Editorial: Hypocritical organization tiresome

Mar. 27, 2013 @ 03:22 PM

For any Duke basketball players attending class Monday who were wide awake and alert, we tip our hat. The charter flight from Philadelphia arrived about 4 a.m. following their just before 10 p.m. game Sunday evening in the NCAA Tournament.

Television and its money set up the late start. And when the NCAA proclaims “student-athlete” in anything it says, we bristle.

There was no reason for any game to not be played in the afternoon or at a reasonable early-evening hour in the championship tournament this past weekend. When more than $750 million is coming in from the event annually, what’s a few million for not providing a game in a time slot?

“Student-athlete” may be the most hypocritical phrase. Ever.

But start times are a mere pittance.

New Jersey’s governor wanted legalized gambling at casinos and horse tracks, so the NCAA banned championship events from the state. When a federal judge swatted the governor’s bid, the NCAA said the state was free to bid for host locations.

A women’s basketball player, before going to college, earned money for commercials playing hoops with Tony the Tiger. When she went to Syracuse, the NCAA said her honestly made money affected her amateur status. After she blew out a knee, the school wanted the scholarship back when she couldn’t play her senior year.

There’s so many more. A wrestler for Minnesota, who is black, was adopted by white parents as a 1-month-old, endured taunts and bullying but now is a recording artist with songs of encouragement. He sings to tell youngsters they can overcome, be a success. His school, worried about the NCAA, asked him to take his name off his songs and remove his image from videos. Ugh.

Athletes getting paid, football playoffs and class time missed, the NCAA as a non-profit — hypocrisy runs thick in this organization. But spare us the phrase “student-athlete.”

The NCAA is concerned with making money from these athletes’ talents, justifying hokey rules consistently proven inconsistent, and bullying when necessary to hold its holier-than-thou place in the sports world.

The spotlight has trouble finding its many positives. If only it could be honest in promotions, step out of its way so they can shine, and stop with the hypocrisy.