most successful team in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).  At Albany State University, he will receive the right amount of publicity, benefit from coaches who are truly going to be committed to making him better on the field, in the classroom, and off the field, and he will not be looked at and used as a “messiah” to save a failing football team, considering Albany State University is the most successful football team and athletic program in the SIAC.  Albany State University’s football team is a perennial National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II power.

Albany State University

 

At McNeese State University, Tyrann Mathieu will be expected to be a “messiah” for an average at best team.  It simply makes sense for him to select a school with a football program that has a winning tradition as the one he is leaving at LSU.  With that in mind, Albany State University would be an excellent choice.  He would leave one winning football program and go to another winning football program.  Mr. Mathieu must think about the reason why his great talents have been noticed: he’s been on great football teams.  By going to McNeese State University or any of the other schools it has been reported that he may select, including Jackson State University, he runs the risk of National Football League (NFL) scouts not gaining the best opportunity to assess his skills and his NFL stock could suffer even more if he’s on a team that’s nothing special.

A union between Albany State University and Tyrann Mathieu makes great sense.  Make it happen!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Revolutionary Paideia March 2011 Person of the Month: Anthony Robles

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia selects a person who embodies the spirit of “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” that founded this blog.  It is not often that Revolutionary Paideia is unsettled, unnerved, and unhoused by someone, but a truly exceptional young man has been able to accomplish this feat. Anthony Robles, who will graduate this May from Arizona State University with his undergraduate degree, has won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Wrestling Championship. Guess what? This young man won the NCAA Division I Championship in Wrestling with only one leg. He was born without a right leg. What an amazing accomplishment! What is even more amazing is the mental strength that Anthony Robles evinces. You would think that a person with only one leg would not even consider participating in Wrestling at the NCAA Division I level, but this young man did not allow what others would consider to be a lifelong physical disability to prevent him from doing what others who have two legs were afraid to do and/or did not have what it takes to compete in Wrestling at the NCAA Division I level.  Let’s not overlook the fact that Anthony Robles is a student-athlete who is graduating. Far too often, many people try to make it seem like student-athletes don’t graduate from college. However, in a little over two months, this young man will be graduating from Arizona State University.  Read more about his story here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/22/earlyshow/living/main20045830.shtml

We all can learn a great amount from Anthony Robles. This man did not simply allow his physical disability to keep him from achieving great things. He understood the real struggles that he would face in life with having only one leg. Mr. Robles knew that his physical disability would require him to have to work that much harder than people with two legs. Do you really understand the courage that this young man has? Do you really understand? If you have even a slight idea about Wrestling, you know that it is a physically demanding sport. Just imagine how difficult this sport is for something with only one leg.

When we feel like things are too challenging for us to accomplish, we can think about what Anthony Robles was able to accomplish with just one leg. His example can give us the courage we need to face our current and future challenges and problems. This man developed a mindset focused on victory that was crucial to materializing his victories against his opponents. For those of us who have all of our limbs, we need to realize the advantages that we have. We need to recognize that if Anthony is not complaining about what his body cannot do, then we don’t need to be complaining about what our bodies cannot do. A dominant and powerful message about his story is to fearlessly face all of your challenges and problems because you can conquer anything if you have the courage to do it.

It is with great pleasure that I name Anthony Robles as The Revolutionary Paideia March 2011 Person of the Month. Anthony Robles, keep doing great things! You’re such an inspiration!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Unfair and Exploitative NCAA Rules

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body that oversees intercollegiate athletics, has created such a large number of complicated rules that even schools with some of the top lawyers in the nation cannot understand all of them completely. Until you have read and studied the very thick book of rules that the NCAA has established, then don’t be so quick to judge administrators, student-athletes, athletic department tutors and coaches. Yes, things like plagiarism, falsifying records, violent behavior, and etc. are violations of any institution’s policies without the NCAA telling them that they are. However, the NCAA has instituted many rules that need to be eliminated.

The NCAA will not allow players to speak to agents about their potential futures in playing professional sports. Now, please explain to me what’s the harm in allowing a student-athlete to speak to an agent about a future in playing professional sports? Is the NCAA really concerned about the futures of student-athletes? No! We allow all other students to have lawyers and agents while they are attending college. Why is it that the NCAA has decided to not give student-athletes equal treatment? It’s all about keeping student-athletes in the colleges and universities they attend to keep making those institutions more money. That’s why! By virtue of being a student-athlete, it’s conspicuous that he or she would love to have an opportunity to participate in sports on a professional level. Why would the NCAA try to hinder student-athletes from best positioning themselves for futures in professional athletic competition? By forbidding them from speaking to agents, they prevent student-athletes from engaging in strategic and effective planning about their future. This is unfair and exploitative.

If young student-athletes want to enter into professional sports immediately after graduating high school, they should be able to do this in every sport. We should not force them to have to attend college for any period of time before they are able to participate in sports on a professional level. For student-athletes who are not well-suited for college, we are using college as a punishment for them. College should be for those students who have genuine interests and needs for it. It should not be forced on any person wishing to participate in professional athletics. I understand that there are some good reasons for having students to attend college before they participate in professional athletics, but, again, college should not be forced on anyone.

What’s economically best for many student-athletes coming out of high school is to be able to make money immediately. If colleges would give student-athletes stipends, then they would be able to take care of their immediate economic needs and the economic needs of their families. Many Black male student-athletes come from such poor economic backgrounds that they need to make money immediately. Their families struggle with just surviving. While they and their families are struggling to survive, you have people with such elitist views that think it’s so wrong to give student-athletes stipends in exchange for their participation in college athletics and all that comes with their participation in college athletics.

In short, the NCAA needs to reduce all burdensome rules that prevent student-athletes from giving themselves the best possible future. I really encourage legal challenges to many of the NCAA’s rules to take place. We have to become increasingly concerned about how the NCAA exploits student-athletes. It is possible for us to make significant efforts to dramatically reduce the exploitation of student-athletes by using the legal system as a vehicle to accomplish this.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Postmodern Plantation System: The NCAA and Black Male Student-Athletes

Slavery is not over. Colleges and universities collectively make billions of dollars off of the athletic prowess of Black male student-athletes, but these institutions will not even give them adequate academic support in return. Many people will say that they receive free tuition and room and board and will think that they should be happy with this, considering most undergraduates don’t have this advantage. I would just like to inform people who think like this that most student-athletes don’t receive scholarships, free tuition, and room and board—only a select few receive free tuition and room and board. Even if all student-athletes were to magically be given free tuition and room and board, this would still represent a classic Marxian uneven exchange. Think about it—they provide these institutions with billions of dollars and these institutions give them free tuition and room and board in return—simply inequitable. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the governing body that oversees intercollegiate athletics, contends that paying student-athletes would be a horrible thing to do. However, the NCAA and higher education institutions do not think that it’s horrible to pay Teaching Assistants. Why not simply make graduate students teach for free as a part of their degree requirements? Exactly! They know that graduate students are too sophisticated and too politically organized to allow themselves to be exploited in such a way.

Just as those Teaching Assistants receive free tuition and a monthly stipend in return for their service, institutions should give all student-athletes monthly stipends in return for their service. Many athletic departments require student-athletes to do community service projects, visit sick children in hospitals, and other charitable things, but they are not paid a dime for this service—the athletic departments simply get to benefit from the charity of these student-athletes.

Billy Hawkins, Kinesiology professor at the University of Georgia, has written a book, The New Plantation: Black Athletes, College Sports, and Predominantly NCAA Institutions (2010), that posits that predominantly White colleges and universities are functioning very much like the colonial plantations did during slavery. For Hawkins, Black male student-athletes are slaves at these predominantly White institutions. He does an excellent job of evincing how these institutions exploit Black male student-athletes academically and physically.

I do, however, disagree with Hawkins that these institutions are functioning very much like colonial plantations during slavery. In Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), Fredric Jameson asserts that we are currently residing in late capitalism, a stage of capitalism that makes it much more the global dominant and much more of a deceptively attractive economic system than it was during slavery in America. Therefore, the attempt Hawkins makes to evince how Black male student-athletes are similar to slaves during slavery in America ultimately fails because his central thesis needs to be informed by a serious understanding of late capitalism (postmodernism).

My notion of colleges and universities being postmodern plantations for Black male student-athletes is informed carefully by Fredric Jameson’s characterization of postmodernism (late capitalism). During slavery in America, Black people knew without a doubt that they were slaves. Black male student-athletes do not know that they are slaves today. Many are given scholarships that pay their tuition and room and board, but this uneven exchange exploits them in academic, economic, and physical ways that are much more dishonest than during the colonial plantation system. The focus that Hawkins devotes to making connections between the treatment of slaves during slavery to the treatment of Black male student-athletes in our postmodern period are important, but he misses how much more sophisticated colleges and universities have developed the postmodern plantation.

Predominantly White colleges and universities have made most Black student-athletes think that they are happy because they get to play the sports they enjoy, get free tuition and housing, and have a chance to compete professionally. During slavery, most slaves were not happy just receiving the bare minimums. Free tuition and room and board are the bare minimums today.

The NCAA is a cartel. This despicable governing body is only interested in helping colleges and universities to keep getting richer so that the executive leadership of the NCAA can keep getting richer. The NCAA is the force that allows this postmodern plantation system to persist and that makes the postmodern plantation system increasingly more dominant. The refusal of the NCAA to allow student-athletes to be given stipends in exchange for participating in intercollegiate athletic sports is a deliberate attempt to exploit not only Black male student-athletes but all student-athletes.

The least that these predominantly White colleges and universities can do is give student-athletes enough money in the form of stipends to pay for their own private tutors, tutors outside of the athletic department.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Cam Newton Will Inevitably Return the Heisman Trophy

Auburn University quarterback Cameron Newton has had unquestionably one of the most phenomenal seasons in college football history. Without a doubt, Cam Newton has been the best player on the field this year. Unfortunately, the Heisman Trophy is about more than just being the best player on the field. You also have to demonstrate integrity off the field. Cam simply has not evinced integrity off the field. The NCAA has stated that Cecil Newton, Cam’s father, was found guilty of seeking out money in exchange for Cam’s signing with the team willing to offer the most money. He wanted this money to go into his pocket—not for his son’s education. Cam has repeatedly denied knowing that his father was seeking money in exchange for his attendance at the institution willing to give the most money. Please! He has repeatedly expressed how close he is with his father. Cam said that he was not disappointed with what his father did. What? Are you kidding me? The Heisman Trophy Trust still gave Cameron Newton the Heisman Trophy.

The Heisman Trophy Trust should have given the Heisman Trophy to another student-athlete who would have represented it with decency and integrity. Because of the evidence against Cam and more evidence potentially coming forth, the Heisman Trophy Trust should have learned from the Reggie Bush example that Cam should not be awarded the trophy. With all of the attention on Cam, the evidence that links him to knowledge about his father seeking money from schools on his behalf will come forth and other evidence too. Cam will be declared ineligible!

As a serious supporter of Black male college student-athletes, I would have loved to cherish the moment of him winning the Heisman Trophy, but I am not able to do this. The NCAA should have declared Cam ineligible to play and forfeited all of Auburn’s games this season. I have a history of supporting Black male college student-athletes, and have devoted my life to ameliorating the educational experiences and outcomes of Black male student-athletes. I cannot support Cam’s dishonesty and his off the field actions that dishonor the prestige and integrity of the Heisman Trophy. While people, including my mother, love Cam’s disarming smile and his consistent references to God, I can only wish that his smile and references to God would have been thought of when he was off the field engaging in all kinds of illegal actions.

Cecil Newton, you should be ashamed of yourself! You are supposed to be a man of God. You were not an example for your son.

The Heisman Trophy Trust needs to reform its eligibility rules for a student-athlete to be considered for the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman Trophy Trust cannot simply depend on rulings from the NCAA. With Cam Newton receiving the Heisman trophy on yesterday, the honor and prestige that the trophy symbolizes has been significantly diminished. Cam get ready to return the Heisman Trophy in the days to come!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Cameron Newton is a Fraud

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) should have declared Cameron Newton ineligible to participate in NCAA intercollegiate athletics until a full investigation into various allegations about Cameron Newton could have been conducted. Although Cameron Newton has played phenomenally this season, this should not give him any special privileges. The NCAA has found that Cecil Newton, Cameron Newton’s father, did seek money in exchange for his son’s signing with certain schools, but the NCAA contends that Cameron Newton did not know anything about it and neither did Auburn. Yeah right! Cam Newton claims that he did not know that his father was seeking money in exchange for his signing. Yeah right! If the NCAA does not immediately declare Cameron Newton ineligible and take away all of Auburn’s wins this season, then the NCAA will prove without a shadow of doubt that it is a corrupt cartel.

Now, if I would have interviewed Cameron Newton after he won the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship against the South Carolina Gamecocks, the interview would have went tremendously different. Trust me—I would not have allowed his use of a hackneyed biblical scripture to prevent me from asking him probing questions. My first question would have been where’s your daddy? My second question would have been did you commit academic fraud on three papers while a student at the University of Florida? If he answers no to that question, I would then ask him why are credible people associated with the University of Florida who oversee disciplinary issues involving students saying that you did? Next, I would ask him do you really expect for the American people to believe that you did not know that your father was seeking money in exchange for you playing at a certain school? I would finally ask him why is it that you always find yourself surrounded in controversies involving illegal and criminal activities? I would end by telling him that the scripture that he used only refers to those who are saved—he cannot be saved with all of those lies he continues to tell. Repent Cameron Newton! The interview he gave after the SEC Championship game would have certainly went very differently if I was the interviewer—that’s for sure. I’m too intelligent, too skilled of a questioner, and too unsettling of a person to allow him to evade those aforementioned questions that most people want real answers to. I would have asked probing follow-ups to those questions. It would have been a post-game interview to remember!

The NCAA has simply been unfair in how it has treated Cameron Newton in comparison with how wrong they treated A.J. Green of the Georgia Bulldogs. Did A.J. Green and/or Georgia not have enough money to please the NCAA? We need to replace the NCAA with a serious governing body that will be a fair agency to oversee intercollegiate athletics. At the end of the day, Auburn is a fraudulent university and Cameron Newton is a fraudulent student, student-athlete, and person. Oh yeah, Cecil Newton is a fraudulent person and pastor.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison