Thursday, November 15, 2012

Once Again, The NCAA is Decadent and Depraved (Let Shabazz Play!)
While you know my stance on saying "Free (insert name)", I support Flea getting on board with the unfair treatment of UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad.
Full disclosure here. I don't like the NCAA. I don't like the charade they represent. I think they are an outdated model fueled by greed and the desire to swing their power around. They claim to be about student-athletes and yet bring the hammer down on common sense situations instead of use wise discretion.

Shabazz Muhammad is the latest person to see this. The NCAA has made him ineligible to play for UCLA this season so far for taking "benefits" that apparently they knew about two years ago and approved. According to his family, the NCAA approved Benjamin Lincoln providing for housing and a plane ticket for unofficial trips to North Carolina.

Mind you, Lincoln is not connected with Duke or North Carolina so there is no bias here. He's not a booster. He's a financial advisor who's known Muhammad since he was in 7th grade. Now unless you want to assume that we all knew Muhammad would be a superstar in 2007, I believe this friendship goes deeper than just fame.

Surely the NCAA would see this after investigating for a year, right? Then again, this is the same organization that suspended Baylor forward Perry Jones at the end of the 2010-11 season after finding out his mother asked his AAU coach for money so they could make ends meet. Money that she paid back, by the way.

But they don't care. They see money exchanging hands and assume that it's corruption. It's like that famous scene in Casablanca (which upon watching reminds me exactly of the NCAA)

The NCAA wants to stop everybody from getting money. Problem is, they're swallowing up money by the millions and billions. In 2010-11, the NCAA generated $845.9 million - with 81% coming from TV rights. In 2011-12, that number was projected at $777 million. Take a look here at how much money the power conferences generated from television.

And yet, they want to convince you and me that paying college athletes is nonsense.

They want to investigate the top players in the country to make sure they are clean. They want to keep guys like Muhammad off the court. Since the season started, San Diego State freshman Winston Shepherd also received a 3-game suspension for benefits. It leads people to call these kids entitled and money hungry without giving fans all the information behind that money.

Yet does the NCAA regulate the BCS where there is rampant corruption and non-power conference bias? Of course not. Thy right hand knoweth not what the left is doing and while they clamp down with an iron fist, they take money in the front and back door.

It's capitalism at its finest. It might even be communism - a system designed to benefit everybody working together but really exploiting the labor of the working class athletes. To use an Animal Farm connection, the NCAA = Napoleon and the pigs, the athletes = Boxer and the other hardworking animals.

Brian Bosworth's shirt says it all.

I know, I know. It's a privilege to play college sports. They get scholarships that cover most (but NOT all) of their costs. They travel all over the country. They get to be on TV. Just as long as they don't take any money because God forbid, all these benefits thrown at low-to-middle class players should be enough.

It should be if it was relative to what the NCAA was making. Ultimately the players get reminded it's a privilege every time somebody gets suspended for taking money. We don't think to ask what the circumstances are. We don't even think to ask if it's common sense for the NCAA to hammer every case like it's a booster trying to bribe a kid to attend his alma mater or favorite school.

For Shabazz Muhammad, it appears the NCAA has carried out justice without letting us see the process afforded him. And it makes matters worse when somebody overhears a conversation that suggests Muhammad was going to lose no matter what. Then you wonder why Arizona forward Solomon Hill made these comments that I supported 100%.

Muhammad should be playing for UCLA right now. The reason he's not? Because the NCAA and their stupidity/shortsightedness made him a martyr in the name of justice. They claim to protect student-athletes but end up hurting them instead. It's madness and I pray that as more folks read this case, they'll see the hypocrisy at work and start calling for justice.

A multi-million dollar empire that relishes throwing it's weight around shouldn't be upset at a kid getting loose change that didn't try to influence him to either school. Capitalism or communism, it's decadent and depraved to paraphrase the great Hunter S. Thompson.

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