Ray Ratto sees the last stalwart defenders of the notion of amateurism attempt a desperate fling at curtailing the commercial enterprise of college football, and reckons how it might end:
“And in these brazenly Darwinian times, with colleges across the country no longer even trying to hide that the only true motivation for their athletic departments is to squeeze money out of the customer base, the illusory virtues of education that the NCAA likes to brag about matter less and less.
“Indeed, the jockeying to trade up, which has now reached Villanova and Montana for God’s sake, and the side-door deals for recruits, which has now touched Kentucky and Tennessee (along with all the others), is part of the same general tone.
“The planets must grow. The giants must feed. And subtlety is for little prissy schoolmarms, because this is where the carnivores roam.
“Subtlety is the only way cheating can thrive untroubled. Keeping everyone quiet, keeping everyone happy, keeping everyone paid — that takes time, and attention to detail, and unlimited resources. You try and cut a corner here, forget to cross a T or dot an I, you have a donor who isn’t kicking in as much to the ancillary slush fund — it all adds up to less attention to the small stuff.
“That is, unless the NCAA is suddenly infused with new enforcement resources and the mood to use it, which seems counter to their secondary goal of keeping the wheels turning by keeping the engines churning.
“Their primary goal? Making people think this is a noble enterprise.”