If the NCAA has sounded awfully familiar in their defenses against the players' rights movement, there's good reason. Jon Solomon of Al.com has published a talking-points memo sent out by the NCAA that includes suggested talking points on controversial issues as well as quotes from administrators and coaches that support the NCAA's claim.
Most of it is your standard, boiler-plate stuff -- the NCAA really cares about the student-athletes and doesn't want to pay them because they need to think about the kids.
We know we have work to do. But do we really want to signal to society and high school students that making money is the reason to come play a sport in college, as opposed to getting an education, which will benefit you for a lifetime? That's not the message I want to send.
We've also got non-sensical (and made-up) polls, wherein the NCAA uses a fact of the current system (athletes can't be paid a salary) to make a bogus point about why it should stay that way.
The overwhelming majority of student-athletes play college sports as part of their educational experience and because they love their sport, not to be paid a salary.
The number of championship experiences would be dramatically reduced.
The icing on the cake, however, is a quote from Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, given to the Post and Courier on March 26. Here's the problem for the NCAA: Clemson Insider's Will Vandervort was also there, and it appears the Post and Courier left something crucial out: Swinney saying he had no idea what he was talking about.
Swinney's quote, when asked about the labor ruling allowing Northwestern players to unionize, from Vandervort:
"I have no idea. I really don't know enough about it to comment," the Tigers' head coach said after practice.
"What does that mean? Does that mean they don't practice when they don't want to practice? What does that mean? I don't know what all that means?"
"They hardly practice now to be honest with you," Swinney joked. "I have no idea. I'm just a spectator like all the rest of ya'll and I just coach."
"There needs to be an adjustment there, but as far as professionalizing college athletics, first of all college athletics would go away," he said. "I'm 1000 percent against that because we have enough entitlement in this country as it is and it totally devalues an education. It just blows my mind when they don't even want to quantify an education."
Swinney's quote, from the NCAA:
"We've got enough entitlement in this country as it is. To say these guys get nothing totally devalues an education. It just blows my mind people don't even want to quantify an education. I didn't get into coaching to make money - coaches weren't making any money when I got into coaching. It's what I wanted to do with my life, and I was able to do it because of my education. That's what changed my life. That's what changes everybody's life.
"I am 1,000 percent in favor of a stipend or modernizing the scholarships, because they haven't changed. Costs more to go to a movie, costs more to buy gas, costs more to wash your clothes than it did when I was in school. There needs to be an adjustment there. But as far as professionalizing college athletics, college athletics would go away.
"(Former Clemson quarterback and NFL draft prospect) Tajh Boyd could quit football right now, and they'd be lined up from here to California to hire that guy. You know why? Because he took advantage of his opportunity and his platform and marketing and the brand. These guys are trained; they've got great expertise and great resources."
For a guy who didn't get into the field to make any money, Swinney sure has done well for himself -- he recently received an eight-year contract extension that will pay him $3.15 million per year.