Stan Van Gundy Is Done Pussy-Footing Around With College Athletics

A lot of people know Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy is not shy when it comes to offering his opinions. Since the NBA Lockout is robbing us of chances to hear from Mr. Van Gundy, we were fortunate enough to find this nugget of his wisdom, especially on a subject near and dear to the staff here at Dubsism.  It seems that Van Gundy believes in revamping the business end of college athletics.

In an interview with the Miami Herald, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy addressedthe Yahoo! Sports investigation into extra benefits University of Miami athletes allegedly received from booster Nevin Shapiro. Van Gundy blames the problems that plague college sports on the NCAA clinging to its untenable vision of amateurism and argues that the best solution would be trashing the rulebook altogether.

“Let the schools decide whom they enroll and how — no entrance or eligibility requirements, how much the boosters want to pay them and whether or not they go to class,” he told the Herald. “There are two rules. You play only four seasons, and the upper age limit is 25. No other rules. Players who are paid must declare their income and pay taxes on it. If they don’t and get caught, then they have to deal with the IRS and instead of giving back the Heisman they risk going to jail.

“This drops the myth about amateurism and education. It allows players to get paid but puts it out in the open. Now people can stop hiding behind their idealism about the purity of college athletics and let you know what the school and alumni truly value. NCAA enforcement is the drug war. We’ve lost. Let’s find a different, more realistic approach.”

It certainly is a radical approach, and I’m not sure I can support it, but his point is not without merit inasmuch as it strips all the pretense off of this situation, which in and of itself is a step in the right direction.  For the most part, his approach is since the NCAA has shown no ability to prevent boosters, agents, and anyone else with an interest from spreading cash around like so much creamy peanut butter, why not just allow it?

For me, the biggest problem I have with this plan is it smacks just a bit too much of they “legalize drugs” argument; you can’t stop it, so you might as well permit it. That seems like a bit of a cop-out, and there’s a definite element of “passing the buck,” but he does have the correct basic idea: it is time to quit pretending college athletics isn’t a big-time business.

The major implication in Van Gundy’s approach is there’s no harm in a “free market system” in which top players can accept money from boosters in return for signing with a particular school and then hire an agent and earn endorsements once they enroll if their performance warrants it.

That system is vastly more feasible than any pay-to-play proposal suggesting that cash-strapped universities should pay players an annual salary. Critics  surely will argue Van Gundy’s proposal would create an uneven playing field by rewarding wealthy schools with the financial means to pay top recruits, but CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish accurately points out the landscape might not look much different than it does now.

Van Gundy’s scathing criticism of the NCAA includes this bleak picture of college sports as a farm system “set up for everybody but the kids while pretending to be about the kids.”

“The schools don’t want to be blatantly in the situation of being professional sports even though they already are professional sports,” Van Gundy said. “They just want to disguise it, so they hide behind education. But, really, all you want is enough of your athletes to graduate so it looks like that’s what you care about.”

It’s not pretty, but its has a double-fisted amount of truth in it. If nothing else, it is high time to drop the charade that college athletics is not a major revenue-generating business. I’m not sure Van Gundy’s approach is the right one, because I’m not convinced an absence of regulation other than federal law is the answer, but at least his idea moves this problem in the right direction.

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15 responses

  1. Now if he can get someone who doesn’t sound like they’re going through puberty to say it, he might have something there.

    Meehan

    1. Hey, at least he’s not the Van Gundy who was Alonzo Mourning’s ankle bracelet.

  2. Stan has my utter admiration for this statement ! Unfortunately both he and Otis Smith have made the Magic roster a complete shambles . Tell me , other than Dwight Howard is there anyone on that team who you’d fear as a player ?

    I know that both (Smith and Van Gundy) wanted to assemble talent that they thought capable of winning an NBA title but this was ridiculous ! There’s more talent to be found on the reality show “DWTS ” at present .

    Donna Shalala bares all for Playboy . But AD Shawn Eichorst and Al Golden still appear to be in complete denial .

    tophatal ………….

    1. “Donna Shalala bares all for Playboy” That sound you hear is that of millions of men firing nail guns into their retinas.

      1. JW

        That’s a sign of class on the campus of Miami ! Nail gun to the retina ? I hear that former Canes’ players want to see what Shalala looks in the nude rather than contemplate subjecting themselves to that type of flagellation .

        What do you think about the rumors going around the the college football landscape is about to change with there simply being four or five super conferences , with them perhaps in the end breaking away in totality from the NCAA and their mandate concerning the game ?

        I think if it happens , it will be because of the broadcast networks ! I mean with ESPN’s tie in with Texas and that multi million dollar deal ( Longhorns Network) you simply know things are about to go downhill from there !

        They say initially that the deal will provide the Longhorns with $300 million over two decades . But if it’s fruitful we all know it’ll be a great deal higher .

  3. Trying…to get nails…into gun…but hands shaking…

    1. Always keep the nail gun loaded…little trick I learned during the Jim Fregosi era in Philadelphia…

  4. Is it too late to nominate Stan Van as NCAA Commissioner?

  5. A naked Donna Shalala and a Jim Fregosi era reference in the same comment trail are too much to take…consider the nail gun now fully loaded.

  6. sportsattitude

    If you had your pick between Shalala and Rosie O’Donnell who’d it be ? Don’t be shy ….. clue us in as to who ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

  7. “Thanks” Tophatal. Well played. Shalala. Gotta go with the “cougar”…

    1. sportsattitudes

      I see you’re a man of distinction ! Now unto something relevant what thoughts if any do you have with these now so called super conferences that’ll come about within college football ? Good for the game or is it simply about nothing more than greed ?

      All of these conferences commissioners are so full fecal matter that it doesn’t bear thinking about concerning their claims .

  8. Funny you mention that, Tophatal. I had a slew of quotes saved up from various sources that I was going to throw out there on a post trying to summarize all this madness from others’ prospective. I am so flippin’ disgusted with college football right now were I to quote myself I’d be banned from WordPress. I should have seen this writing on the wall when the BCS cartel and the College Football Association were created. If these schools can look into TV cameras with a straight face and say it is ok for their women’s volleyball teams to fly cross-country to play a match every other week and that’s in their interest as well as their schools, God bless ‘em. These “institutions of higher learning” are no better than Wall Street. And you wait…the other shoe will drop as more “non-revenue” sports get dropped, further “enhancing” the collegiate experience for “all.”

    1. sportsattitudes

      The college experience for the student athlete has now been epitomized by the “actions” of Bush , Newton and Pryor to name but a few . Never mind the actions of coaches such as Saban , Pearl , Calhoun , Jim Tressel , Pete Carroll Butch Davis , Steve Spurrier (latest to be caught with his hands in the cookie jar) and even Mike Krzyzsewski ! So there’s not much more that can be said on the matter apart from the bull_hit now being uttered by the likes of (conference commissioners) Larry Scott , Mike Slive and Jim Delaney . The whole system is so damn corrupt that they could teach the South American drug cartels a thing or two ’bout handling their business ! And where’s the NCAA to be seen in this all ?

      tophatal ..

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