News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Z_CNHI News Service

April 1, 2014

Mark Cuban's pork predictions also apply to NCAA

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and a hugely successful entrepreneur, spoke out recently about the National Football League's desire to expand its mid-week TV broadcasts.

He summed up the idea in a word: Greedy.

“Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,” he said, warning that the NFL’s vast empire could implode in the next 10 years if it continues thinking that bigger is better.

“I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule No.1 of business.”

Cuban’s comments were inflammatory but not meritless. Time will tell whether he's right about the NFL overexposing its product. But I caught myself reflecting on his observation when news broke that a small group of football players at Northwestern University had won the right to unionize, if they wish.

A ruling by the director of the National Labor Relations Board's office in Chicago has college officials buzzing – and worried.

It was an early-round victory in a battle sure to carry on for a long time. There will be further hearings and appeals, and the Supreme Court or Congress will probably be the final arbiter. But any decree will have a far-reaching impact on college sports.

The Northwestern case hinges on whether the football players are truly “student athletes” or employees of the university, and if their on-field efforts lead to a significant amount of money that benefits Northwestern.

A close reading of the ruling is enjoyable for those who like to examine legal briefs. In the end, it turns on two  questions: Is someone profiting, and if so to what degree?

Historically college players benefitted from a plan that provided them tuition, the cost of room and board, plus some incidental money for books. In turn, colleges sold tickets to games and reaped other revenue from playing in bowl games. The system seemed to work for everyone.

Things changed as television opportunities grew, marketing niches were created, and colleges raked in huge amounts of new income. Salaries for coaches and athletic directors skyrocketed.

Then the day came when those playing the games and attracting the crowds asked, “What about us? Where’s our fair cut?”

The sport that was once a collegiate pastime evolved into a big business where those most responsible for providing entertainment – the players – don't share in rewards at a level commensurate with their contribution.

The financial stakes continue to grow.

How will this end? The legal fight, now waged on several fronts, could continue until someone wins, or the sides could work out a solution that's agreeable to both.

That would seem reasonable but require a major break from how business has been conducted for decades. Athletes have never had a seat at the table. Tradition holds that they're always left out of the talks.

What’s different now is that athletes are gaining leverage, not just legally but in the realm of public opinion.

The NCAA, major conferences and universities have other legal worries. Ed O’Bannon’s class-action, anti-trust lawsuit over the use of his likeness and those of other athletes is proceeding.

The NCAA and its member institutions can ill afford to lose this high-stakes game. Compromise is possible, although difficult.

The alternative is for college officials to dismiss Cuban’s caution - “Pigs get fact, hogs get slaughtered" - and live with the consequences of being greedy.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Recording May Show Attempt at Crash Cover-up AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: Gaza City Shelling Attack 45 Years Later, Buzz Aldrin on Walking on Moon Wisc. Twins Celebrate a Century of Laughter Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast
NDN Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity