THE COUCH SLOUCH

Fair pay to play act for college athletes might be the right thing, but at what cost?

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In the rush to celebrate California Gov. Gavin Newsom signing the Fair Pay to Play Act into law – allowing college athletes in the state to finally get compensated for endorsements and the like, starting in 2023 – most pundits are failing to realize this is not as wonderful as it seems.

Everybody is treating this broadside against the hypocritical, dictatorial NCAA as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

(To be honest, I never understood why sliced bread was considered that big of a breakthrough. What's so hard about buying a loaf of bread and then slicing it at home? Heck, the knife was a big deal, and, frankly, the spork – half spoon, half fork – was ingenius.)*

(* It's amazing how often I get off track, among the many reasons I am not ever taken seriously for Pulitzer, Peabody or Nobel award consideration.)

Sure, it's always a good day when the big, bad NCAA is leveled. What do we know about the NCAA? It acts as if it's the fourth branch of government, accountable to no one except its accountants, and it has really, really nice offices in Indianapolis near Interstate 70.

The NCAA, naturally, strongly opposed this new law; it was also opposed to indoor plumbing and freeway exits.

The NCAA position on this California development – college athletes will be able to endorse products, host sports camps, sign memorabilia or autographs for money, attach their names to video games, et al – is best reflected by the response of the Pac-12 conference: "This legislation will lead to the professionalization of college sports."

Oh, please. Everything about Division 1 football and men's basketball is professional, with the sole exception that its labor force is unpaid and Dick Vitale never stops shouting.

Indeed, I would sum up the NCAA's modus operandi as the following:

The rich get richer and everyone else eats ramen.

Technically, the Fair Pay to Play Act is progress. In the old days, a school might sell a prospect on the quality of its football program, the quality of its education, the quality of the region, etc. Now, a school might woo a prospect with all of that plus the possibility of, say, a local Chevy dealer who is willing to pay a lot for a business relationship with the starting quarterback.

Yes, this is the free market at work. But it's not as free-and-simple as that.

California often is a punch line and often is a pacesetter. In this case, it's both.

Is it possible to take a step in the right direction and the wrong direction at the same time?

(Note: I ask myself that every time I walk down the matrimonial aisle.)

We are casting an erroneous wide net in seeking to solve our college athletics problem.

By the way – and I promise this is the last tangential interruption – why are Newsom and the California state legislature even treading in these waters? I can think of 400, maybe 405 more pressing issues at the moment in the sometimes not-so-Golden State in which I live.

So, why wouldn't colleges align themselves with companies and local retailers who can assure large payments for the best athletes? Why wouldn't third parties – boosters – engage in licit and illicit behavior to pave the yellow brick road for the home team? Wouldn't some high schools start down this path to bring in better athletic talent?

A student-athlete certainly should have the right to assess his or her best deal financially, but I again return to a basic premise:

Why are institutions of higher education trafficking in these areas?

As always, I lean on former University of Chicago president Robert Maynard Hutchins for wisdom: "A student can win twelve letters at a university without learning to write one."

Besides the fact that we are creating another level of potential impropriety and corruption, where exactly in the mission statement for most universities is the part about running sporting events for profit?

This entire unholy business stands as a complete incongruity to a university's raison d'être. What, you don't comprehend raison d'être? That's because you went to a school that prioritized basketball over books and you've spent every autumn Saturday since 1993 watching "College GameDay."

Let me wrap it up this week with my favorite antiquated, oldie-but-goodie sentiment:

Build more libraries, not stadiums.

Ask The Slouch

Q. When somebody tells somebody else "you can't hold my jockstrap," what does that mean? (Nathan Margolis; Albany, N.Y.)

A. I guess you've never tried to hold somebody else's jockstrap.

Q. New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis wears a "Man of God" headband. What would your headband read? (Brian Coffman; Gaithersburg, Md.)

A. "Best by 12-17-96."

Q. I do not understand the crux of this NBA-China dustup. Do you? (Scott Ayres; Houston)

A. I don't either, but I love the word "crux."

Q. Is Dan Snyder the Peter Angelos of the NFL or is Peter Angelos the Dan Snyder of MLB? (Mary Lafsky; Great Falls, Va.)

A. Pay the lady, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!



Ask The Slouch

Q. When somebody tells somebody else "you can't hold my jockstrap," what does that mean? (Nathan Margolis; Albany, N.Y.)

A. I guess you've never tried to hold somebody else's jockstrap.

Q. New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis wears a "Man of God" headband. What would your headband read? (Brian Coffman; Gaithersburg, Md.)

A. "Best by 12-17-96."

Q. I do not understand the crux of this NBA-China dustup. Do you? (Scott Ayres; Houston)

A. I don't either, but I love the word "crux."

Q. Is Dan Snyder the Peter Angelos of the NFL or is Peter Angelos the Dan Snyder of MLB? (Mary Lafsky; Great Falls, Va.)

A. Pay the lady, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

Staying optimistic is the goal

Nate Hinton on COVID-19 and the short ending season

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Having a discussion with Nate Hinton, a potential upcoming draftee in the 2020 NBA Draft, on his short ending season because of COVID-19, was very resourceful. He was still able to stay very optimistic and promising towards the future. Hinton looks forward to seeing his teammates, coaches, and the NCAA come back stronger than ever from this.

As the discussion ran, Hinton expressed his shock for the NBA shutting down, although he knew the league would make the right decision so the virus would not spread.

"I was kind of in shock but when of the members caught it, I knew we were next. I also knew the knew the NCAA was going to take the same precaution."

Hinton has declared for the NBA Draft, but will keep his eligibility at UH just in case it does not work out.

Hinton also expressed his feelings towards his potential last season being cancelled. The team was on the way to the conference tournament when the news hit the surface. Hinton was able to keep a calm demeanor and not act bizarre.

"Just one of those numb feelings knowing we couldn't play no more. It was basically out of are hands. We were on the way to the conference tourney when we found out."

Hinton did mention that he was not too worried at first because of the unknowing of the virus. His main concern was being well educated on the situation before decisions were made. Hinton wanted to know the correct actions to take when told how to move through this pandemic.

"I wasn't too worried because I didn't know how serious it was. I didn't want to panic because things were shutting down. I just wanted to take it day to day and wait for the right outcome."

Hinton liked the idea of the NCAA shutting down because of COVID-19. He felt like it was the right action to take towards this virus. Hinton's concerns was for his family, friends, and fans to say safe through this epidemic.

"Since the NBA shutdown, it was cool that that the NCAA took precautionary measures. Because there a lot of fans that come to the event; including family that plan all year to come."

Hinton did make a great compliment on Coach Sampson's composure through the unsure times of the pandemic. He loved the fact that Sampson was able to stay calm when waiting on the information. Sampson did make sure that every kid made it home safely.

"He was like everybody else because he didn't know how serious it was. He needed more information on it. He was calm about the situation and was able to get us home safely. He was great throughout the process"

Hinton was very sympathetic towards the senior on his team. He really expressed his heart to Chris Harris, a friend on the team. Hinton wanted to see his friend finish strong because it was his last season.

"Chris Harris is a senior for our team, and he had realized that he played his last game. I assumed he was sad because he put a lot into the university and culture."

Hinton felt very confident that this Cougar basketball team was going to have a good run at March Madness this year. The Cougars were 23-8 on the season and 13-5 in conference. The Cougars lost last year in March Madness to the Kentucky Wildcats. People were concerned when the Cougars lost Corey Davis because he was the leading scorer last year. The team was still able to dominate conference with a young team and great coaching staff. They were able to become back to back American conference champs.

"We were very confident, and we were going to create buzz. We were going to be that team we expected no matter how young we were."

While playing with this university, he has played with two great teams, but which team was better? Hinton was very humble when he answered that question.

"Last year was much more senior lead and this year was young a team so we had to grow up together."

Hinton's game has improved a lot from last season. He was shooting the three ball at 38.7% this season and shot for 33.7% last year. Hinton also grabbed more boards this season than last season by averaging 8.7 rebounds a game. He was even the third leading scorer on his team this season. Hinton's biggest successes this season was making first team all-district for the NABC and second team all-conference in the American conference.


Nate Hinton Highlights vs UCF 20 points 1 3 2020 youtu.be


"I just worked and wanted to be dependable for my teammates and coaches. I learned from the seniors last year and teammates as well."

Hinton even expressed his gratitude on playing for Coach Sampson. He talked about how mentally tough players had to be to play with Coach Sampson.

"He wants us to play hard and compete second we're on the court. He demands perfection in imperfect game. He pushes you to be great at all cost. You got to be built different to play for him."

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