In "The Shame of College Sports," Taylor Branch writes that the NCAA has "an unmistakable whiff of the plantation" and that student-athletes are denied their Constitutional right to due process. Agree or disagree?
Totally agree, of course. But why back off the "slavery" analogy? I think that term—even though it implies a more disturbing construct—is precisely the type of analogy that makes more people turn their heads and openly question the NCAA's policies. At Deadspin, we've focused more on the media's approach to this issue, likening the tireless energy some publications have devoted to exposing athletes and coaches who run afoul of the NCAA's antiquated system as "mall cops." We do this not to discredit the reporting, but more so to encourage them to shift targets. All these stories about corrupt institutions tend to write around the NCAA's culpability and to obsess over the subordinate clauses of the larger narrative, attacking the symptoms rather than the disease. This only serves to embolden the system and derail the careers of well-intentioned students and coaches who are, more often than not, trying to enrich their own lives and build winning programs.
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