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Good stuff.


It doesn't have to be either/or. Many MLB players and NHL players played in college but, unlike the NFL (and to a lesser extent, the NBA), playing in college is not a prerequisite to becoming a pro.

MLB players can sign a minor league deal out of high school and hockey players can play in the major junior leagues, which is also kind of exploitative too but it's more flexible and at least nobody is pretending it's not a business. So in those sports, aspiring pros have a real choice and therefore everyone playing in college - even if they are a pro prospect - chose to be in college because it's college, not just for sports. Or, at least, their parents want them in college, but that's true of college students in general too. Kids will be kids.


In baseball, if you go to a four year college, you can't be drafted again until three years later, which is one reason why so many guys go to junior college. In hockey, you get drafted at 18 (usually) and then can play in college until the team that owns your rights signs you. Lots of good players leave after a year or two, but the statistics show that players who play in the NCAA are far more likely to earn a degree eventually than guys who play in the major junior system, even though major junior teams give players all kinds of scholarship money to get an education on their own time.

There are problems with college baseball and hockey too - and unionization might help make it more fair - but overall that's more or less the best development system for major pro team sports.

Because to shift to the other extreme, like in Europe or Canada where there are no athletic scholarships at all, would throw the baby out with the bathwater. In that system, kids as young as 13 are put into a professional environment where their coaches' livelihood depends entirely on the players' athletic development (and in junior hockey, the teams are trying to win a championship, not just develop future pros). The kid may go to school - the pro club or junior team might even pay for it - but sports are the priority.

That's a problem because most of those kids aren't going to make it as pros, so you end up with a whole bunch of kids who've fixated on sports throughout their adolescence and now have no sports career to show for it. Despite all of it's many flaws and needs for reform, the NCAA system gives athletes - especially the ones still in high school - an incentive to at least sort of pay attention to their school work, which will help them in the long run. Ideally, kids would focus on school because they know that they need a good education to make something of themselves later in life, but in reality, many kids don't think that far ahead, especially if everyone is telling them how awesome they are in sports. In fact, many of their parents don't think too clearly about this stuff either. 

Plus, the NCAA restricts the hours of practice, number of games, etc, and the universities are incentivized to help their players succeed it school. Of course, that also creates incentives for universities to help their athletes cheat in school, but on the balance, it's better to have the occasional cheating scandal amidst a lot of athletes getting legit degrees rather than a system that encourages young athletes to forget about school completely.

And if kids who didn't really want to be in college could just go play in the minors instead, a lot of the cheating and players taking only gut classes just to stay eligible would disappear.


6 months, 3 weeks ago on Why College Sports Prevail Over Minor Leagues: Brands Matter

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@stholeary I guess it was a case of "never hurts to ask."


7 months, 1 week ago on Did ESPN try to help recruit Big Ten schools to the ACC?

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@AntypastoThis post doesn't make much sense, I'm afraid. Look into using some punctuation, grammar, and breaks. But I think you're trying to defend ESPN even though they haven't really been accused of doing anything wrong other than trying to maximize their own revenue and it's hardly a secret that they do that. Do you work for ESPN?


Yes, this is part of a lawsuit. But just because Maryland stands to gain from proving these accusations or that the lawyer is running for governor doesn't mean they aren't true. Doesn't mean they are true either, but that's why we have courts. We don't have to depend on our judgement of somebody's credibility or character to know if they're lying or not. There will be evidence, or the lack thereof. You seem to think that just because somebody has an angle that they're lying. That's an example of an ad hominem fallacy.

Contrary to popular belief, nobody "poached" anybody in these realignments. Schools choose the conference that makes the most sense for them. Usually, that's about football money, some ADs and presidents actually care about their university as a whole and all of their sports, not just football. Nebraska never liked the BigXII because it was slanted toward Texas. The BigTen is a better fit for all of their sports and so far they've been a fantastic addition, especially in football, volleyball, and baseball.

Maryland left the ACC because, with the BigTen network and the massive fanbases in the BigTen, it makes more financial sense to be in the BigTen than the ACC. Also, the addition of BC, Miami, Pitt, etc, have so diluted the traditional ACC basketball schedule and rivalries, that many Maryland fans don't care about the ACC much anymore anyway.


Rutgers joined the BigTen for the same reasons Maryland did, but also because the BigEast was a second-tier football conference with no strong identity or TV network, and with the departure of all of the Catholic basketball-focused schools, it's not even a conference anymore. Besides, Rutgers never did much in men's basketball in the league and only joined the BigEast in 1995, so it's not as if their fans have a lot of sentimental sepia-toned memories of great Big East games in the Chuck Taylor-wearing days, etc.

It's ridiculous for people to go into a moral panic about conference realignments as if the old alignments were eternal and sacred. The main reason these conferences exist, as opposed to just letting each sport set up sport-specific leagues based on geography or other rational basis, is for ease of scheduling and TV money. But mostly TV money. It has been that way for over 30 years.


There's no easy answer. Hopefully, the the schools - and, someday, the players - can protect their interests against the financial and political clout of the TV networks, because the influence of TV is not all good.

But it's how most of us follow the sport. It's hypocritical for fans to complain about that while they enjoy being able to see their team on TV. Nobody is going to put all those games on at a loss just as a service to the fans. It's a commercial enterprise and has to bend to the rules of commerce to some extent.

We take the good with the bad. 

I'm old enough to remember when even the top college football teams were each only on TV a few times a year. As a fan, the current situation is way better.  Basketball wouldn't be anywhere nearly as popular as it is now without massive investment from the TV networks, and fans of less popular college sports like wrestling and lacrosse could only see them if we saw them live, which is one major reason (but not the only one) why they lag the major sports in popularity.



7 months, 1 week ago on Did ESPN try to help recruit Big Ten schools to the ACC?

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@zachphillips@lendamicoBasketball is not awesome for those of us who do not find it to be awesome.


7 months, 1 week ago on Did ESPN try to help recruit Big Ten schools to the ACC?

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As Pennsylvania "state related" schools, Pitt and Penn State don't have to disclose a whole lot. It's a rather contentious issue in this post-Sandusky world, but it's still the way it is. So your assumption that everything is FOIA-able probably does not hold water.

Besides, informal meetings can be held in secret. It's not that hard.

Even if ESPN didn't actually dictate any strategy, you can be certain that the ACC (and every conference) is always looking into how it can make itself more attractive to ESPN and other TV providers, but mainly ESPN.



ESPN doesn't care if they get caught. What rule would they have violated? It's not a secret that all of these conference alignment changes are 100% about football TV money and a huge chunk of that comes from ESPN/ABC.

ESPN doesn't *need* anything, but that's not how businesses work. There is no limit to their desire for more money and more growth. As part of a massive publicly traded company, their executives have a fiduciary duty to make as much money as they can.



It's entirely possible that Fox wanted the B1G to add Rutgers to join for exactly the reason you explain. Why is that so hard to believe? The simpler explanation is that the B1G ten wants to get their network on a lower tier cable package in the NYC tri-state as well as better sell the "brands" of their universities in the NYC area, but if it benefits YES and Fox, then all the more reason for Fox execs to do what they can to help make the deal happen.

After all, the Rutgers AD that made that happen, Tim Pernetti, was a TV guy before becoming AD, so he knows that business and the people in it. After the Mike Rice thing, Pernetti is now Chief Business Officer for the expansion MLS club NYCFC, which is owned by Manchester City FC and the Yankees and their matches will be on YES. He never played soccer or managed a soccer club before except that Rutgers has men's and women's teams. That could all be a coincidence, but it shows that all of these people know each other and talk to each other.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Did ESPN try to help recruit Big Ten schools to the ACC?

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Mistake in the article: Columbus drew 80.3%, not Edmonton. Edmonton filled their building 100%.

1 year, 3 months ago on A look at the NHL's 2013 regular season attendance numbers | May | 2013 Articles

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@AndrewWelter Yes. And grown adults obsess over the draft ... We talkin' about The Draft, Not a game, not a game, not a game. We talkin' about the Draft. Why do NFL fans obsess over this. You won't know FOR years if your team did well and it's been shown pretty conclusively that the "experts" predictions of who will be good and who won't aren't very accurate. I'm a college football fan, so I want to see my team's guys get paid and go to good organizations, but I can cover that in about 10 minutes on the Sunday of the Draft. And note that most of ESPN's draft content is behind their pay wall. People PAY extra for this.

1 year, 3 months ago on People were very angry at Jason La Canfora for tipping picks | April | 2013

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@bmurray912 @hullcity2010 Non of it is *important.* The CL is a "bigger stage," but I'd say that missing promotion for a middling club is probably more Bill Buckner-in-86 level gutpunch for it's fans than anything that happens in a CL match among big clubs. The big clubs will still be big clubs for years to come regardless of what happens this year, while this could change the history of Doncaster or Brentford for a long time. The only thing that would be more gutwrenching is if this match were for staying up vs relegation.

1 year, 3 months ago on Video: Is this the most improbable finish to a soccer game imaginable? | April | 2013

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@thrllkll I think I'm going to start trolling every NBA and NFL thread and point out how fucking dull those sports are just so the smug asshats who don't understand soccer get an idea how unfunny and irritating they are.

1 year, 3 months ago on Video: Is this the most improbable finish to a soccer game imaginable? | April | 2013

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@Giantsfan1982 Japan won and were well worth watching in the process.

1 year, 5 months ago on The World Baseball Classic could fall further from our consciousness | March | 2013

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@GTown_Dave I hate this kind of conservatism among baseball fans. "Something new? Something not involving the Yankees? It must be a dumb gimmick." No wonder baseball is losing popularity. There are a lot of good players in this tournament and it lets us see how the rest of the world watches the game. It also exposes us to some great players who aren't in MLB as well as some different styles, especially with Japan. It is stuck in a catch-22. All the best players won't play in it if it's not perceived as a big deal and it won't be a big deal until all the best players are in it. Putting the games on in the middle of the night on a station most people don't see can't help. It would also help if the games were at a different time of year. Maybe play some instead of the all-star game and some after the World Series. Interfering with spring training deters a lot of players. In most other sports, international play is the pinnacle of the game and rightly regarded as a great honor, but Americans are generally too insular to know or understand that.

1 year, 5 months ago on The World Baseball Classic could fall further from our consciousness | March | 2013

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