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UCLA & Reorganization of College Sports

November 16, 2017

The case of three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in the People’s Republic of China raises serious issues about how college sports are managed, the recruitment of players for their skill in sports, but not their academic ability, training of college athletes vs. preparing them for the demands of college academics, and the role that “big time” sports play in American higher education.

Yesterday three UCLA basketball players gave a press conference at which they admitted their guilt and apologized for multiple acts of shoplifting while their team was on tour in the People’s Republic of China.  Their apologies were heartfelt, and CNN reported that UCLA basketball coach, Steve Alford, announced that all three had been suspended indefinitely.

Let’s break out some of the important issues this event represents.

A. If the players were stupid enough to steal during a visit to a communist nation, were they academically qualified for admission to UCLA?

1. Too often college athletes are recruited and admitted to college without academic  qualifications.

B. Will UCLA basketball coach, Steve Alford, be punished? He did not prepare his players for what can happen in communist countries if visitors violate the law.

1. Coach Alford should be fired.

C. Will the NCAA investigate and censure UCLA?

1. Not on your life. the NCAA, like the NFL, is designed to protect institutions from   scrutiny and should be reorganized.

D. Is big time college sports out of control?

1. You bet!

E. If so, what can be done to diminish sporting events from detracting from the academic mission of accredited colleges and universities?

1) Forget “amateur” sports, they don’t exist.

2) Treat college players as professional athletes and compensate them appropriately.

F. Organize college basketball, baseball and football under the auspices of the professional basketball, baseball and football leagues.

1) Treat them as you would minor-league teams and

2) hold a competition where all the “big league” sport teams are sold to the professional leagues.

G) Are student athletes taken advantage of by “the system” of college sport and should they be granted the rights of collective bargaining?

1) You bet!

2) Permit players to organize for collective bargaining.

H)  Is gambling on college sporting events a problem?

1) It is a major problem.


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