Bob Smizik

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In a stance some might find radical, Michael Rosenberg writes, ``College football and basketball players need somebody to organize and galvanize them. They need somebody to change a system that powerful people don't want to change. They need another Marvin Miller.''

By Michael Rosenberg,

Marvin Miller is dead at 95, and the timing is almost poetic. This is the start of baseball's offseason. Even now, Miller's signature might as well be on every one of those multimillion-dollar contracts. This is the world he created as the players' union leader in the 1960s and '70s.

It is tempting to look at the $100-million deals and say Miller's work was done. It is not.

We need another Marvin Miller.

We need one for college athletes.

We need a man with Miller's vision, passion, political acumen and intelligence to change the NCAA's antiquated amateurism rules.

Read the rest of the story.
Comments (17)Add Comment
written by cramden, November 28, 2012 - 02:36 pm
College athletics does not need another Marvin Miller. What it needs is an organization that will scrupulously uphold the athletic & ACADEMIC standards that are already in place. 90% of todays college football & basketball players have NO business being anywhere near a college campus. Let the new pseudo Marvin start a league for those academically challenged but gifted athletes. Just get them & the crooked coaches off the college campuses & into their own league. Problem solved.
written by cfd, November 28, 2012 - 03:28 pm

Big time college sports have forever changed the face of "the college experience". I agree with the initial post,college sports do not need a Marvin Miller type organizer,they must enforce the rules in place and stop the charade of " scholar/athlete". That person does not exist in today's big time NCAA sports lexicon!

written by 8WDS8, November 28, 2012 - 03:43 pm
I realize that there are millions of dollars involved in major college athletics, but I'm tired of hearing about the poor, oppressed athletes.

They get a full ride in school worth well over $100,000 at many schools. They get professional coaching, strength training and nutritionists that allow them to become better and more marketable. In many cases they get national television exposure, again increasing their marketability. In essence, they get the tools and the stage to become multi- millionaires.

I wish that I had been so egregiously treated!
written by dontknocktherock, November 28, 2012 - 03:56 pm
Have you noticed where most of the problems arise? Football and men's basketball. The reason for that is colleges act as the minor leagues for the NBA and NFL. If those organizations would establish their own player development systems such as exist in MLB, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
written by Knuterock, November 28, 2012 - 04:28 pm
This is a very complex problem.

Colleges go into the houses of families and offer a scholarship to minors. The NFL uses the college system as its farm system.

College athletes can't even support themselves, let alone take on universities and professional organizations. The problem will only be solved from the outside.

I'm all for giving the athletes more from all the revenue they generate. The current system should be outlawed.
written by cptantilles, November 28, 2012 - 04:52 pm
College sports certainly doesn't need a Marvin Miller! What it needs is something that seems almost totally lacking at the moment - men of integrity and strong moral character as coaches, ADs, and University Presidents.
written by buffy, November 28, 2012 - 05:04 pm
I like Coach K's (of Duke) idea --- a commissioner for college football, one for basketball, and let the current NCAA structure take care of the non-revenue sports. Commissioners could stay focused, and violations would be dealt with more promptly (I hope).
written by Woomer, November 28, 2012 - 05:22 pm

It seems to me that the best solution would be to create a parallel minor league system for each of football and basketball (much like baseball has).

And then young football and basketball players could play for either scholarships or for money -- their choice!
written by AZburgher, November 28, 2012 - 05:38 pm
You state in your post that college athletics doesn't need a "new marvin Miller".
Then, you go on to describe exactly why college athletics needs someone like a "new Marvin Miller".
All Mr. Miller did was make thousands of ballplayers and their families very happy.
A skilled and fearless negotiator.
What's your beef with that?
Would you rather the "old Charles Commiskeys" ran things?
He chose to cheat his players, if pay them at all, and look at the result. Almost one hundred years ago and we still talk about the Black Sox.
Marvin Miller helped people who needed his service. I consider him a great and patriotic American.
written by wee willie wallace, November 28, 2012 - 05:59 pm
AZBurgher -- as I read your description of Charlie Comiskey, the darndest thing happened. I began to picture Bob Nutting.

Back to the subject at hand..............8WDS8--who is paying for those scholarships? Not the schools. That is why boosters are constantly hit up.

These kids can not even get a lousy nickel when the univeristies sell their jerseys; not now and not in the future. Johnny Manziel is a perfect example. How much do you think Texas A and M is going to make selling his jersey number over the next 4 years?

.....and this kid can't get even a little piece of that, be it now or have it placed in a trust fund for the future?

Is that fair?

These coaches sign multi-million dollar contracts. Assistants make hundreds of thousands at middle of the road programs, and the schools can not afford to cough up some of the cash?

What a farce.

I would be all for the players organizing and "going on strike." Unfortunately, it will never happen. Their window of opportunity is too small to take such a huge risk.

written by Roy, November 28, 2012 - 06:17 pm
Marvin Miller may have aided free agency but I am not sure I agree that you can take the next step and say he was responsible for the high dollars players make. I think television deals, and tax payer aided stadiums had a lot to do with it. All the freedom in the world doesn't create dollars. The owners only pay it because they can afford it.
written by scootermojo, November 28, 2012 - 06:39 pm
College sports already have a Marvin Miller: it's called a free education that the rest of us have to pay an arm and a leg for.

What college sports really needs is to expel the illegal and free minor league system the NBA and NFL have and make those two leagues do what the NHL and MLB do: actually have a real minor league that doesn't requite their players to take away classroom space from legitimate students who are looking for an honest post-high school education.

Anyone who is a fan of college basketball and college football has absolutely no reason to complain about what happens to so-called "student-ATHLETES" because they are just as responsible for creating this mess and the farce that is "collegiate (read: minor league)" basketball and football.

College is about learning....NOT about playing hoops and football.
written by jparse, November 28, 2012 - 08:25 pm
Let's be honest... how many of these "student athletes" would even be in college if they could not run, throw or catch a ball?

Is that our fault as a society? Colleges wouldn't have gone this route if there wasn't a cry for better athletes.

Colleges pride themselves on being prep factories for pro leagues. Nothing wrong with that- that's what gains recruits, wins over boosters and alumni, etc. It's a vicious cycle that we have all played into, albeit some more than others.
written by aglebagel, November 28, 2012 - 08:38 pm
The one area that really bugs me is when Universities or the NCAA profit from the likeness of specific players without said players getting any royalties. I'm talking about jerseys sold with the star player's number and video games with players made to look and act like the real ones. I would feel jipped if I were them.
written by hunter, November 28, 2012 - 10:47 pm
cramden I haven't replied to your holier then thou bile in a awhile. Please enlighten us with some, ANY, proof that 90% of college athletes don't belong in college. And if you use graduation rates please include the rate for non-athletes. It is another of your very thinly veiled comments that give us pause since they seem often aimed at athletes from certain segments of our society. You seem to be very resentful and judgmental of successful athletes who you don't know and have no clue of their intellect, morals or character. You seem very small.
written by lambert58, November 29, 2012 - 05:56 am
wee willie, if you picture Bob Nutting when the name Charles Comiskey is mentioned, your mind works in strange ways. Comiskey (in the reserve clause era) underpaid his players, so much so that their stars were willing to "supplement" their income by throwing a World Series. In contrast, despite Nutting`s reputation as "cheap", we`ve had a lot more players who were overpaid than underpaid. Just last year the number of guys who didn`t earn their pay was in double digits.
written by, December 14, 2012 - 07:36 am
If you want paid then play in a minor league professionally like NHL and MLB players do. College is about learning....not playing in a free and illegal minor league collegiate system for the NFL and NBA. What needs to happen is that the NFL and NBA should be forced to create their own minor leagues. By the way, those players are paid already....IT'S CALLED A FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION THAT THE REST OF US HAVE TO PAY NEAR OR UPWARDS OF A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR!!

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