the BigAmateurism monologues

A series of events over the last 18 months—some unforeseeable—have created a perfect storm that will change college sports forever. The NCAA's bait an…
Apr 10th, 2023 | 1:35:01

148: Understanding the Power 5’s and NCAA’s Congressional Campaign: An Organized Lie is More Powerful Than a Disorganized Truth

On March 29th, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce held a hearing titled “Taking the Buzzer Beater to the Bank: Protecting College Athletes’ NIL Dealmaking Rights.” During and after the hearing, many in the college sports commentariat seemed confused and surprised by the dissonance between the stated purpose of the hearing—protecting college athletes’ NIL rights—and the avalanche of P5/NCAA talking points directed to protective federal legislation that had little to do with NIL. Observers also noted the apparent lack of expertise among the witnesses on NIL (or anything else) and the absence of influential P5/NCAA leaders. Where were Charlie Baker, Linda Livingstone, Greg Sankey, Jere Morehead, and Jack Swarbrick, among others? These protectors of the status quo have crucial roles in determining the future of college sports and have not been shy to use their formidable public megaphones to preach the status quo gospel. Also of note was the ignorance of the Subcommittee members on the basics of the college sports business, regulatory, and legal environments. None of this should have come as a surprise to anyone who has carefully followed the P5’s/NCAA’s multi-faceted campaign to end the athletes’ rights movement, which began in earnest in the fall of 2019. Congress—through the most powerful lobbyists in America—is the primary battleground, but the P5/NCAA war spans other fronts, including federal litigation to achieve coveted antitrust immunity, false promises of voluntary rules changes on NIL, and a sophisticated public relations gaslighting machine. The P5/NCAA have used these assets over the last four years to eliminate all threats to their regulatory authority and financial interests. To understand what happened at the hearing on March 29, it is essential to know (1) the history and power of big-time football, (2) Myles Brand’s “collegiate model” as a financial framework for big-time college sports, (3) the external regulatory and financial threats to the P5/NCAA in the 21st century, (4) the timeline of events from March 2019 – present, (5) the changing justifications for protective federal legislation, and (6) the extraordinary motivation of P5/NCAA interests to impose their will on Congress and college sports stakeholders, notably including the athletes whose fundamental American rights are at stake. This episode broadly addresses these issues and lays the foundation for a more detailed analysis of every component of the P5/NCAA campaign to end the athletes’’ rights movement. **Note: The opening montage runs for approximately five minutes. The clips are from three Congressional hearings: February 11th, 2020, in a subcommittee of Senate Commerce, July 1st, 2020, in Senate Commerce, and March 29th,, 2023, in House Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce. The speakers: Clip 1: former House member Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) (2/11/2020) Clip 2: former Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby (2/11/2020) Clip 3: former NCAA President Mark Emmert (2/11/2020) Clip 4: Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) (7/1/2020) Clip 5: Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) (7/1/2020) Clip 6: exchange between Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and University of Baltimore School of Law Professor Dionne Koller (7/1/2020) Clip 7: Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) (3/29/2023) I discuss these clips at the end of the episode.