Posts Tagged ‘universities’

The NCAA is Hypocritical About Pay for Sports vs Other Activities

April 18, 2012

In the long-gone days when I was in college, I competed in many civic public speaking tournaments, sponsored by such organizations as the Rotary, Toastmasters, Lion’s Club, and even the city judicial oratorical contest. I won a number of cash prizes; nothing major, but up to $100, which was quite a bit in those days. I also competed in inter-collegiate debate and public speaking competitions. Another inter-collegiate competition I participated in, again winning certain prizes, was contract bridge. As a matter of fact, my primary side income during college was working as a professional bridge player at a local club. This involved teaching lessons, playing “rubber” bridge as a form of gambling, and being paid by clients to play with them in tournaments. At the time, my girlfriend played for the school orchestra, which participated in inter-collegiate musical competitions, and she also played for money for small local orchestras and at a few restaurants.

This is not meant as a form of bragging (well, not totally!), but rather setting the stage to ask the question: Why should my girlfriend and I be permitted to make money in the exact forms of competitions we were involved in as a college students, when students who were on the inter-collegiate sports teams were forbidden to take a cent, in any form or manner, related to their sport, and even other sports?

Frankly, it really doesn’t take a lot of research or contemplation to figure out why. It’s simply that no or very few spectators will pay to watch those events, and there is no outside organization, such as television or radio, willing to pay colleges money in order to broadcast or otherwise make money from those other collegiate activities. In actual fact, there are really very few inter-collegiate sports that the broadcast media want, because they are not supported by commercial messages. Obviously football and basketball are, and certain major events such as the College World Series of baseball, but really not many. Of course, the NCAA, as dictated by the college presidents, insist that the broadcast media pick up many other sports as part of the package because they want to promote those sports (read: want to pretend that they value them just as much as they value the actual revenue producing sports), but how much play does the media give those other sports, and how big of an audience do they actually draw, paying or not?

Naturally, the NCAA can’t be “hypocritical” about total amateurism versus a “student athlete” making money in any of those other sports, which oddly includes golf, which is about as athletic as the contract bridge I used to play. If one sport is banned from the participants making money and still playing at the collegiate level, then they must all be banned. Frankly, I don’t think the NCAA really gives a damn if the athletes in volleyball or tennis or water polo play for money and then play for their college team. However, it would look really bad if they were allowed to when the “major sports” athletes were not allowed, so the NCAA has to make a blanket policy.

But not for other activities, as I’ve pointed out. What, really, is the difference? Money. That’s it. The NCAA makes money off of certain major sports, makes not a dime from any other type of activity that college students do, and so they have to create a way to control the product so that they can maximize their profits.

This goes way back in history to the pretense of “amateurism” in the Olympics, tennis tournaments, and other sporting events. Both the Olympics and tennis were making hundreds of millions from gate receipts and broadcast rights without paying the athletes a dime (well, the tennis tournaments did give players “expense money” under the table, but it wasn’t a lot). Eventually, the professionals boycotted the major tennis tournaments until they forced promoters to give them prize money, and the Olympics “allowed” professionals to join in, but for the same pay as the amateurs: medals.

There have been countless articles concerning the hypocrisy of the NCAA itself, as well as the universities, making billions of dollars through broadcast contracts, gate receipts, souvenir sales, sponsor endorsements, and other income streams, without allowing any athlete to openly accept one penny–even a free lunch from a recruiter–for his or her efforts. There have been countless articles about how much the coaches make, the ADs make, and even the trainers make, while the athletes must sacrifice their bodies, perhaps even their minds, for a few cheers and a pat on the back. This article is not about those things.

This article is meant to ask one question: if college students can participate in inter-collegiate events in any other field of endeavor, and then accept pay to do the exact same thing out in the real world, what gives the NCAA the right to forbid athletes from having the same right as any other student? There is only one difference, and that’s money. The NCAA can mouth pious sermons about the sanctity of amateurism in sports until they are blue in the face, but I only have three words in response: hypocrites, hypocrites, hypocrites.

AB 131 “California Dream Act” orders colleges to serve illegal immigrant students — at the sacrifice of taxpayers and their children

March 27, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB131—the second half of the so-called “California Dream Act”—into law on Oct. 8, 2011. It has subsequently been approved by the UC Regents. Given the bloated salaries of the ridiculous number of top administrators and their obscene benefits packages, they did not dare to rock the already listing State boat by vetoing the bill; they know which way the political winds are shifting in increasingly liberal California. The law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013.

When it is fully implemented, the “Dream Act” will cost California taxpayers millions of dollars, and deny the children of those citizens the state education and financial aid they deserve so that illegal students can take their place. It’s already nearly impossible for current students to get the classes they need in order to graduate on time—assuming they can win one of the increasingly tight spots for admission—and that will only get worse. In fact, passing of the legislation has already started costing taxpayers their hard-earned money.

How is it already costing the state money? Because all state college systems are required to spend man-hours and dollars “educating” eligible students on their new rights.

Barbra Hubler, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid at SF State, says that as soon as the new law took effect the school began to work with the estimated 300 undocumented students now enrolled there. “The CSU Chancellor’s Office will provide guidance to the campuses on how to implement the changes mandated by the California Dream Act for state financial aid programs,” explains Hubler. adding that many illegal students are unaware of the changes. Sadly, her office’s limited resources and time constraints make it difficult to provide students with counseling and comprehensive information. SF State’s financial aid office has already implemented changes to help students get more information about scholarships they may qualify for. The office currently has two advisers dedicated to assisting “Dream Act” students, and provides training to financial aid and other campus departments to increase staff awareness about the law and its requirements.

But that’s the tip of the ever-dangerous iceberg. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Student Aid Commission, which administers Cal Grants, calculates that 5,462 undocumented students will be eligible for state aid in the 2013-14 school year. Most Cal Grants pay the cost of basic tuition, currently $12,192 at UC, and $5,472 at CSU, for a total of slightly more than $13 million. Earlier reports put the dollar cost at over $40 million annually, which no doubt took into account that “many undocumented students also will be eligible for a fee waiver at community colleges for very low-income students, and others will qualify for institutional aid provided by CSU and UC.” In other words, even if the illegal students get a loan, don’t expect them to have to pay it back.

There are dissenting voices in the legislature. “Tuition rates have been going up, the universities have budget cuts of $1.2 billion and there are lotteries for classes – but if someone is here illegally, we roll out the red carpet,” said Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks (San Bernardino County), who serves as vice chairman of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee. Exactly. We are cheating our own children out of their rightful opportunity, and paying out of our pockets to give those opportunities to students who are draining our economy in many other ways already (free lower level education, free health benefits, food programs, special education classes such as ESL, etc., etc.).” But who listens to people who speak from reason rather than emotion?

How could this possibly cheat “our own children”? Here is a quote from the University of California’s mission statement: “Through our academic programs, UC helps create an educated workforce that keeps the California economy competitive. And, through University Extension, with a half-+million enrollments annually, UC provides continuing education for Californians to improve their job skills and enhance the quality of their lives.”

In other words, the UC and CSU systems were set up to improve the lot of California’s citizens, the children of parents who are legal residents and actually pay for the system through their tax dollars. Whether or not these illegal students may choose to remain in California and contribute to our economy (if they ever pay income tax), what this law does is greatly diminish the opportunities for those who already pay for and deserve a spot in one of our state institutions, as well as the possibility of financial aid—which, by the way, is also paid for by California citizens.

The fact that no other country in the world will provide an American citizen with free education is irrelevant. On the other hand, the statement by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who said that many such students are brought to this country as children “and didn’t do anything illegal themselves,” is equally irrelevant.

What is relevant is that there are many private institutions throughout the country where those students can get an education, the same as any other American citizen. They are also allowed into the UC system if their grades permit, as are many foreign students who pay out-of-state tuition. But to grant these illegal aliens both thousands of places in our state colleges and millions of dollars of taxpayer money is not only an insult to state taxpayers, it is blatantly unfair to the children who are here legally and who deserve those benefits.

As a teacher, I urge both legislators and college administrators to follow the primary maxim of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. It’s wonderful to give a California higher education to illegal aliens, but not when we are doing harm by denying the same opportunity to our own children.

I am the third generation of grandparents who came here from Mexico. My grandparents became citizens through the normal process, and they paid their taxes. I attended the UC system, but received no state aid. I can understand the financial stress of these illegal students, but, frankly, they have other options, and the children of Californians—that is, citizens—come first in my book. Getting a great education at one of our state institutions is a dream, yes, but one becoming much more of an unattainable one to the children of actual taxpayers, thanks to Jerry Brown and other political pimps who pander to the growing majority of Hispanics, legal or illegal, in this state. With the growing political pressure from illegal aliens, the state politicians continue to sell out the rights of legal citizens.