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What is the NCAA’s Legacy?

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A player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament basketball game in 2012. Photo: Keith Srakocic / Associated Press

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s three-week long event, one of its crown jewels, the Men’s Basketball Tournament is fast approaching on the calendar. But here is a question. How legitimate is that tournament or anything the NCAA presents?

This year the tournament will take place under a cloud of suspicion – or it should take place under a cloud of suspicion. There is an FBI investigation of the college basketball business. That should be enough to question the integrity of the tournament.

The NCAA recently stripped the University of Louisville of its 2013 championship banner despite the fact Rick Pitino’s team won the tournament. It seems that the punishment has no teeth and in fact there should be many questions about what that exactly means. The NCAA and its partners promoted that championship, the games were played, television partners paid a fortune of money to air those games, marketing partners paid top dollar to sell their products during NCAA telecasts and bought signage inside the arena and then there are those who bought tickets to Louisville games in Indianapolis, Washington and Atlanta and invested money in traveling to those cities for the game which according to the NCAA never took place.

The games did take place and Louisville did win the championship, which makes the NCAA record book as valid as Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment record book. At least the WWE tells you it is a staged event. Rick Pitino denied knowledge that players being recruited were enticed by strippers and others to attend the school in 2011 and that practiced ended in 2015. Pitino was fired prior to the season.

The NCAA likes money and gets it. There is always the claim that athletic programs are money losers. If that is the case, why are colleges and universities in the sports business? Who is making the programs whole? Student fees? Is the NCAA legitimate?

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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