IN DEFENSE OF THE AMATEUR IDEAL

Joe Robbins

A special guest column by NCAA President Mark Emmert.

Fellow Lovers of Sport,

Since its establishment over one hundred years ago, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has worked tirelessly to defend America's student-athletes from corrupting influences of every shape and size. Some, including the proprietor of this very website, have suggested that ours is an agency without meaningful purpose or genuine care for the young men and women of our universities. Though we, on rare occasion, lack the precision of the surgeon's scalpel in carrying out our sacred duty, the NCAA nonetheless has but one singular focus: your entertainment, both during the sanctioned athletic season and outside of it.

Let us imagine that your rashest wish is indulged, sweeping away the NCAA and all prohibitions on improper compensation to student-athletes. What is the result? Why, my dear spectator, you will have been deprived of much merriment! What is now a hilariously ill-conceived and even more distressingly advertised trip to the bar de danseuses becomes but a typical and mundane night in South Florida! The jersey sold on eBay - now a rich vein yearning to be mined for arguments concerning disparate treatment of similar offenses - evaporates into the most dull and meaningless commerce. Would John Manziel be as appealing to you, the tittering masses, without the possibility that his extracurricular extravagances are in flagrante delicto?

You see, our complicated and outdated regulatory structure is not for the athlete's benefit. It is for yours, the bored at work. Surely you have been the recipient of "FWD: The craziest state laws !!," an electronic message which informs the reader of such humorous statutes barring the shearing of sheep in hospitals or purchasing buttermilk from a fortune teller? Why, we at the NCAA have but taken the next step in comedy - enforcing these seemingly arbitrary edicts! In part, this is why we recently lifted many of our old rules regarding recruiting limits, in the hopes that you will appreciate what we do and why we do it once you have no more "Mark Richt Has Lost Control Of His Butt Dialing" or "The Bagel Spread Offense Will Never Succeed In The Big Ten" headlines to peruse.

You say you crave a world of sensible and fair college football. We at the NCAA hope you recognize that what you will receive is the total lack of absurdity which gives our fair sport so much color and verve.

Sincerely,

Mark "Real Eyebrows" Emmert

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