The NCAA and the Hoosiers

Ok, so I was pissed to see Coach Sampson bought out. I completely understand that the rules are the rules and he violated them. I can’t even argue that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Coach Sampson appears to be a repeat offender. What I have a problem with is the NCAA and this situation is emblematic of exactly what is wrong with the organization.

The NCAA is an organization that supposedly prides itself on making sure that athletes are students and attend college with the intent to be students. What the NCAA fails to understand, IMHO, is that often students attend college with a specific goal or dream in mind. It may be to graduate and become an accountant, a musician, an artist, a teacher and any number of other professions. Every student who goes to school, post high school is given every opportunity and encouraged to maximize their effort and optimize their resources to achieve their goals. Unless of course they happen to attend a school that is a member of the NCAA and their goal is to be a professional athlete. In those cases, the NCAA does everything it can to make sure that the athlete is not a typical or traditional student.

For these student athletes, rather than doing every thing possible to excel in their chosen field, they face rules and restrictions that are exceeded in quantity and complexity only by the US Tax Code.

One summer I visited Indiana and there were some players working out and playing on the Assembly Hall court. After watching a few minutes, I walked in the hall and there were a bunch of other players just standing outside. Waiting. I of course asked why they weren’t on the court with their teammates. Turns out that no more than 4 players could be on the court at one time. Imagine telling a cello player they couldn’t practice with more than 4 members of their school orchestra. This was just the first of a list of inane rules that the compliance officer who was at the gym went on to list.

yes, there was someone there who was in charge of enforcing the NCAA rules.

I wasn’t able to find exact numbers, (hopefully a reader can provide them), but I would hazard a guess that many Division 1 schools spend more money on NCAA analysis, presentation and compliance than they do on many of their academic programs. How sad would it be if my alma mater Indiana University, spends more money trying to deal with the NCAA and its rules than it does on its history or math programs ?

Which takes me back to IU. Every few days or so, I get an email from a current or former student asking why I don’t donate enough money to build a state of the art arena on campus. Now you know why. The chances of me giving money to any school that doesn’t offer the opportunity for their student athletes to accomplish their dreams are slim and none. Withdraw from the NCAA and we can talk.

Of course that won’t happen. The NCAA money (which as I am told, funds more athletics and not academics) is bigger than a check I could write and what fun is it not having anyone you can play against. For now.

At some point, hopefully someone will spend the time to put together sports alliances completely outside traditional high school and college ruling bodies that will allow students to be passionate and work hard for their dreams both on the court and field and in the classroom. Which is exactly what happens overseas in most sports.

The supremely talented and promoted can still prosper in the current system, but for those who are willing to make up for whatever they may lack in natural gifts with hard work, and good tutoring, the NCAA doesn’t make dreams come true, they do their unknowing best to kill dreams.

Coach Sampson deserves his share of the blame, and he is accepting the consequences. When are we going to realize that the NCAA deserves more than its share of blame. They are dream killers, not enablers. Thats reason enough to end the NCAA reign.

67 thoughts on “The NCAA and the Hoosiers

  1. Wow, I was blown away when I read this. I guess I assumed as a staunch IU fan, and I thought your story about making billions in an effort to catch IU games, if true, is the coolest story ever.

    Your thoughts on not donating a dime to IU saddened me to the point where I think it\’s going to ruin my night, in spite of whether you\’re correct on the NCAA being off the Mark, or not.

    I would think that as IU\’s highest profile and probably the most wealthy alum, and your love for IU hoops that you\’d financially help them out. They certainly could use your leadership.

    I guess it\’s none of my business, but I felt compelled to comment.

    Regards, Nate Oliver
    IU Alum – Class of \’98

    Comment by Nate -

  2. What do you think of Larry Brown coaching at IU? He is not busy at this time, he is a class act and would be an asset to the program. The kids on the team deserve a great coach.

    Comment by Joe Prout Class of \'51 -

  3. I\’ve long thought that kids who play college sports with the hope of turning pro should be allowed to major in their chosen profession. The odds of making it in the pros are very small but if the logic behind the refusal to allow it is the low odds of employment in the field, then we should be consistent and stop offering majors in such things as, say, French History.

    Comment by Lyn Anderson -

  4. I totally agree with your assessment of the NCAA but why do you let that stop you from contributing to your alma mater? Neither you, me or IU has much control over the NCAA so why use that as an argument against contributing to the alma mater that had helped educate and influence you in attaining your current success level?

    Comment by David Aikman -

  5. Mr. Cuban,

    As a student-athlete at the University of Colorado, I can tell you the restrictions on NCAA players are becoming more and more absurd. There is no question in my mind that CU, especially with it\’s recent past, spends a ridiculous amount on complying with these rules – considering I know about ten people in the Compliance Office and have gone to four meetings already this year.

    Enjoy the blog,

    Comment by Michael -

  6. I would think that our priorities must be screwed when a 15-year-old is allowed to make a reported $3 million or so singing and acting [Miley Cyrus, a.k.a. \”Hannah Montana\”], while a 19-year-old college freshman is not allowed to make one red cent playing football or basketball.

    That\’s why I think talented football and basketball players, like their counterparts in baseball and hockey, should be given a choice between making money in professional \”minor leagues\” and playing for nothing at a major college. Getting rid of scholarships would make the choices easier.

    As for the BCS, it\’s not enough that I think it\’s it goes against all principles of fairness upon which the NCAA was founded, but that it also allows people to make money off the sweat equity of the players.

    Comment by Steve -

  7. Wow, this blog is so right on, I am addicted to your page now! I never even thought about that, the NCAA is exactly like the US Federal Reserve System! It owns every bank and our government, complete monopoly of all US money period! And the worst part is how many out of the countless thousands of students that attend these schools hoping to get into the pro\’s are disappointed each year by not getting selected? They have nothing to fall back on as the education system failed them! You are extremely intelligent! I just read your biography and you are just incredibly inspiring. I also read an article about you called \”Mark Cubans something of an iconoclast iconoclast.\” Students my age (22) should aspire to be more like you and not Kobe or Michael, because the chances of the latter occurring are slim to none!

    Comment by C -

  8. Nice Stuff… Keep It Up.

    Comment by Eliseo -

  9. I agree. I think NCAA needs some competitions.

    Comment by Hearing Protector -

  10. Did you really just say Larry Brown was a class act? What world have you been in?

    Comment by jeff m -

  11. Back home in Honduras (and I believe that is the case in many other countries), those who are talented enough join the pro clubs\’ farm system early on — even as they are going through school. The youth leagues don\’t travel as much, and most of their games take place during weekend and holiday tournaments. By the time they are done with high school, kids — and the pro clubs — will know if the athlete has what it takes to play at the pro level. The athletes lose the right to play at the high school level only if they manage to play in the senior team, the \”major league,\” if you will. College sports are mostly recreational and for the benefit of the students.

    Comment by teh_drz_ftw -

  12. Mark,
    I think you missed the point of most of the NCAA\’s rules. They are to protect the student athletes from the coaches. Coaches are in a multi-million dollar industry where their success depends on these athletes. Any extra coaching and practicing they can get in theoretically improves their chances of winning and earning the big paychecks. On the other hand you have the vast majority of players who are not going to play professionally and are well aware of that fact. They play because they love the game and also for the scholarships. If you doubt that look at all the kids who play at division II and III schools. The rules exist to protect the kids who really want to learn from coaches who would practice them to the point where it interferes with their education.

    Comment by Jordan -

  13. The very achievement of having a diploma from IU makes it difficult for me to disagree with you Mark. That, in conjunction with nearly 20 years in coaching…well you get the picture. there is no love lost between the NCAA and I. Though I will say as a collegiate coach I did not break the rules. Not one of them. The tax code? That\’s another story.

    But there\’s a flip side to the coin that\’s both obvious and rarely highlighted. It\’s an industry filled with cash, cash is king, and where cash is king (or \”flowing\”) there are associated \”undesirables\” trying to make a withdrawl from the ATM of revenue producing collegiate athletics. If so many folks didn\’t try to break the rules there may not be so many of them. It\’s a reactionary position, I\’ll confess. And the NCAAA book is rife with confusion and complexities beyond reason.

    I was no more offended by the Sampson buyout than I was the firing of Rick Neuheisel.
    If you hire an offender you hire someone who is either incredibly careless (in a field that warrants care) or someone who simply knows better and violates just the same. Either way a repeat offense should shock only a toddler.

    The NCAA doesn\’t really have a track record of handling anything very well. And isn\’t Miles Brand running the thing? So again an expectation of higher levels of performance are not indicated by past patterns. Brand fired Knight just after I left grad school. And while IU had the right to have or not have any coach they wanted the methodology with which they terminated Coach Knight left a bad after taste.

    Can you think of any instances where the NCAA operated with a high degree of ethics, compassion, and understanding? No? Neither can I.

    Comment by Gordon Kaplan -

  14. As far as proposals, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development outlines an entirely new model for developing basketball players from the grassroots through the professional level. In particular, the final two chapters discus an Elite Development League and a High Performance Center which could replace NCAA basketball as we know it. For more infrmation, the book is available at:
    And a web site dedicated to the new model is

    Comment by Brian McCormick -

  15. A couple of comments (some you are not going to like):
    1. Agreed the NCAA needs to rethink many of its rules.
    2. Until then the rules are the rules, and you cant have an effective organization or society for that matter, as long as a few people decide the rules dont apply to them. If one of my employees breaks our company rules/policies more than once they aren\’t sent packing with a fat severance check. They are sent packing with their pencil cup. We need to stop paying cheaters and rule breakers, plain and simple.
    3. How many NCAA division one athletic programs are profitable? Maybe we should change all the rules to suit the athletic programs when the professional sports leagues, particularly the NBA and NFL start paying the colleges for students they draft or simply for having teams. The fact is colleges are the de-facto minor leagues for these two leagues (and dont tell me the CBA or AFL are because the math doesnt add up). MLB has an entire system for developing talent where they foot the bill, why don\’t the NBA or NFL?
    5. Mark, tell me you really arent comparing a college orchestra member who might go on to earn 30 or 40 k per year after graduation, who goes to class and earns a degree with a student athlete who may go on to earn millions while barely setting foot in a class room. Many of the student athletes I tutored in college would not attend class if it wasnt a requirement. I dont know a single musician from my college who thought about it the same way. Could be that those who did think that way never went to college; they went straight from high school to working on their career. Maybe it is time pro-wannabe athletes should do the same thing.
    6. How about the NBA drafts high school kids, who then go onto college to play for a minimum of two years. The team that drafts the player pays the players tuition, R&B, medical expenses, a reasonable salary, and pays the university for training?

    Comment by Chris Scurto -

  16. Interesting point –

    I graduated in the 65th percentile of my class, mech engineering. I worked all through school getting paid as much as I possibly could, no regulations. I was able to keep up with my lifestyle and tuition.

    A student athlete in the 99th percentile of talent on his team is allowed to receive room and board and basic living conditions. Additionally, they are working anywhere from 30-40 hours a week at their \”jobs\” and bringing in a great deal of money.

    So I ask, why is it ok for a student to earn income within their educational field if it is not athletically related, but the second it involves a ball rather than a book the NCAA feels the need to strip every last dime of that money from their hands? Keep in mind, a majority of college athletes receive NO scholarships, their 40 hours is strictly an \”unpaid internship\”. Time to start paying them, slavery is over.

    Comment by Graham -

  17. I agree completely with your assessment of NCAA. I am an IU alum myself. I wonder why it is that \”governing bodies\” be they agencies or corporations intended to regulate, turn into \”big brother\” and actually become a huge negative. Individuality, creativity, and drive are stifled. It\’s becoming harder to take a breath for fear of reprisal and reprimand. How sad.

    Comment by C Hansen -

  18. A lot of people are arguing / defending the NCAA\’s position by rationalizing the \’services\’ they provide… i.e. #25 above \’it makes sense for the sanctioning body to be involved in that backup plan.\’
    It doesn\’t take a genius to figure out that these are KIDS before they are professional athletes. In otherwords, children with (or without in a few cases) parents. Mistakes are life. Learning is life. Get over it. I can\’t be their parent. Their college (& other) coaches can try – but ultimately, 9 out of 10 athletes won\’t let that happen. BUT DO NOT mistake the NCAA for some rightiously, holier-than-thou, omniscient, father-figure for the underpriveledge, guided-through-education youth of America taking the best interest of the CHILD ATHLETE into their bosom and raising them to be multi-millionaires or in the very least a well educated, trained, and productive member of society…
    The NCAA is all about $. The $ for the boosters. The $ for the Elite Alumni. The $ for the Board of Regents. Etc. The $ that\’s in college sports – DGM. Oh, but we\’re protecting the kids… GMAF Break.
    Regulating is easy, it\’s when organizations (like the NCAA) scheme and have rules for call times, visits, 4men on a floor, and so many rules can\’t follow along and have to (as Mark said) spend so much $ just to be in compliance – that\’s when something really convoluted is going on.
    I heard it the other day, and I wish I could give the proper credit – if you want to regulate these \’Coach Sampsons\’, give these programs/coaches an NCAA issued cell phone. Trace the calls. Give them prepaid minutes. Whatever.

    Comment by Jacob D. Coley -

  19. Mark,

    As a former employee of the NCAA national office, there are a couple of popular misconceptions about the NCAA\’s role in college athletics.

    First, you must draw the distinction between the NCAA as an organization and the NCAA national office. The NCAA as an organization is the member institutions as someone previously pointed out. The member institutions make the bylaws the member institutions must abide by through committees made up of athletics administrators from the member institutions. Bruce Jaffee, the Faculty Representative from IU, is a member of the Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet. There\’s a reason why a rules exists that keeps the number of players in the gym at one time during the off season at four…The member schools wanted it that way. That\’s not to say some of the rules are tedious and bothersome. The NCAA as an organization is much like Congress in that manner.

    The NCAA national office acts mostly in a leadership role. President Brand really has no power as President, he is mostly a figurehead to guide discussion and provide vision. He makes no rules and doesn\’t make any decisions. Most of the staff in Indy are there to collect and distribute information to the member schools and provide guidance. In the enforcement process, the staff acts in a prosecuting role, collecting information and making a case to the Committee on Infractions. However, any decisions on guilt and punishments are made by the Committee on Infractions, which once again, is made up of athletics administrators from member institutions, sort of a jury of your peers.

    For 98% of the student-athletes, the NCAA as a whole promotes a system that provides a balance between academics and athletics. Yes, there are that 1-2%, especially for football and basketball that are there to basically major in their sport and have no desire to learn any academic subject. They want to get to the pros. The NCAA bylaws probably do cramp their development as athletes. That\’s why the NBA needs to do more to promote and develop the D-League (And the NFL needs to come up with some sort of developmental system all together instead of leaching off the colleges). Higher education isn\’t for everyone. Baseball and Hockey have established minor-league systems for those who want to go pro straight out of high school. The NBA needs to make the D-League a better option for some.

    Comment by Mike -

  20. Hello Hoosier faithful-

    Below is the text of a personal letter I mailed to President McRobbie at IU. His office will receive it by the end of the week. I hope he reads it and takes action. Enough is enough.

    President Michael A. McRobbie
    Office of the President
    Indiana University
    Bryan Hall 200
    107 S. Indiana Ave.
    Bloomington, IN 47405

    Dear President McRobbie:

    I do not envy the position you currently find yourself in as in your first year as President of Indiana University you are forced to deal with a crises that has rattled the core of the heart of the University that we both love so much. IU is so much more than its basketball program yet we both must acknowledge that the spirit and love that students, alumni, faculty and the taxpaying citizens of state of Indiana feel about IU is translated into the following all these constituencies have for IUs basketball program. Thus, as recent events have tarnished the basketball program, these same events have tarnished the love all of us have for IU. My heart aches for what has transpired at my alma mater and the solemn responsibility for which you are now charged which is at its core, is to heal the pain of Hoosiers across the state and nation.

    Whispered at every alumni event across the state and nation is a question likely none dare ask you directly, as I did not even dare ask, when I attended the New York reception for Anthony Thompson, which you attended via satellite this past November.

    When will IU invite Coach Knight back to Bloomington to be inducted into the Indiana University Athletic Hall of Fame?

    There exists a rift, an open bleeding wound resulting from the firing of Coach Knight by your predecessor back when I was a student at IU that continues to be felt today. The current situation is just the latest puncture in a wound that has never fully healed. I do not necessarily agree with everything Coach Knight did or said during his twenty nine years in Bloomington but I have accepted that he was not a saint but a basketball coach. What I did agree with is that for twenty nine years IU graduated its players, its players went to class, its players always included great character young men and there was an aura of integrity that surrounded our program. For twenty nine years, IU did things the right way and along the way we won some basketball games.

    The first step you must take in healing the basketball program is to reach out to Coach Knight and invite him to Bloomington for his long overdue induction into the Indiana University Athletic Hall of Fame. He deserves this honor at a minimum for what he did for IU for twenty nine years and I believe this would begin the healing process the University so desperately needs. I have heard via ESPN some things about you and in particular about your relationship with IUs former President Myles Brand. I know from watching and having just one or two personal interactions with Coach Knight as a member of the IU Basketball Pep Band during my time at IU that not everything ESPN reports is always true. I encourage you to speak to distinguished alumni, past administrators including former President John Ryan, perhaps even taking a trip to Assembly Hall and speaking to the members of the Athletic Department at all levels that were here when Coach Knight was and form your own opinion of him.

    His twenty nine years of graduating players while never having the hint of NCAA impropriety, of his players attending their classes and going on under his continued mentorship to wonderful lives and careers and his efforts to raise money for the University alone demand some type of acknowledgment from IU. He never deserved the treatment he endured upon his termination.

    He has always been the first to acknowledge his personal failings and if you think that he would ever refuse a call from the President of Indiana University, than you do not know him at all. He would be the first to admit that he is no saint but I believe he was a great basketball coach. The current situation serves as an exclamation point for what he did during his twenty nine years at IU and how it made Indiana basketball a program superior to any other in the country. IU basketball will survive this, IU basketball will prosper again but I believe the only way for the those that love IU to be made whole and to fully heal from the wound which continues to fester until today is to invite Coach Knight to Bloomington, to reconcile, to heal so that we can all root for our Hoosiers with full hearts and minds again. President McRobbie, heal your ailing Hoosiers, heal us, please.


    Jonathan Landes
    Kelley School of Business
    BS-Accounting, 2001
    Marching Hundred &
    IU Basketball Pep Band 1997-2001

    Comment by Jonathan Landes -

  21. Please help the Sonics stay in Seattle, because we care!

    Comment by Five -

  22. Nobody likes the NCAA. I was glad to see them leave KC, KS. I do have one question: what keeps coaches from demanding that their players play 8-10 hrs. each day in the offseason? Would
    athletes have a life outside of sports if there were no regs?
    This is the only disagreement I have.

    Comment by kilgatron -

  23. I am not a great believer in the need for unions in a perfect world. However, the NCAA is a perfect example why unions came to be in this country. They operate a multi-million dollar business, completely tax-free, supposedly all in the name of the \”student athlete.\” The so-called student athlete in the major sports are solely responsible for making this possible. Does the NCAA reward them for their efforts, never, they leave that up to the schools to do in the form of \”FREE\” educations. Most of the major universities finance those scholarships through their athletic foundations rather than as a direct expense to the school. Much of the window dressing that is put up by the NCAA is nothing more than a ploy to keep their tax-free status in the eyes of the U.S. Congress. It\’s time for congress to step in and create some parity in this financial boondoggle. Write your congressman.

    Comment by td -

  24. The NCAA has to govern across every division and every sport which makes it responsible for a huge amount of resources, both in terms of money and people. Blame the NCAA – it\’s an easy shot. In fact, it takes little to no effort on your part. Most people will agree with you. But add to the NCAA\’s responsibilities dealing with unscrupulous boosters and coaches who look for every loophole in the rules and you have to admit that this complexity isn\’t unlike most other organizations of it\’s size and complexity.

    Part of the reason that complexity is there is because of schools like Indiana who chose to hire a coach who they knew had violated the rules in the past. There is plenty of stupidity to go around.

    Part of that complexity is there because that\’s the nature of large organizations, and part of it is there to keep more lawyers employed.

    Comment by Jon johnston -

  25. Mark, you\’re absolutely correct regarding the NCAA\’s ridiculous rule book and archaic regulations. It\’s silly that they have some of those rules in their book.

    That being said, the rules are the rules, no matter how most of us feel about them. Just because they\’re silly rules, that doesn\’t mean that Sampson can just choose to disregard them….especially when he\’s already been caught for previously breaking the rules.

    Yes, there should be some people who take charge in changing some of the rules in the NCAA rulebook. But Sampson should not be excused for breaking these rules because he doesn\’t think they should be in the book in the first place.

    Comment by Ryan -

  26. Although I tend to agree with your frustration towards the NCAA, I can\’t understand any type of support you have for coach Sampson.

    I would never criticize him for his coaching ability on the court, his record speaks for itself. The fact that he did break the rules, regardless of how mundane they were, places him at odds with everything a college institution stands for.

    If IU was to stand behind him, they would be sending a terrible message to every student to ever enter or exit the program. That winning, at any costs, is far more important than playing the game by the rules.

    Comment by Kurt Peterson -

  27. Mr. Cuban I agree with you about the NCAA.
    They are not giving the student athletes a fair shake.
    Nowhere is this more apparent than in Major College Football. These athletes generate incredible amounts of money and excitement for the university, fans, alumni and communities.
    But are not given equal opportunities to become True Champions of their sport.
    We are doing something about it. A historical change that a man like you would at least want to know about or even be apart of.

    Comment by christopher s turpin -

  28. In Hockey (in Canada), there is no real tie between school and sports and it works very well. I am not sure if the model would work for Basketball or Football but it sure works well for Hockey. I think for Basketball it could have a good chance because the age of the players makes sense.

    Junior hockey starts at 16 and ends at 20; players are drafted when they are 18, which means they still have 2 years of Junior hockey left (some good players forgo the last 2 years). It seems the NCAA model is broken because most of the players headed for the NBA only play 1 year or 2 and after they are drafted they MUST play on the NBA team. This hurts their development.

    Comment by Brant -

  29. For the record….get off MC\’s back on the $550K donor issue. From inside the IUAD office it was apparently another \’high profile\’ and LOCAL donor who fronted this capital. Besides that, did you read his comments on the whole thing? Didn\’t sound like someone who was RWA to pay the mess off.

    Comment by Greg -

  30. Mark, your comments are on the money except for an omission. The NCAA acts in exceptionally arbitrary fashion. The punishment doesn\’t always fit the crime. I liken it to NBA officials, i.e. they are blind one time down the floor, and eject a player the next time.

    Comment by Jim T. -

  31. I\’ve thought, for a long time, about the Gestapo like tactics and procedures of the NCAA. It seems like the pendulum has swung too far from where it used to swing. It used to be that there were basically no rules, especially in the area of recruiting. This was back in the 1950s. Now, like the Tax Code, things are crazy. but the big question is \”Can I buy stock in the NCAA?\”

    Comment by Bob -

  32. Mark,

    Either I\’m confused or you\’re confused. Your problem is with the NCAA, not Indiana University. I don\’t have the right to tell you where to give your money (nor does anyone else), but if you were to contribute money to Indiana University, you would be supporting your school… not the NCAA. It obviously is your choice what you do with your money, but I am sure Indiana University would benefit immensely from any donation. The NCAA\’s rules are a small price to pay for a free education. I would have loved to be blessed enough to play a college sport so I did not have 25K in student loans to pay off.

    Go Hoosiers!

    Comment by John -

  33. Come on Mark. Would you be saying all this if it was Illinois in trouble for the exact same thing? You cant change all the rules just because it finnaly caught up with IU. Admit it,they never should have hired Sampson. Some of these kids are as guilty as Sampson,it will all come out. What about the people and universitys Sampson hurt by his cheating? Oh yeah,famous hoosier saying \”its only phone calls, its not like there was an advantage gained\” Than why in the hell did it happen?I am guessing you paid the $550,000, but why if the NCAA is the one with the problems,,,not good ole IU Karma is a bitch,IU deserves this and with a little more reasearch by you ,you would know it too. Take off the blinders

    Comment by Eric Burch -

  34. Opensource athletics…. I like it. Rules, borders, restrictions, will be ripped apart in the coming years because people want choices. The NCAA feeds us crap and tells us it tastes like chocolate.

    Comment by maxsportz -

  35. I agree with you about the NCAA. There seems to be a lot of internal polotics going on there. Makes it hard to move forward!

    Comment by bapes -

  36. Mark, the NCAA is built on a foundation of liberal philosophy. That is…. people are not smart enough to make their own decisions so we will do it for them. Their attitude is we need to govern! They are like the IRS in more ways then one. The NCAA is mis-guided and on the verge of corruption because of arrogance, greed, money, and power. The only hope is that they will make a mistake and overstep and leave themselves liable at which point another greedy liberal will put the trial lawyers on the blood trail. I hope some greedy, liberal, trial lawyer lays in wait and has the guts to say no more b/s rules or laws can be forced down an individuals throat so you can profit and hide under the disguise of education. Someday David will slay Golitath! F them and the desk they hide under! Ignorance is no excuse. They don\’t even know they are criminal; that\’s the sad part. GO MAVS!!!

    Comment by jeff -

  37. Cuban, you\’ve become a total ass, out of touch with reality; your vision clouded by the guilt of too much money.

    You need to step back and remember where you came from and what you really were before one lucky break many years ago.

    You need to be less full of yourself and be quiet once in awhile. Just listening to your head speak to your ass all of the time isn\’t very worthwhile.

    Or as I\’m sure you\’ve heard, grow up. IU got caught through faults and actions of their own. It\’s no more the NCAA\’s fault than it\’s yours that the Celtics have a better team than the Mav\’s.

    Comment by Bill -

  38. Wow. Thanks for writing that Mark. I know sometimes you like to play one note over and over (and over) again. I hope you\’ll beat this into the ground. I\’m curious whether you think alternate leagues/alliances are an absolute necessity, or whether it is possible something could be done to reform the NCAA system so that it served the same purpose.

    Comment by Robert Seidman -

  39. What most people fail to understand is that the NCAA IS the member institutions. It started when colleges banned together to see that all member programs were held to the same standards and maintained a level playing field. Do away with it and chaos would reign. Whoever could pay players the most would win. If a competing organization were started, it would by necessity have to establish similar rules and you complainers would still be complaining when your school failed to comply and got in trouble. Of course, you embrace the rules when it is a rival school getting caught.

    Comment by DeeGee -

  40. Great post. Glad to see you questioning an industry monopoly and asking about alternative business models. Perhaps no business is as monopolistic as higher ed (from sports to publishing to ranking and testing agencies). Thanks for the thought provoking post. GO BLUE!

    Comment by Campus Entrepreneurship -

  41. It is my opinion there will never be changes to the NCAA until their is change within the organization. After playing at Indiana for 5 seasons I realize the services provided by its athletes are poorly compensated. I was able to receive a valuable degree for my efforts on the field, but many of my teammates did not. Most aspects of a university are treated the same way as running a business. College coaches, ADs, and other positions within the athletic department are treated that way (win or get fired), but the athletes are not. The value brought to a university through its athletics departments in priceless. Give athletes training in managing their value, by compensating them based on their contribution to the university they represent. Any ideas?

    Comment by Matt O\'Neal -

  42. I think that there are some things that can be done to weaken the NCAA\’s hold on institutions and their affect on kids. What I would love to see is the introduction of national legislation limiting the hold the the NCAA and their member institutions have on kids when a coach quits or gets fired. The idea being that when one of these things occurs, the kid gets the opportunity to reevaluate their own situation and move, if desired. That thy have to just stand by, powerlessly, and watch while their whole world changes around them is just wrong. That amounts to nothing short of servitude.

    Comment by Terry Owings -

  43. Some excellent points, but it is only fair to consider *why* the NCAA rules are the way they are.

    Graph the number of athletes participating in high school sports, then college sports, then pro leagues. The simple fact is that the vast majority of student athletes\’ careers will end when they graduate college. It is counterproductive to send kids to college — yes, to pursue their dreams — and then to have them graduate after years at an institution of higher learning only to have no actual job skills.

    The NCAA\’s goal is to protect students who may be blinded by dreams of success that they are (statistically, aggregately) unlikely to achieve. It sucks. And they go about achieving that goal in backwards, stupid, and overly complex ways.

    I\’m all for addressing the problem. But an honest and open discussion of the problem has to take into account the fact that there are 30,000+ college football players and less than 2000 NFL players. More than 5000 college football players graduate each year, and the NFL drafts about 250 of them.

    There has to be some kind of backup plan for these kids, and it makes sense for the sanctioning body to be involved in that backup plan.

    Comment by Brooks -

  44. Mr. Cuban,

    You write:

    \”Which is exactly what happens overseas in most sports.\”

    …but in overseas sports, they don\’t mix higher education with sports. Sport teams are not tied to any university overseas that I know. Rather, there are private \”clubs\” and \”leagues\” where young people play and then prosper. Athletes outside the USA forgo their education after \”high school\” to play sports, not to study. So that being the situation outside of the USA, why don\’t you make the case of separating sports from universities in the USA?

    BTW: I went to SMU and played NCAA athletics during the time SMU was serving its term from the \”death penalty\”. The NCAA will never issue the \”death penalty\” as punishment again as it hurt the university, the conference (basically killed the Southwest Conference), AND the NCAA financially.

    Comment by JM -

  45. Good points, indeed. If IBM wanted my talents right out of high school, I would have gone with them instead of college. IBM could have contacted me as much as they liked, but athletics cannot do this to recruit talent for the most profitable divisions of the universities.

    Another point about the NCAA and their training of \”student\” athletes. They allow a popularity vote system of establishing their champion in football. Imagine if a product on the shelves made it or didn\’t only on the votes of a few critics out there. Sales numbers mean almost nothing. It\’s all about appeasing those voters. Any rules about a school sending a swing BCS voter a cake?

    Comment by Dana McCall -

  46. Mark, you bring up great points, the fact is the NCAA is not changing. The football playoff is a grat example, the fans and players want it, but it is not happening.

    I\’m not sure if I don\’t understand your theory for not supporting IU athletics. Because we are supported by the NCAA? My theory is the kids play for the name on their jersey and that is who I support and got my degree from. You have to be one of the wealthiest grads we have and you love athletics. Not asking for a new arena but come on, support the school. But who am I to tell you what to do with your money, you earned it. I am only asking.

    Comment by Andy Begle -

  47. Mark is right; universities are unwilling to take on the NCAA. However, there is one institution that can: the IRS. And aided by Congress, they are already muttering about taxing big-time college sports as the \”businesses\” that ADs consistently call them.

    Why not? Couple taxation with an offset for every dollar of sports revenue that a university spends on direct financial aid to students, including athletes, and everyone who matters will win. Students will benefit from these entertainment revenues, and athletes will still play exciting games before millions of fans who enjoy their performance.

    Comment by Cathy -

  48. Mark,

    Now that this Sampson fiasco at Indiana seems to be over and done with (from a legal standpoint), who would be your endorsement to take over the reigns of the program after this year?

    Fellow Pennsylvanian and IU alum

    Comment by Eric -

  49. There is no better product in the sports world than college basketball. That\’s the plain truth, IMHO. Whatever deficiencies the system may have, it is still the best in all of sports. Kind of like our government, flawed in many ways, but the best in the world.

    Comment by Bob Wegener -

  50. Mark:
    I wouldn\’t give \’em a dime either. If they\’re willing to hand $750,000 over to the guy who broke the rules (and gave them just cause to fire him without paying), who knows what they\’d do with your money.

    Fellow IU Alum.

    Comment by Gary T. -

  51. As a recent graduate of IU, I can certainly empathize with your position. Ultimately, you do have to put the blame on IU\’s athletics department for hiring someone to come in who was already under sanctions from a previous position, and then failed to make sure that he wouldn\’t do it again. Does the NCAA need to lighten up? Absolutely. I\’ve yet to hear a coherent argument why a top tier athlete, who is widely acknowledged as a pro prospect, shouldn\’t be allowed to profit from their fame. The only one I hear boils down to this: the universities and the NCAA don\’t want independent marketers taking a piece of their very lucrative pie. Would USC have been happy about Reggie Bush signing with an agent? How would IU feel about DJ White and Eric Gordon with agents? I\’m not saying we should pay student athletes; just give them an opportunity to enjoy their college experience like everyone else.

    Ultimately, the NCAA needs a change in leadership. After all, we raked Sampson, who by all accounts is a good guy, over the coals for PHONE CALLS. We\’re not talking about paying players or a booster scandal or anything like that. Sampson made too many phone calls. Is this really where we\’ve come to?

    Comment by Adam -

  52. Spot on, Mark! NCAA sucks. Also, tell IU to use their millions from the Big Ten network. Don\’t give them a dime! lol

    Comment by darryl -

  53. Brooks:

    I wonder what the ratio of business majors graduating each year to the number of new CEOs each year is?
    There are no guarantees that come with graduating from college, in sports or in the real world. Kids that go to college with the talent and the desire to play sports have a good shot at a career doing something they enjoy. I thinks it\’s safe to say that a vast majority of them would not have even had the opportunity to go to college if it were not for sports.

    Comment by northern indiana real estate -

  54. Mark, Your voice needs to be heard to help lead IU in the right direction.

    Fellow Alumni

    Comment by Michael -

  55. There is a contigency plan – GETTING YOUR DEGREE. People forget that is what college is about, and the real culprit here are the universities that graduate 10 percent of their players, and even less of their African American players. The NCAA is not the one at fault here – it is the universities who are letting them down by not having a strong support structure. These kids ARE getting paid – a FREE education. They need to take advantage of it, and need to be helped by the universities.

    Comment by Chris -

  56. The problem with the NCAA is Myles Brand. Myles Brand is the same person that wanted Indiana University to have ALL intramural sports but yet he is in charge of the NCAA? Go figure…

    Comment by Will -

  57. There are a few other options out there, primarily the NAIA. This is more for small schools, but it isn\’t the NCAA. There are several others (all geared toward small schools). There could be competition, but no university president has the guts to go there because of the money. Plus, like you said, you would need others to join in with you.

    Comment by Matt -

  58. what you are describing is basically the UPA in its entirety – The Ultimate Players Association (

    The sport of Ultimate isnt recognized by the NCAA even though there is a club team at virtually every university in the united states and canada. They run a fully inclusive college series tournament similar to the NCAA bracket except EVERY team starts in the bracket. From sectionals to regionals to nationals the teams are whittled down to 16 teams which compete for a national championship.

    there are no scholarships, all teams pay for themselves, their motivation is purely and wholly sport.

    unfortunately college sprots organizations outside the NCAA dont have the financial sway to get their competitions on major TV (the ultimate national championships are broadcast on CSTV), for now the sport growth is fully grassroots – but more people play ultimate than rugby or lacrosse in the united states, so there is a ton of growth potential.

    just sayin

    Comment by matt -

  59. I\’ve been wondering when you were going to comment on this. I have never understood why we treat college students like little kids when it comes to sports. Why do we even need an organization like the ncaa? What is their purpose? Are they there to protect the players? The school? The fans? The pro teams?
    I\’m sure that there is way more involved than I will ever know about but on the surface it what I do know seems absurd. I wonder if IU would get in trouble with anyone if they started aggressively recruiting students for academic reasons instead of for sports.
    So whats the fix? Get rid of the ncaa and treat college athletes like the adults that they are? How about a school that teaches basketball, we have schools specifically for people who want to be entertainers, musicians, air conditioner repair people, why not a school for kids that want to be pro basketball players??? Pro Ball University ( sounds like a job for MC.

    Comment by northern indiana real estate -

  60. Agreed, agreed and agreed with an asterisk. Until there is some huge event, upheaval or competitve style organization, the NCAA will be what it is. Not a force towards a football playoff, which the fans and players would love. Not a leader in redefining who and what a student athlete is and how that definition could benefit all who are touched by the process of collegiate athletics. Not a body that\’s interested in change of any kind because god forbid that call into question the validity of each of their jobs. Myles Brand runs this organization of irregularity. Myles Brand hired McNeely who\’s ineptitude required the hiring of Greenspan who hired Sampson who propogated the mess of the moment. How\’s that for symetry?

    Comment by Greg -

  61. Another sport example: Tiger Woods would have finished out his studies at Stanford if it weren\’t for the tyranny of the NCAA.

    Comment by David -

  62. Agree completely with you Mark. The NCAA makes a lot of money on these student athletes, but pretty much expects a vow of poverty from the athletes. The NCAA is the one of the most hypocritical organizations in this country.

    Comment by Randy Horton -

  63. The most tragic aspect of this dilemma is the fact that so many of those student athletes who are passionate and work hard to realize their dreams end up getting injured in the process. The NCAA just rakes in the dough while they watch these kids risk everything with absolutely no contingency plan. Mark you are absolutely right when you call the NCAA \’dream killers\’.

    Comment by Peter Smith -

  64. The NCAA is a cartel and should be treated as such. As in any market situation the fans, universities and athletes would benefit greatly from healthy competition.

    Comment by Mike Usry -

  65. This is an interesting take on the situation. However, I don\’t feel that you have correctly correlated this to the Kelvin Sampson situation. Even within the context of a collegiate sports alliance that would allow \”students\” to freely pursue their careers, the administrators and institutions must be held to standards and accountability. Sampson broke the rules (the rules we can agree/disagree on). And now he AND the institution must pay the consequences. Regardless of how collegiate sports is aligned or organized the rules are the rules.

    Comment by Kenyon -

  66. I agree. Maybe if the NCAA had some sort of good competition they would lighten up.

    Comment by Brent -

  67. I agree with you completely about the NCAA.

    Have you considered organizing an endowment or some sort of non-profit that will donate to the first school to dump the exploitative NCAA restrictions, where not only you but also many of us less wealthy donors could pool funds?

    Comment by Dom -

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