As a general rule, the Blob is in favor of readers, on account of the fact that, without readers, the Blob would be doing something different with his life, like bagging groceries and groveling even more than he already does beneath the thumb of the Man.
And so a hearty round of applause to Blobophile Julie Hollingsworth, who has what I think is an excellent way to get rid of the NCAA's insoluble problem -- i.e., running a multi-billion dollar business while pretending it's an amateur enterprise.
She proposes doing what the rest of the world does with its college athletics, which is turn them into for-profit clubs.
"Oh, we can call them the Miami Hurricanes and the Ohio State Buckeyes," she wrote in a letter to Sports Illustrated that she graciously shared with me. "But the facilities would be sold or leased to the club for the operation of its sports programs. No college funds would be allowed to build/maintain facilities, house players or pay coaches or any other personnel. Run the clubs like a business, using revenues of ticket and merchandise sales, corporate sponsorships and booster cash. If owners want to provide strippers or players want to trade jerseys for cash and tattoos, go ahead, perfectly legal. Oh, and being a student to participate: optional."
I love this idea, especially because I suspect it would launch Roger Goodell and the NFL into about nine conniptions. A lot of the reason the NCAA insists on keeping up the fiction of amateurism in college athletics, after all, is to avoid the appearance of competing with the NFL, an acknowledged monopoly with whom college football has an exceedingly incestuous relationship. Monopolies, after all, tend not to like competition.
That said ... what about Hollingsworth's proposal isn't already de facto true about college athletics as overseen by the NCAA? All going to a club system would do is strip away the pretense. And the pretense is pretty near worn through, anyway.
"Maybe this solution would allow our educational institutions to get back to their original purpose: educating," Hollingsworth writes.