Total Socialism

Those are the words of the insufferable Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson in defending the NCAA’s vote to confer upon the Power Five conferences more autonomy. What that means, according to Patterson, is that if a school doesn’t make any money and no one wants to watch it on TV and the schools making the money are “carrying the liability,” then there is no reason to “have total socialism.”

John Infante, as I wrote yesterday, pointed out the contradiction in Patterson’s thinking, since when it comes to the non-revenue sports, Patterson is all for Total Socialism, insisting that it would be “bad for America” to axe those sports. Everything that Patterson insists applies to football at BYU, Boise State, East Carolina, Cincinnati and so forth applies much more so to lacrosse, swimming, gymnastics and so on.

Juliet Macur’s critical assessment yesterday of this latest NCAA decision warned that one of the consequences of less sharing of the wealth between the Big Five and the rest could be that “other programs, unable to keep up, would face the choice of dropping down a division or eradicating non-revenue sports to go all in on football and basketball.”

I don’t know whether Macur is right. But her speculation about the fate of non-revenue sports in schools outside the Big Five is no less plausible than Patterson’s alarmism about their fate inside the Power Five.  Patterson, of course, doesn’t really care about the non-revenue sports. That’s just a BS cover for protecting the prerogatives of big-time collegiate athletics, which is making money hand over fist while, remarkably, still managing to avoid compensating its workers in regular US currency.

Patterson is really starting to give Dr. Mark Emmert a run for his money as the most incoherent defender of the “collegiate model.” Makes you wonder whether he’s next in line for Emmert’s job.



  1. Macur’s point is how a free market works. If people want rowing at their school, start up a fundraiser to fund it because it doesn’t generate revenue. I don’t have a problem with schools dropping non revenue sports for revenue generating sports. Title IX proponents will want equality but if you want it bad enough, start up a club and raise money for it. Woman’s basketball would probably make it through but thats about it. College football, basketball, women’s basketball, and college hockey are enough for me and most fans wouldn’t miss the other sports.

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