Jim Brown advocates tearing apart and rebuilding the NCAA


The winds of change continue to swirl around college sports.  Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown prefers that it become a hurricane.

I’m totally for change and total change,” Brown said during a Saturday roundtable discussion at the first ever Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest in Cleveland.  “And I think that body needs to be torn apart and put back together with everybody’s best interests in mind.”

Brown made it clear that he wasn’t simply blurting out words randomly.

“I wanted to say it as harsh as I could, because I want them to come at me in any way they want to,” Brown said.  “Because it’s a shame the way that it happens.”

And if there was any doubt. . . .

“The NCAA is probably the most reprehensible organization God ever created,” Brown said.  “Total exploitation.  The kind of money they make, the kind of life they live, it’s embarrassing.”

It’s become a given that dramatic changes will be made to the current model of college sports, whether voluntarily by the NCAA and its members or involuntarily through the courts or the National Labor Relations Board or the will of people who choose not to support the current structure unless and until the billions generated are more equitably shared with the men and women who bring the money in.

Fortunately for the NCAA, the folks currently running the show have realized in recent days that it’s far better to not talk than to offer lame justifications that serve only to make more people realize that something big needs to happen.

Either way, something big will happen.  The only question is how the NCAA gets torn down and by whom.

61 responses to “Jim Brown advocates tearing apart and rebuilding the NCAA

  1. Jim Brown is and always has told the truth. If Donald Sterling is the devil of basketball the NCAA is the devil of amateur sports.

  2. If you’re an athlete focused on playing in the pros simply do not attend college if you feel you’re being exploited. Don’t sign the papers. Simple as that.

  3. I don’t think they need to tear it apart but they do need to adapt. I don’t necessarily think players should get paid, but they should have everything paid for. The extent of that would need to be monitored. Once you start giving certain sports/teams/players cash, it really could open up the floodgates for illegal activity from boosters. Then it will be about buying players.

  4. But, but the players get free schooling and the NCAA take all the risk and the status quo and blah, blah, blah and the unions will destroy … and Jim Brown is an idiot and should just go away.

    What’s wrong with the rich exploiting workers? They do it in every other industry. We hate change! It’s nothing but redistribution of wealth. (sarc)

  5. Wait, Jim Brown is making a good point. I’ll keep reading.

    “… the most reprehensible organization god has ever created.” There’s the crazy old man we all know. I doubt anyone ever goes to Jim Brown for guidance.

  6. The “men and women” who bring the money in? Which revenue-producing woman’s sport are you thinking of?

    The NCAA is horrible, and this is in no way a defense of it. But most advocates of paying players, evidently including PFT (I won’t use names), haven’t thought very deeply about the situation. Someone is making a lot of money, true. College athletes don’t get paid, though they do get much that’s of value. But the money-making athletes are very few of them, of most college athletes — including all of the women, like it or not — are part of the group benefiting from the few money makers.

  7. What is Goodell doing about this problem? Why isn’t there an NFL development league like baseball and basketball? NFL teams should have the money to subsidize this system, but they know no one will watch and the owners would rather leave it to the NCAA to brand and develop its players without bearing any risk.

  8. Mr. Brown, shut up, go back to your $50 a pop autograph table and collect your checks from the Browns for doing nothing. Something that really needs to get torn apart is his attitude that the world owes him and thinking people really care what he has to say.

  9. I guess he supports unionizing college players too. It’s time for him to fade away and enjoy life without comment.

  10. Wow I’m shocked that Jim Brown had something negative to say. He’s usually such a cheery, positive guy.

  11. Brown has only half a great idea. Tear down the NCAA? Yes. Build it back up again? No.

    Universities exist to educate people who want to change their lives or gain a deeper understanding of the world. While campus life is somewhat richer for students (even though student attendance at games has been declining) with college athletics, they’re completely superfluous.

    It’s plain to see that many athletes wish to remain dumb jocks by leaving a valuable education on the table. So let them. If they don’t want something to fall back on after their careers flame out or their knees get blown out, who cares? Someone’s gotta dig ditches or sell cars. Besides the can always go back after the pros and pay for their own education like most other people.

    Universities don’t exist to function as a minor league for the NFL or other professional sports. Get rid of college football and greedy NFL owners would forced to build a real developmental system for athletes. NBA D-League would get better, too. This would save us from sideshow clowns like Johnny Manziel, and all the whining about not getting paid.

    Take all the money saved by not pissing it away on women’s golf or men’s tennis and use it on people who are going to put their college education to good use in the world.

    I have more to say, but I’ve got to go and get my Pop Warner football team under the salary cap.

  12. The average benefits an athlete receives at a major university for 4 years is over $264,000 Tax Free ~ not bad for entry level employment….

    Keep in mind that is everyone, from the QB to the 2nd team wrestler or the right fielder on the woman’s softball team, Any extra benefits they pay the Star QB , under Title IX the will either have to pay that right fielder or eliminate that sport.

  13. Most colleges and universities aren’t in the education business, they are in the research business to make money. Read your school’s description and charter carefully. The Profs by and large do not teach at all; teaching assistants teach. The Profs are busy doing research or writing papers for publication or schmoozing for grant money for more research. Any patents are owned by the school and the school profits handsomely for any medicines, medical devices, mechanical devices, electrical devices, etc. that are developed by their staffs. The schools also milk their alumni for endowments and contributions.

    Education and preparation of students for a productive career is merely a by-product of the profit generating process.

    So, yeah, pay the athletes for what they do — bring in millions for the school.

  14. We don’t pay to watch the players we pay to watch our alma mater play. Jim Brown should start a developmental league for pro prospects and ill take real student/athletes against other student/athletes any day of the week.

  15. I agree with Jim Brown. But does anyone really believe the southern schools will accept a college football union? They still have the slave owner mentality down there. I lived down there for 6 years and just about everyone local I knew worked for less money willingly because they didn’t believe workers should have the right to collectively bargain for better wages. Change will not come easily in the heart of Dixie.

  16. What type of money are we talking about here? There are 125 FBS schools with a maximum of 85 scholarshiped players. Of those 125 schools only what 30 or 40 teams make all that money for the NCAA with only about 40 players getting significant playing time to help their team out.

  17. If the free education while you play a sport is too hard just don’t do it. Pay for school like everyone else and drop your sport if it’s what makes you happy .

  18. tremoluxman says: May 3, 2014 7:46 PM

    Most colleges and universities aren’t in the education business, they are in the research business to make money. Read your school’s description and charter carefully. The Profs by and large do not teach at all; teaching assistants teach. The Profs are busy doing research or writing papers for publication or schmoozing for grant money for more research.

    I’m sure that when someone told you that, it made perfect sense to you… unfortunately, the facts don’t support that nice story.
    The vast majority of professors teach several classes a semester. And despite producing research that advances their respective fields in lots of important ways, most of them are deeply invested in educating their students.

  19. Ok example, For you angry, bitter, stupid types that think athletes dont deserve more than their scholorship. Lets take Alabama. Out of state total education cost for 85 scholarship football players at 18000 per year (im sure there are some in state athletes), $1,600,000 cost, in 2012-2013 each SEC school received $20.4 million in revenue sharing, lets say 50 percent gets allocated to football, thats $10.2 million. This does not include revenue generated by home game revenue from ticket sales, merchandise revenue. This also doesnt account for increases in enrollment and additional tuition revenue generated by the university due to success of the football program. Alabamas revenue payout for Sugar Bowl last year was between 14-17 million last year. Yeah you clowns are right, the athletes dont deserve some of that money

  20. Post #2. Alabama had a $21.2 athletic budget surplus for 2013. Generated $38.9 million in football ticket revenue in 2013.

    Their 2013 SEC revenue sharing payout was $23.9 million. This is why the NCAA doesnt want anyone intruding on their gravy train. Jim Brown is right.

    Pay the athletes some of this money.

  21. As far as trying to pay players in certain sports:
    First off, there are huge differences between what a private university can do and a state school. A state school would likely have to pay every player of every sport the same and would have to have that budget approved by the state legislature. Not likely.
    Second, you can’t let individuals make money off their name because of the abuse that absolutely would be rampant there. Boosters would pay ridiculous money to non-stars just to help the team recruit more players.
    Finally, of the 100,000 or so football players playing at all levels of college football, how many are good enough to go pro? 200-300 a year with about 100 having real careers. The rest need to make really good use of their free education and get a decent job because their career is likely over after their college eligibility.

    The NCAA is bad and needs changed. It should be as harsh on coaches and schools as players and should not pretend to be a tax exempt organization. There should be other changes too, but you can’t just pay a certain type or amount of players.

  22. Jim Brown is saying what a lot of people in my age group feel, I’m 22 btw.

  23. How about the NFL subsidizes the football programs of all colleges. They can’t sponsor a college but they could all of college football.After all, pro football benefits way more from this de facto minor league than the NCAA does. Top players don’t go to college for an education,that’s why they get recruited and choose what team will give them the best chance of showcasing themselves. So,if the NFL supports college football and acknowledges that it’s their developmental league,the student-athletes (lol) will be semi-pro and can unionize and all that jazz. Take the windfall from the normal funds generated by the season and use those to pay players and offset the other sports. If a guy doesn’t get drafted,he could at least try to educate himself and apply for the draft again. That way the NFL,NCAA and the players exploit themselves to success.

  24. Agree or disagree with Jim Brown, I appreciate the fact that he speaks his mind about the injustices in our society. Most of us are too afraid to confront issues we know are wrong, corrupt and blatantly obvious. Some of the NCAA’s petty rules that deny athletes basic spending money don’t make sense. I say get rid of the petty rules that cause athletes to lose their eligibility. That’s the first thing that needs to be changed.

  25. Tearing it apart and starting over with a design that fits the modern era makes perfect sense

    Too bad the government doesn’t do the same thing with dysfunctional government agencies

  26. The get an education, which isn’t cheap these days. What they do with it is up to them. But the more I read about multi million dollar athletes going bankrupt, the more I feel the education was wasted.

  27. Jim Brown is saying what a lot of people in my age group feel, I’m 22 btw.
    Your age group and its mentality is what’s wrong with this country

  28. Pay these athletes $40,000 per year each. However eliminate scholarships and enforce a minimum GPA of 2.3 for the year.

  29. Exactly what kind of revenues do womens athletics bring to the table?

    “until the billions generated are more equitably shared with the men and women who bring the money in.”

    Do the research and then down vote me.

  30. Anyone who believes that these kids aren’t employees is beyond outdated. Once you get past that ridiculous argument, you get to the question of fair wage and compensation for schools selling their likenesses and shirts with their names on them. Even if they were paid 25% of their value, it would be a great step forward.

  31. To paraphrase Alexis de Tocqueville, “The most perilous moment for a bad government is one in which it seeks to mend its ways ” .

    So maybe Jim Brown is right. Tear it down. Can’t be trusted to fix themselves.

  32. I agree. It’s mere existence and means of regulating college athletics is revolting. The forty or so schools who compete most consistently at the upper levels in football and basketball, your Alabamas, Florida States, LSU,s USC s should tell the ncaa to shove it and create their own self regulating organization. Leave the ncaa to the lower tier programs that don’t draw large attendance or bring in big tv money.

  33. Wouldn’t most of this go away by merely having a real minor league for football. Then the people who value an education and happen to excel at sports can go to school and the folks who just want to play ball and get paid can go suit up for the Des Moines pro football team.

  34. I think Jim brown is right. The NCAA made 15 billion dollars..the universities got their money, the Presidents of the universities got their money, the coaches got their money. The student athletes, got zero.
    How about this? A student athlete gets injured, can’t play any more. He loses the scholarship, goes home, has to pay his way home, and gets nothing.

    Think I’m kidding? The state of California passed a law saying if this happens again, the student athlete cannot lose his scholarship, the university has to honor it, and the university has to pay for the student’s medical bills until recovered.
    Think of it…they had to pass a law. The NCAA and the universities did nothing to help these student athletes.

  35. Perhaps the solution is to pay the college athletes a percentage of the revenue their sport generates for the school, depending upon their contribution to that sport. Starters get more than scrubs, etc. That way, all would make money…oh wait how much would the girls bowling team make?

  36. This kind of reminds me of being an articling student for an accounting firm. The firm “owns” you for 30 months because you must go through them to get your Letters. As a result they pay you below market value for what you do. Once you hit the open market you make a lot more. Just the way the game is played I guess. It works if the competitive jobs in other fields are not as promising, but if lawyers or other white collar work pays more (even during the articling phase) then talent will naturally go there. Supply and demand.

    The problem with the NCAA is they throw the veil of education over the whole racket to make it look like they offer higher learning. My brother’s weight lifting course at Fresno State didn’t exactly make him a lot smarter.

  37. I don’t think we should pay student athletes to play on top of scholarships when tuition for everyone else is so high. But there is a lot of money being made on some of these athletes and that isn’t right either.

    The NCAA is rotten and it isn’t just the NCAA. The whole system stinks.

  38. News flash Mr. Brown. God did not invent the NCAA. That has to rate right up there with another one of those stupid things to come out of your mouth. I do dislike the NCAA. But that was and still is mans doing.

  39. So it’s Ok to rape women but not to give a free ride to players? Ok Jim we hear what you are saying. Maybe the NCAA should pay the players what they want and then charge them for the price of an education much like most other college employee’s.

  40. Think I’m kidding? The state of California passed a law saying if this happens again, the student athlete cannot lose his scholarship, the university has to honor it, and the university has to pay for the student’s medical bills until recovered.
    Think of it…they had to pass a law. The NCAA and the universities did nothing to help these student athletes.


    That’s the way it should be! Plus, even if a “student athlete” lives off campus they should still be able eat at the school. That might eliminate SOME of the need for players to have spending money.

  41. Are you sure he didn’t mean the NAACP? That makes more sense! Segregation is separation no matter the color of your skin.

  42. God did not invent the NCAA, just some guys who think they are God!
    I wonder what Jim would say if he lost his job by an NCAA investigator who lied to the infractions committee?

  43. As always, Jim Brown is ranting again about something. Whether he is right on this one or not doesn’t matter because he has such low credibility whatever he says will be taken with a boulder of salt….

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