CA Should Sell Univ. Football Teams

John Seiler:

To avoid bankruptcy, any sensible business or family begins selling things: cars, TVs, computers, office furniture, etc. Otherwise, the stuff might be sold anyway at a bankruptcy auction.

Not California. The state owns billions of dollars of property it could sell, but doesn’t.

Here’s something else it could sell: University football teams. The Wall Street Journal lists the estimated value of America’s top university and college football teams. These teams, although supposedly non-profit, are worth as much as professional teams. They make tens of millions on lucrative TV and memorabilia contracts.

One advantage they have is low labor costs. The “scholars” are paid almost nothing to play for a couple of years. Only a handful will go on to glory and multi-million-dollar contracts in the NFL.

It’s a ripoff and a bad example for all students.

The most lucrative teams all are back East:

Texas: $805 million
Florida: $630 million
Michigan: $619 million
Notre Dame: $581 million
Georgia: $565

In the Golden State, the school racking up the most gold is USC at $302. But it’s a private school (although getting a lot of tax money).

For the schools owned by the California government, here are the numbers:

California: $135 million
UCLA: $123 million
San Diego State: $47 million
San Jose State: $26 million

Total:  $331 million.

That’s not chump change in these times of tight budgets.

Sell the teams to the highest bidder and use the money to reduce the state budget deficit.

The teams still could be associated with their respective universities. But they would be run as private corporations.

What if the NCAA doesn’t like it? They might object, but I doubt if they would take action to prevent the sales.

The NCAA is, essentially, a monopoly of mostly government schools; with the “private” schools also receiving tens of millions of dollars from taxpayers. A couple of hints about anti-trust inquiries by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein should do the trick. State Attorney General Kamal Harris could make similar inquiries.

If that idea gets thrown for a loss, then how about an investigation by California Labor and Workforce Development Agency of the slave status of players who could get millions for their services getting paid nothing but room, board and tuition?

The investigation would include not just California teams, but any teams, including those from other states, what have played in California the past decade.

It’s late in the budget game and the state needs to switch to a two-minute drill.

Jan. 12, 2012





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