Saturday, March 17, 2012

"It's the coaches making millions—not only off their university contracts, but also through shoe deals and talk shows. Meanwhile, we were getting penalized if we took an extra pair of sneakers."

Patrick Hruby writes in The Atlantic:

"The athletes were fed up. Tired of feeling exploited. Sick of having no say. They came up with a plan. Just before the opening games of the 1995 National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament, players from schools including Wake Forest, the University of California at Los Angeles and the top-ranked University of Massachusetts would walk to center court. Sit down on the floor. Let the balls remain idle.

In other words, they would go on strike.

"Seventy-five percent of the [opening games] not being played," former Massachusetts guard Rigo Nunez later recalled in a radio interview. "It was going to be huge. Definitely change the way we operate from an NCAA perspective, the whole scope of amateur sports."

Of course, the work stoppage never happened. The players got cold feet. America's office pools went on as scheduled. So did big-time college sports, a multibillion-dollar branding tool masquerading as a tax-exempt educational exercise, a maddening mishmash of hokey amateurism and ruthless cartel economics. Still, with the NCAA's annual One Shining Moment nearly upon us—and the fundamental inequities of major campus athletics becoming increasingly shameful—the time is right to finish what Nunez and his peers started. Because college sports as we know them won't change unless they're forced to."

Read the rest here.

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