Open Letter to the NCAA




How many people know that Elroy Crazylegs Hirsch attended Michigan or that Tom Harmon also attended Michigan and won the Heisman Trophy?  When the Rams moved to Los Angeles in 1947, they had been initially called the Cleveland Rams in Ohio.  They had a Quarterback called Bob Waterfield from the University of California Bears and a backup Quarterback called “The Dutchman”  Norm Van Brocklin from the University of Oregon.  When the Rams came to Los Angeles among the biggest hype in Hollywood History – they even made a movie entitled “Crazylegs Hirsch”. who was married to his high school sweetheart Ruth.  Bob Waterfield had married actress Jane Russel.  Tom Harmon married “B” movie actress Elyse Knox and they had Mark Harmon.  How many people knew that Pete Rozelle was the first General Manger of the LA Rams?  How many people know that when they were the Cleveland Rams that there were NO Ram Horns on the football helmets?  How many people know that Fred Gherke  hand painted those horns onto the leather helmets for the first time in 1948, after the Rams had come to Los Angeles.  The first Commentator for the Rams was Frank Bull on Radio and Bob Kelley on Television.  For those that followed the history of the Rams later Dick Enberg was also the long term Television Commentator for the Rams, until he went Network later in his career for not only football, but many other sports.  The reason we bring up this Rams phenomena is that it was really one of the first sports teams that got a variety of endorsement money from a variety of sources.  In those days, most teams only had family restaurants, hardware stores and car dealers as sponsors;  like those that supported the Steelers, Browns, Bears, Giants and many other teams…along with the money of course from the ownership. 

Today College Football generates literally Billions of dollars of revenue for Universities and Major Corporations.  Television contracts for 2018 totaled 857 Million dollars for that year, with the multi-year package from 2011-2023 totaling $13.9 Billion dollars!  Remember now, that is just from Television Revenue directly into the NCAA confers!  What about Corporate Investments into various University programs, like that of Nike for the University of Oregon, as an example? One thing is certain however, the NCAA has kept the entire process stealthy, under the covers or opaque as they can make it.  The entire NCAA financial system should be audited on a annual basis to start with.  Where does the money currently go and for what?  How much is in the NCAA Reserve Account and what is in their full Investment Portfolio?  Right now the NCAA budget is about $1.1 Billion dollars a year, of which they are distributing about $560 Million,  just to Division 1 schools.  They say they are making about $100 million a year in profits with a current reserve of about $400 Million dollars, while they are busy paying attorney fees of about $42 million dollars a year.  Ok, where do the Policies and  Procedures meet the road?  How do they come up with the amount that they pay the Division 1 Schools for example?  What is the formula used?  Can they or could they explain it to members of Congress clearly, let alone the public? 

They should try utilizing a simple formula based upon elemental “Appearance Money” from television as a starting point, it then goes to the position of the NCAA  what percentage of that funding should be dedicated to player contributions.  If someone sits on the bench the entire game or season and never appears on television….should they get the same as a Starting Quarterback or Elite Running back?  What about those that are playing on the Offensive front, that are first team players, that are Defensive players, that are Special Team players.  Shouldn’t the remuneration be based on actual participation in the game?  There should be a baseline for being on the team, however that maybe just considered a stipend only; until the player actually enters the game…. then that could go to a higher rate perhaps?  

One thing the NCAA does not need to consider are assundry endorsement money coming from local sponsors or national sponsors for specific Division 2 schools or for such sports as Track and Field, all Women’s sports or any other minor sports such as Golf, Badminton, Ping Pong or any other so-called minor sports.  The NCAA should only be involved with Policies and Procedures for the Division 1 Sports of Football and Basketball.  These rules should be transparent and all NCAA funding for these sports should be contingent on the willing cooperation of the Universities involved.  The involvement of the NCAA in dictating micro-management of the player stipends and scholarships should be strictly restricted!  Make the process simple, direct and to the point.  The NCAA should offer a suggested Policy and Procedure Base for all Player remuneration which must be followed by all Division 1 schools, receiving Television proceeds for their participation. 

The process however must first start with Full Disclosure by the NCAA.  The NCAA organization needs to be regulated and overseen by Congressional mandates.  Their annual finances need to be fully audited every year.  All non-pecuniary payments or perks to Universities, Coaches, Officials, Government Bureaucrats or Administrators must be available to the public.  Gavin Newsom has already signed the Fair Play to Pay Act (FPPA) which opens the door for NCAA to either fix it now simply, or to create a cottage industry and pump up the legal fees for another four years.  Time to get with the program NCAA and also for our US Olympic Committee to step up as well and support greater stipends for our Olympic qualifiers.  This is all big money and if an athletic performer wants to wear a Nike, Van or Adidas Logo….he or she just might have to defer anything they might receive from the University or the NCAA funding.  In fact, without doing so….they just might be DQ’d – DISQUALIFIED that is!  OK NCAA, the ball is now in your court….you might say! 

About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.