Mandeville, LA - Exclusive Audio and Transcript - John in Indiana thinks that all of the college foosball and basketball players are just using their scholarship to get a REAL education... well, keep dreaming John. Do you think that anyone that goes to USC or UCLA on the football program is really there for an education? No, they're there because the school's have become a minor league for the pro's. It's about the money and it's about the professional aspect of the sport, to say anything else is just to be in denial. Check out today's transcript and audio for more...
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Back to the Penn State thing, just one final coda on this. I have an email that has been sent to me now from listeners. “Mike, the problem with your argument,” writes John in Indy, “is that it relies on the dreams to go to a university and play foosball.” AG, they had a foosball table in the basement of the lake house I stayed at. Every time somebody would say foosball, I would drop the line from Water Boy, “Foosball, y’all goin’ downstairs to play the foosball.” “I think therein lies the problem. The NCAA was trying to, in their ruling, dismantle the culture where football supersedes the primary purpose of the university.” No they’re not! If they are, then they’ve got to shut the University of Miami and shut UCLA down forever, don’t they? Do you think anybody goes to USC or UCLA for an education that’s on the football program? Do you think anyone goes to the University of Miami for an education that’s on the football or basketball program? They go because it’s the minor leagues for the pros. It’s all about the money and it’s all about the professional aspect of the sport. To say anything else is just to be in denial.
That’s why I have to laugh at the NCAA playing culture warrior. You want to play culture warrior, then ban all the money in college sports. How about that? How about you don’t charge admission on game day, only enough to cover the expenses for the referees and field maintenance and stadium and what have you? How about that? John in Indy continues, “People should dream to go to a university to educate themselves.” John, you’re dreaming, sir. What university would you go to to learn anything, other than maybe St. Thomas Aquinas or Hillsdale? Send your kids off to these indoctrination centers with dreams of them coming home with a diploma so that they can participate in our never-ending road rage-infused rat race. To be fair with John in Indy, let me read his last paragraph in its entirety. “People should dream to go to a university to educate themselves, not play sports, and no one has taken that right away from the citizens of Pennsylvania.”
He is referring to me saying that Penn State is subsidized, it’s a state university, and all the taxpayers that must now continue to be subsidized -- why can’t taxpayers then opt out? Let me give a suggestion to the Pennsylvania legislature. Let’s bring this full circle. Allow the opt-out box on Pennsylvania state income tax returns: no, I do not want any of my tax dollars going to Pennsylvania State. No, I don’t want any of my sales tax dollars -- here’s how much I spent. Here’s all my receipts in sales taxes from the course of the last year. I want it all back. I don’t want a dime of it going to Penn State. You’re not able to do that. It is a sad situation but, again, therein lies -- the assumption is that collegiate athletic programs are there to develop the mind of the young athlete. I suppose at some small junior colleges, that may be true. Mr. Gruss, you played many a collegiate sport. Can you tell me what the crest of the NCAA has on it?
AG: I have no idea.
Mike: Oh, come on. You’ve seen it before. It’s the young man bowing his head for the guy to put the laurel on his head. You know what I’m talking about?
Mike: Look it up. The NCAA crest, National Collegiate Athletic Association. They show it on some college football games. Answer this question: do you know why the NCAA was founded? Have you ever heard the story?
Mike: It’s an interesting story. We should probably, just to make sure I get the dates and everything right -- it was founded as a support system for athletics in college. There was an incident, and I can’t recall exactly what it was, that necessitated the need for an NCAA. Of course, yesterday NCAA played grand poobah culture warrior and kicked Penn State out of their little club for four years. William McGurn writing about this at Wall Street Journal also wrote this:
Now it’s easy to say that the most powerful men at Penn State effectively provided Sandusky cover for his crimes, and in fact that is part of what former FBI Director Louis Freeh concludes in the investigation he carried out for Penn State’s trustees. It’s easy to believe, too, that these men were unduly motivated, as the report implies, by a desire not to incur the bad publicity that might harm a football brand bringing in millions each year. The harder question to answer is as follows: Is the NCAA’s emphasis on Penn State’s “culture” part of the cure or part of the disease? Even if fixing the culture were the answer, is an association with as little credibility as the NCAA really the vehicle to deliver it?
Mike: Don’t worry, William, they’re running a child abuse program now. I view the NCAA and college football and basketball and baseball as minor leagues for the big leagues, even though baseball actually has the temerity to have a farm league program.
AG: Can you make the argument, though, that there are programs throughout college that in essence serve as minor leagues, whether it be you go to a specific music school because it has shown a propensity, to Juilliard because it serves as a minor league to being a professional composer or musician, or you go to USC’s film school because it’s shown an ability to lead to being a big-time director? You charge money to go see composers at Juilliard. Can you make that comparison? It’s not on the same level, I understand, but in essence, doesn’t college serve as minor leagues to whatever profession you want to ultimately make a career out of?
Mike: I suppose you could make that. I’m not aware that there is a studio boss at the University of California Los Angeles film school and they churn blockbusters out there that earn billions of dollars and then that money is earned and divided up amongst the University of California university system. Ditto that for Juilliard. There are some famous people who went to Juilliard. Barry Manilow, for example, went to Juilliard. Is there a record of the Juilliard bridges to Manilow, bridges to weekends in New England and Barry Manilow concert tour?
AG: But if he’s performing at Juilliard and they’re charging admission to see a performance, the university is going to keep that revenue much like Penn State keeps their football revenue.
Mike: The comparison doesn’t follow because there’s no amateur status conferred upon a musician or a filmmaker, is there? Do you perform and agree to be an amateur until you reach Olympic status or beyond Olympic status and declare yourself a professional? Remember when Tiger Woods played his last U.S. Amateur, he beat a kid, I want to say from Stanford or UCLA, Steve something.
AG: He was at Stanford.
Mike: Shortly after that last U.S. Amateur, Tiger declared himself to be a professional, I guess from his amateur participation at PGA events, had enough points to get his tour card and then become a professional. He made the transition from college golf to professional golf. There’s a distinctive line there. I don’t know anyone who operates as an amateur musician or amateur filmmaker in the same manner as you do in sports.
AG: If UCLA or USC puts on their student-run film festival, the students aren’t getting paid to produce those films. Those are part of the curriculum. UCLA or USC, for their film festival, would get the income for the tickets sold. They’re still acting as amateurs in that sense.
Mike: I’d like to see the receipts. I’d like to compare them to the basketball or football program. To me, it’s undeniable that the NCAA operates as though there is no money that is at stake, and that it is only the privilege of playing a sport at a university and the grand educational experience that goes along with it, that is at issue here. What I’m understanding you to say is that most of these players go to the colleges or universities and use the universities as training for their sport. That is what they are training for.
Mike: Hell, I’m all on board then. Do whatever you want.
AG: I’m saying that all students basically use college as a means to train.
Mike: That’s not true. When you go to get a degree in political science and you wind up as a bookkeeper somewhere, or here’s an even better one, you get a degree in liberal arts general studies and you end up as a waiter or waitress. Were you training to become a waiter or a waitress?
AG: Could you make the argument, though, that you incorrectly trained, that you were on the right path? Not every student athlete, I use the word student loosely there, not every collegiate athlete ultimately becomes a professional.
Mike: I’ll go along with your argument if you do this for me.
AG: All right.
Mike: If the next RG3 does not have to go through the rigmarole of going to class and turning in grades, then I am all with you. If the university can just get to the business of saying we need sports to generate money so that other kids who really want to go to school can go to school and these guys have agreed to trade us to play for our university program for the chance they may be good enough to become pro someday, in exchange for that, we can charge x-amount of dollars for tickets and television revenue and all that, but they don’t actually have to go to class because that’s not why they’re here.
AG: Interestingly enough, the U.S. is way behind, say Europe, in that sense, in that the amount of sports academies that exist overseas, whether it be in Europe or South America for soccer or tennis or basketball or another sport. Those young people don’t go to traditional college or college at all, but instead are tutored privately while competing for professional teams. We have 15-, 16-year-olds playing professional basketball in the Spanish league or the German league, that sort of thing.
Mike: I did not know that.
AG: Same with soccer. There have now started to be a number of sports academies, I think in Bradenton, Florida as well as California, really for soccer and tennis most notably. It is an evolution going on here that we’ve seen across the world, particularly in soccer.
Mike: I’m down with it then. You just described it exactly. Can you send me some info about one of these sports colleges or sports universities in Europe? I think the audience would find that interesting, too. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Just be honest about it. Stop with this stupid amateur status crap that you try to serve up. This is a business. Everybody knows it’s a business. There’s a great line, I cannot say it on the air, but if you’ve seen the horrific Prince movie Purple Rain, I’m trying to think of the guy. Anyway, there’s a line in there where young, diminutive Prince is confronted with whether or not something he’s going to do at a show with this club, is it going to bring in more revenue, make patrons happy, blah, blah.
He is yelled at, I think by Morris Day, that, “This is a business, (bleep). The sooner you come around to understand that this is a business, the better off you’re gonna be.” If you’ve seen the movie, you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s a business. You go to school for the purpose of acquiring professional sports skills so you can play professional sports. I have no problem with that whatsoever. Stop telling me you’re going to this college to learn. You’re not. You’re going there for a shot to get in the pros. Then we can be done with this.
End Mike Church Show Transcript