“How can the NCAA blithely wreck careers without regard to due process or common fairness? How can it act so ruthlessly to enforce rules which can be so petty? Why won’t anybody resist these outrageous violations of American values and American justice?”
In the 4 years since Joe Nocera asked those questions within a controversial New York Times column, the National Collegiate Athletic Association is here under fire. Fans have begun to recognize that the athletes active in the two biggest college sports, men’s basketball and football, are nothing more than indentured servants. Millions of teenagers accept scholarships to chase their wants fame and fortune—at the cost of absolute submission to your whims connected with an organization that puts their interests dead last.
For about 5 % of top-division players, college ends which has a golden ticket on the NFL and the NBA. But how about the overwhelming majority who never turn pro? They don’t earn money from the estimated $13 billion generated annually by college sports—an ocean of income that enriches schools, conferences, coaches, TV networks, and apparel companies . . . everyone except those that give their blood and sweat to entertain the fans.
Indentured tells the dramatic story of an loose-knit gang of rebels who thought we would fight the hypocrisy in the NCAA, which blathers endlessly around the purity of their “student-athletes” while exploiting many: The ones who get injured and quit because their scholarships are already revoked. The ones who will neither graduate nor go pro. The ones who have a home in terror of accidentally violating some obscure rule in the 4-hundred-page NCAA rulebook.
Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss take us into your inner circle on the NCAA’s fiercest enemies. You’ll meet, amongst others . . .
·Sonny Vaccaro, the charismatic sports marketer who convinced Nike to sign Michael Jordan. Disgusted by how the NCAA treated athletes, Vaccaro used his intimate knowledge of the company’s secrets to blow the whistle inside a major legal case.
·Ed O’Bannon, the first sort UCLA basketball star who realized, years after leaving college, the NCAA was profiting from the video game using his image. His lawsuit generated an unprecedented antitrust ruling.
·Ramogi Huma, the founder with the National College Players Association, who dared to consentrate that college players really should have the same collective bargaining rights as other Americans.
·Andy Schwarz, the controversial economist who looked behind the façade on the NCAA and first viewed it for what it truly is: a cartel that violates our core values of free enterprise.
Indentured reveals how these and also other renegades, working sometimes in concert and frequently alone, are fighting for justice from the bare-knuckles arena of college sports.