Friday, March 7, 2014
3-point stance: Alston suit troubling
By Ivan Maisel
1. Former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston’s grounds for suing the NCAA and the five equity conferences should dredge up bad memories for college athletics’ old guard. Alston’s antitrust claim, that scholarships covering less than the full cost of attendance amount to restraint of trade, is similar to the restricted-earnings debacle of the early 1990s. The NCAA passed a rule that some assistant coaches in various sports could earn only $16,000. After losing the case, the NCAA eventually settled for $54.5 million.
2. It’s ironic that Alston is suing the five big conferences, which have the funds and the will to pay scholarships that would cover the full cost of attendance. They have been held back by Division I members who don’t have that kind of money and fear the competitive imbalance that would result. But considering that Ohio Stadium seats more than 100,000 and Ohio U.’s Peden Stadium seats 24,000, the competitive-imbalance ship sailed a long time ago.
3. The inclusion of 1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam of Colorado on the new College Football Hall of Fame ballot reminds us of one aspect of what the Hall represents. The Buffaloes’ run of dominance lasted from the late 1980s through the 1990s. The Hall has elected linebacker Alfred Williams (2010) and head coach Bill McCartney (2013). Salaam and running back Eric Bieniemy are eligible. Lined up behind them are cornerback Deon Figures, center Jay Leeuwenburg, linebacker Matt Russell, wide receiver Michael Westbrook, and others. A once-dominant program gets to re-live its success. That’s nice.