A frequent topic on this blog has been the NCAA and its member institutions’ corrupt regulation of intercollegiate sports.
It’s an entertaining system of corruption, but corrupt nonetheless.
Particularly appalling is the NCAA’s restriction of compensation to football and basketball players, who are the people who actually generate most of the wealth for the university athletic programs.
In that regard, a couple of news items from yesterday highlight the absurdities that often arise from this perverse regulatory scheme.
First, the University of Texas announced that it has increased the annual salary of its head football coach, Mack Brown, to a cool $5 million.
Now, Brown is a good coach who has done a fine job over the past 12 seasons at Texas. And he is a wonderful man who is a great representative for the University of Texas.
But the only way that UT can rationalize or afford to pay him $5 million per year is that it is not paying a portion of its football income as compensation to the players who create the income in the first place.
By way of comparison, in the National Football League — which is simply a higher level of professional football than big-time college football — very few coaches earn $5 million per year despite the fact that NFL franchises generate far more income than UT’s football program does.
One of the primary reasons that NFL teams do not generally pay such amounts to their coaches is that a substantial portion of the each NFL team’s income is paid to players as compensation.
So, to put it bluntly, Brown makes $5 million annually because UT and the NCAA prevent Longhorn players from receiving fair compensation for the considerable risks that they take.
Meanwhile, excess regulation almost always generates creative efforts to get around those regulations.
Thus, many big-time college football programs provide indirect compensation to their athletes through exclusive use of luxurious "resort" facilities, such as private housing, elaborate workout centers and special academic services.
But those elaborate resort facilities all look alike after awhile.
So, what additional form of indirect compensation can a football program offer to attract the best athletes?
The University of Tennessee has apparently came up with one by utilizing upon one of the oldest forms of compensation known to man.
The NCAA Rules and Regulation Manual already rivals the Internal Revenue Code in terms of length and mind-numbing detail.
Perhaps the Tennessee investigation may at least result in a new section of the NCAA Manual that the football coaches and college administrators might actually enjoy reading?