The Leviathan: The NCAA

The NCAA is the most corrupt organization this side of the Iron Curtain.

What? The Iron Curtain doesn’t exist anymore?

I guess that makes the NCAA the new evil empire.

Aside from selective prosecutions (Hey Myles, what’s going on with Reggie Bush and USC?), lame rules (banning Native American mascots), and self-aggrandizing double-talk, the NCAA’s only purpose for existence is to ring more money out of sports.

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And just like any big organization, the NCAA has created its own boom of bureaucrats. According to one report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the NCAA has grown from limited regulation, to exhaustive regulation:

The NCAA published its first rule book in 1952. It was 25 pages. Half a century later, the NCAA has three separate rule books of 440, 349 and 316 pages, mostly governing off-the-field activity for its three divisions. Besides that, the NCAA has game rule books for football (255 pages), basketball (212) and other sports.

Such a surge has created hundreds of new jobs and new expenses for schools, whose increased vigilance has led to more violations being discovered, according to a survey and review of hundreds of violation reports obtained through open-records requests by The San Diego Union-Tribune…

A typical example of how this has affected schools is South Carolina. In the 1990s, the university had one full-time person committed to rules compliance, plus one full-time assistant. Today, you practically can’t throw a stone in Columbia without hitting a rules staffer. The Gamecocks have five rules interpreters, plus two administrative assistants and an intern.

Almost all major schools had only one rules compliance person in the 1990s. Today it’s at least two to four, an increase of about $100,000 to $200,000 in salaries per school.

Like accountants and lawyers in the real world, so are these bureaucratic leeches—the harder they look, the more justification for their existence they find.

Wait, did I compare NCAA and compliance workers with accountants and lawyers?

I apologize to accountants and lawyers. I shouldn’t have insulted you that way.

But you can see a correlation in real world organizations. When you create positions to find violations, you’ll get some each year. Why else do auditors look for Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues cluttering the office, or workmen’s comp posters in the break room?

It is how they show they are earning their salary.

How can compliance officers show they are earning their salary? You guessed it. More violations found.

Major rules cases have gone up, too. From 1953-85 (32 years), there were 284 major infractions cases, according to the NCAA’s database. In 23 years since, there have been 312.NCAA Major Infraction Cases NCAA Minor Infraction Cases

And to make sure there are new things to find every year, you have to increase size of the Byzantine labyrinth known as the NCAA rulebook. From 25 pages in 1952 to over 440 pages for Division I alone. NCAA Rulebook Size

For comparison the Union-Tribune provides the NFL rule book: In the NFL, where the owners collectively bargain with pro players, the joint agreement is 202 pages. The league’s official playing rules fit on 125.

Thomas Hobbes was right. The Leviathan just continues to grow. Thomas Hobbes Leviathan
Top NCAA Violators


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  1. 1

    “Like accountants and lawyers in the real world, so are these bureaucratic leeches—the harder they look, the more justification for their existence they find.”

    I’ll have you know that the government (FASB, GASB, SEC, IRS, etc.) make my job relevant! (j/k).

  2. 2

    LOL, you are correct. I wouldn’t want to live without access to lawyers and accountants. 😉

    But I had to pick on someone today!

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