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Is the NCAA Anti-Male?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

In 1972, Congresswoman Patsy Mink authored an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The amendment, which was passed and signed into law, states that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..." The law was called Title IX. The question now is whether this admirable idea has evolved into a law that is anti-male, and particularly anti-black male.

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, let me state for the record that I actively support Women’s college sports. Women’s softball is a fabulous and exciting game. Women’s basketball has improved dramatically, and now truly merits the coverage they receive on ESPN. Women’s volleyball, soccer, and several other sports are both well-played and competitive at the major college level. Unfortunately, there’s one thing they all have in common: they are utterly dependent upon Men’s football and basketball programs for their existence.

When Ms. Mink made her proposal, she did not suggest to the NCAA that the burden of funding Women’s sports should be placed on the backs of their male counterparts. But the NCAA saw an easy target in the rapidly-increasing revenues generated by Men’s football and basketball, and they took advantage of it. They started building bigger football stadiums and basketball arenas – every one of which was fitted with high-priced corporate boxes – to rake in more revenue in order to meet the compliance requirements of Title IX.

Instead of funding women’s sports through student fees (or other methods), the NCAA decided that money should come from athletic department budgets. The fact that male football and basketball players were creating the revenue and receiving none of the proceeds was beside the point. To the NCAA, the players were being well remunerated with a free college education, and the revenues they were generating were needed for the other sports. This policy became a shibboleth of the academic elite, and no one dared to challenge the established orthodoxy. After all, remember what happened to Lawrence Summers when he confronted the Women’s rights bloc at Harvard. Why rock the boat when the only ones being taken advantage of were the athletes, who “all” thought that they would eventually hit a big payday in professional sports. The fact that this pie-in-the-sky scenario never happened for most men playing college football or basketball didn’t matter. It covered the behinds of the NCAA.

So you don’t think the policy of using the funds from Men’s football and basketball is anti-male? How about this one – it is downright racist. If you follow college sports, your eyes tell you that an overwhelming percentage of both football and basketball players are Black. That is because at Division I schools 61% of basketball players and 46% of football players are Black. They are too often brought into schools to win games, not to study and graduate. Most of them are offered the pipe dream of becoming a star at their school along with the prospects of a future in the NFL or NBA – and, if they suffer career-ending injuries, well, that’s just part of the chances they take. If they finish four years of college without graduating, well, that’s just too bad. The fact that they skipped classes to do two-a-day workouts was their choice.

Take a look at the other sports. Your eyes will again tell you the rosters of Men’s baseball teams are almost all white and the same goes for lacrosse and hockey. Soccer, wrestling, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, rugby – every one of these sports rides on the back of the black football and basketball players. That is because except for Track the percentage of Black players is below 10%. Except for Women’s basketball (33%), every Woman’s sport fields principally white rosters (again except for Track below 6%). And not one of these teams is financially self-sufficient – they all live or die on whether that 6’ 5” black lineman or 6’8” black power forward signs with the school and performs and packs the stands.

The problem is that the system is falling apart. More and more schools are being charged with NCAA infractions (most indecipherable) while trying to recruit and keep their unpaid money machines. The price of coaches (principally white) and Athletic Directors (principally white) is climbing into the millions while the players who generate the revenues – unlike every other student – are restricted from earning ordinary spending money.

How long can this sexist, racist charade go on? Frankly, it has only lasted this long because it supports the liberal sacred cow of “women’s rights.” Because the NCAA is run by a monolithically left-wing lineup – college administrators – they have been protected against accusations that they are taking advantage of poor black kids. No private business would be able to get away with this scam, and neither should the NCAA.

Major changes have to happen in how these players are recruited, how they’re treated when arriving on campus, and what they receive for playing big-time college sports. They deserve something more than a college degree, too many of which (to be honest) won’t lead to jobs that pay well enough to afford a hip replacement at the age of 50. Everybody is profiting off the skills and sacrifices these players have made – except the athletes that actually create the revenue flow. The system is sick and has to change, or it will eventually suffer a major calamity that forces change upon it.

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