THE BLOG
05/19/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

March (of the Indentured) Madness

Got your pool filled out? Great.

I am sure you nailed every one of those picks. (I am so ticked at Obama for knocking out Temple in the first round -- I may join a Tea Party.)

Let's have another tournament -- a "What is the Price" Tournament (I think the Price is Right is taken). As you watch the games, try to have a little calculator going in your head. Every time you see a commercial on the screen, calculate how much the sponsor paid for that ad. Every time you see a kid or a mom or a dad in the crowd with a team t-shirt -- put a dollar figure on that. Sum up all the ads embedded in the floor or along the scorer's table. Look in the newspaper for ads with the basketball motif. Make note of everyplace a dollar can be mined while watching the game or even thinking about it.

It is a game within a game.

Now multiply that value across all the games being played this weekend. What kind of number are you getting? I would guess it is pretty big.

Now, take a look at the kids on the court. Calculate how much are they getting paid. Oh, wait a minute -- they get a free education, room and board!

Ok, we'll play that way.

Let's look at that kids' schedule for the last 6 months. He practiced for X number of hours. He had to sleep for Y number of hours. He had "make-himself-presentable" time (eating, hygienic, etc) of Z number of hours. What about the travel schedule (packing, getting to the bus / plane, actual transit time, the hotel, to and from the arena), we can make that T number of hours. P is the number of hours actually participating in a game (training room time, warm-ups, the game itself, the showers).

Now let's really put these kids thru the wringer -- how many hours are spent actually IN THE CLASSROOM, study time, prep time for class, tutoring, mentoring. (Notice, I did not put downtime in here for the kids to relax and just be late teenagers or people growing into their 20's.)

You want to put these kids in the classroom to compete with full-time or even part-time students?

You still want to call this exchange of an education for athletic performance a fair deal?

Wow !!!

Again, these kids are being paid to generate huge sums of cash with what -- with an education very few people would be able to absorb given the hoops (no pun intended) these kids are being put through.

Read through some of the student athlete rules, and ask if what the NCAA does is fair?

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wants to penalize teams for not graduating 30% of their students. Has this guy thought through how the kid who is actually performing above the bar should be protected? I mean, that kid should not lose a year of eligibility because the program as a whole messed up. The whole thing is a cynical exercise.

I guess my point here to get a little intellectual honesty on the part of the NCAA, the Department of Education and those making obscene amounts of money.

If you give a kid a "scholarship" to play for a school, that school owes them whatever time it takes to complete the education. If you cannot do that, then just place the athletics under the marketing division of the college, it is a business after all, and cut the kid a check for the services rendered.

Like any business, you hire people to generate the bottom line for you. In this case it is national exposure. Recognition comes from a business investment of a coach, a few scholarships, and running a team. Much of this is on the backs of the kids. They should really pay the help, it just looks bad.

Quick quiz: Have you ever heard of Gonzaga? Moravian?

Can you name the 10 oldest schools in the country?