Stop the College Sports TV Juggernaut

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What is one thing you would do to fix college sports?

How to Fix College Sports The source of the present problems can be traced to 1984 when the U.S. Supreme Court, in the landmark decision NCAA v. Oklahoma, stripped the NCAA of its monopoly power over broadcasting rights to college athletics events. Justice White, in his dissent against the decision, supported the NCAA's right to monopoly power. White argued that the NCAA monopoly "fosters the goal of amateurism by spreading revenues among various schools and reducing the financial incentives toward professionalism." Justice White wisely understood that the NCAA's loss of monopoly broadcast power would lead to an escalating competition for money among schools. White feared that no single institution could confidently enforce its own standards, since it could not trust its competitors to do the same.

The result: Coaches and athletics administrators are constantly pressured to spend more; to recruit successfully so they can win; to win so they can fill stadiums and go on television and to the playoffs; to make more money so that new, state-of-the-art arenas can be built, salaries can be raised and so on.

In 1991 when I was in Congress, I introduced legislation to restore the NCAA broadcasting monopoly in return for a college president-controlled NCAA and revenue distribution that was not dependent on win-loss records but on a school's diversity of programs, including Title IX compliance and the academic performance of its student-athletes. Schools that did not want to be part of this collective NCAA (similar to the NFL) would lose the non-profit status of their athletic departments. My bill would have provided a living stipend for student athletes and would have insured a five-year term for their scholarships.

I believe that if Congress restored this "benevolent monopoly" status to the NCAA that the juggernaut of commercialism would be dramatically weakened.

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C. Thomas McMillen is a former NCAA and NBA basketball player and a former Democratic Representative from Maryland.

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