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Thread: Labor/Workers movements thread

  1. #161
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    So baseball. You want college basketball to be like baseball.

  2. #162
    Quote Originally Posted by JuiceCrewAllStar View Post
    rafi, I understand you derive a lot of pleasure from the model as is, but there is absolutely no way anyone creates what we have if they start from scratch


    I disagree with both Ph (at least Ph in this particular thread, he may agree with me given more options) and, especially, rafi in that you have to full detach academics from minor league sports -- it's not about paying college players or letting them profit off their likeness, it's about fully separating them from each other -- football and basketball are what they are because of a lack of minor league options (and due to unfair labor practices that don't really apply to any other profession), though you can see the G-League starting to chip away at that very slowly in hoops

    I stand by my take that the goal for college hoops in sports with big money pro leagues should be like soccer: the best young players go through club systems and the next tier may or may not play college; it's a path to the big time for the late bloomers and overlooked guys (e.g. Clint Dempsey) but it's not the main way young guys develop and have access to pro leagues


    I realize none of this will ever happen in my lifetime because too many people have emotional attachments to the schools and their athletic programs
    Oh, I agree with almost all of this completely. I think it's great that the G league is offering more money, and players should absolutely be able to go pro out of high school. I think limiting that option has been a major issue for many reasons, one of which is that it makes the amateur model make no sense - it becomes a forced model.

    The discussion started based on the idea that the NCAA will be forced to pay market rates - I don't see the schools going with that for football and men's basketball. Others disagree.

    You mention the soccer model. I could see college soccer making a decent amount of money in 20 years. Soccer as a spectator sport is finally increasing in the US, which is what drove college basketball and football to what they are now. Before COVID Wake was often drawing 3-4000 fans, and other schools were doing the same, which is how college basketball and football started.

    Also, I'm not sure you wouldn't design this model (OK, you wouldn't because it wouldn't be imaginable...). But there are a ton of benefits in linking athletics and academics. As I have written on here several times, other countries are definitely exploring the American collegiate sports model because they see the benefit.

  3. #163
    nah, soccer -- like I said

    baseball has the three-year rule, which I hate, and baseball also uses the draft as its primary way of signing new players, especially American players, and 20 of the 30 1st round picks in the most recent draft were college grads

    soccer, on the other had, even if you're just restricting it to the United States has guys in club systems before college and they can join those clubs with or without college and do not go through the draft -- the draft has become weaker every year for a decade or two in college as the club system gets stronger

    I really don't like drafts in any sport, I prefer the soccer model for player development and joining teams (though it has flaws too, they're much preferable to football and basketball's flaws, in my opinion)

  4. #164
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDeac View Post
    So baseball. You want college basketball to be like baseball.
    LOL, we probably should have a FAQs thread so we can just refer to that when these repeated topics come up. How many times do you think you have brought up college baseball in these previous discussions (and yes, I realize I repeat myself too!)?

    To answer your question - sort of. But college football and basketball are so much more popular than college baseball that it really wouldn't be on the same level.

  5. #165
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    My post was directed toward Juice, not you.

  6. #166
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafi View Post
    Also, I'm not sure you wouldn't design this model (OK, you wouldn't because it wouldn't be imaginable...). But there are a ton of benefits in linking athletics and academics. As I have written on here several times, other countries are definitely exploring the American collegiate sports model because they see the benefit.
    you've shared this before, but nobody is doing this for the top athletes in any sport outside the United States -- it's for the second tier and late-blooming athletes

    the difference between your take on what soccer could be and what basketball and football were and became is that there are other paths to professional soccer outside of college and those paths are getting even better, whereas football and basketball never had any realistic path to the pros outside of college

  7. #167
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafi View Post
    Do you think the cross-country runner is "labor?" How about at a D3 school? High school? Middle school? Serious question, I'm interested in your thoughts. You post some really insightful stuff (many on here, including many on this thread, do too).
    some thoughts: open to being wrong and written in a hurry because i really should be focusing on other things:

    i start from the presumption that the activities these athletes are performing is not pure play - an activity that produces nothing - when you play a pickup game or throw the ball with your dog or a child playing tag. very little of what a student athlete does is pure play - the overwhelming majority of it is in-fact work! work is a part of labor, but there are larger definitional considerations:

    at the risk of writing an essay of defining labor, we'll try to be reductive - do they (1) produce a tangible good that can be either used or accumulated? and (2) do they participate in the maintenance the conditions for their labor [play requires no such maintenance, since its aims are non-productive]

    starting with the second: the cross-country runner has been brought to the university and assigned a set of rules and regulations that they must follow - they must show up to practices on-time, attend classes and maintain a certain GPA, go to mandatory tutoring, attend events, compete, study film, instruct and guide junior competitors, etc. if they deviate from this schedule, they run the risk of

    considering another group: if a college undergrad wants to work toward obtaining their degree, they set many of these considerations up for themselves, and perhaps we would even reach a stage where we define it as maintaining the conditions, but we're leaving the group we're focused on.

    returning to the first part: do the athletes produce a good? they're not making steel or auto parts, for sure, but let's think about that. the cross-country division championship is broadcast on ESPN, a channel that likely has to pay for something to broadcast that and other sporting events - so they're producing some pretty tangible forms of media product (social, network, broadcast) when they compete. the role they play in the production of this media product (even if you don't watch it!) is a form of labor sure. an athlete likely can't say "excuse me ESPN, I'd rather not be filmed today." because they're just a part of the production, and their refusal to participate impedes the production of others? others have alluded to the way the university takes up the product that a cross-country runner produces to add to the reputation of the university, but I think we can at least start to see there's an element of production here - production that can certainly be exploited by those in charge, though I'm not trying to enter into a critique of capitalism here

    labor is not a bad thing, but capitalism seeks largely to extract surplus value from one's labor - you can't quit labor when you've broken even - you need to continue working to produce excess value for a higher class of those who don't labor.

    typically we're most familiar with wage labor, but if we're going to honest about how these systems are structured and understand who benefits from how they're structured, then resigning ourselves to the thought that "it's only labor if it's compensated" is probably not the move.
    Last edited by TenaciousKory; 04-04-2021 at 03:53 PM.
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  8. #168
    Quote Originally Posted by JuiceCrewAllStar View Post
    the difference between your take on what soccer could be and what basketball and football were and became is that there are other paths to professional soccer outside of college and those paths are getting even better, whereas football and basketball never had any realistic path to the pros outside of college
    Sure, but imagine in 20 years when CBS signs a $500 million deal to televise the college cup May Madness (by then college soccer will be year long, with the championship in the spring), aren't the questions going to be the same? Why aren't the student athletes being paid if hundreds of millions of dollars are being made?

  9. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuiceCrewAllStar View Post
    rafi, I understand you derive a lot of pleasure from the model as is, but there is absolutely no way anyone creates what we have if they start from scratch


    I disagree with both Ph (at least Ph in this particular thread, he may agree with me given more options) and, especially, rafi in that you have to full detach academics from minor league sports -- it's not about paying college players or letting them profit off their likeness, it's about fully separating them from each other -- football and basketball are what they are because of a lack of minor league options (and due to unfair labor practices that don't really apply to any other profession), though you can see the G-League starting to chip away at that very slowly in hoops

    I stand by my take that the goal for college hoops in sports with big money pro leagues should be like soccer: the best young players go through club systems and the next tier may or may not play college; it's a path to the big time for the late bloomers and overlooked guys (e.g. Clint Dempsey) but it's not the main way young guys develop and have access to pro leagues


    I realize none of this will ever happen in my lifetime because too many people have emotional attachments to the schools and their athletic programs
    The NBA is moving to a modified version of this by the growing viability of the G-League. As 10-30 kids/year enter their program, they will create a pipeline while having college kids go more to the baseball model. The NBA wants to have both of these going as it helps them without costing too much.

    Besides the crapshoot nature of one and done or directly to the league, having kids play 2-4 years in college will help show who can really play and develop brands they don't in one year. Colleges will like it as well.

    I agree that it's doubtful American will move to the rest of the world model. We could make it better.

  10. #170
    Quote Originally Posted by TenaciousKory View Post
    some thoughts: open to being wrong and written in a hurry because i really should be focusing on other things:

    i start from the presumption that the activities these athletes are performing is not pure play - an activity that produces nothing - when you play a pickup game or throw the ball with your dog or a child playing tag. very little of what a student athlete does is pure play - the overwhelming majority of it is in-fact work! work is a part of labor, but there are larger definitional considerations:

    at the risk of writing an essay of defining labor, we'll try to be reductive - do they (1) produce a tangible good that can be either used or accumulated? and (2) do they participate in the maintenance the conditions for their labor [play requires no such maintenance, since its aims are non-productive]

    starting with the second: the cross-country runner has been brought to the university and assigned a set of rules and regulations that they must follow - they must show up to practices on-time, attend classes and maintain a certain GPA, go to mandatory tutoring, attend events, compete, study film, instruct and guide junior competitors, etc. if they deviate from this schedule, they run the risk of

    considering another group: if a college undergrad wants to work toward obtaining their degree, they set many of these considerations up for themselves, and perhaps we would even reach a stage where we define it as maintaining the conditions, but we're leaving the group we're focused on.

    returning to the first part: do the athletes produce a good? they're not making steel or auto parts, for sure, but let's think about that. the cross-country division championship is broadcast on ESPN, a channel that likely has to pay for something to broadcast that and other sporting events - so they're producing some pretty tangible forms of media product (social, network, broadcast) when they compete. the role they play in the production of this media product (even if you don't watch it!) is a form of labor sure. an athlete likely can't say "excuse me ESPN, I'd rather not be filmed today." because they're just a part of the production, and their refusal to participate impedes the production of others? others have alluded to the way the university takes up the product that a cross-country runner produces to add to the reputation of the university, but I think we can at least start to see there's an element of production here - production that can certainly be exploited by those in charge, though I'm not trying to enter into a critique of capitalism here

    labor is not a bad thing, but capitalism seeks largely to extract surplus value from one's labor - you can't quit labor when you've broken even - you need to continue working to produce excess value for a higher class of those who don't labor.

    typically we're most familiar with wage labor, but if we're going to honest about how these systems are structured and understand who benefits from how they're structured, then resigning ourselves to the thought that "it's only labor if it's compensated" is probably not the move.
    Thanks TK. I too should be doing something else!

    I think the definition and structure you describe can be carried out all the way to the middle school athlete. I have to pay $5 to watch my kid play middle school volleyball, there are rules, production, etc. I'm not sure that helps differentiate labor from student athlete.

  11. #171
    and sure there are probably un/underexplored tensions in my post but really I just hope you see what student athletes (even cross-country athletes!) do as more than play - it's productive labor that props up a lot of other facets of a truly capitalist university system
    semi-aquatic like otters be.

  12. #172
    Quote Originally Posted by TenaciousKory View Post
    and sure there are probably un/underexplored tensions in my post but really I just hope you see what student athletes (even cross-country athletes!) do as more than play - it's productive labor that props up a lot of other facets of a truly capitalist university system
    I certainly get that. I just think there is 1) labor, 2) straight up play, and 3) a different category - student athlete. And even within the student athlete category there are pretty huge differences - from middle school tennis to D1 football player.

  13. #173
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafi View Post
    Sure, but imagine in 20 years when CBS signs a $500 million deal to televise the college cup May Madness (by then college soccer will be year long, with the championship in the spring), aren't the questions going to be the same? Why aren't the student athletes being paid if hundreds of millions of dollars are being made?
    no, and if you think the questions are going to be the same then you have a very fundamental misunderstanding of my argument or you are starting with wildly different premises

    if you think there is a world that in 20 years has CBS putting down $500 million for a 32-team college soccer tournament in a world where NBC pays $200 million for the entire 380 game Premier League season then you either have wildly different ideas for the potential of college soccer or a much different expectation for the inflation of the dollar

    if you don't understand or agree with the premise that there is a fundamental difference between the current world for American football players who must go to college for three years to play in the NFL -- the world's best American football league -- and college soccer where only a fraction of one percent of the players in the world's top, say, 10 soccer leagues (and probably top 200 or so teams in the world) play college soccer then we should just stop having this discussion

  14. #174
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafi View Post
    I think the definition and structure you describe can be carried out all the way to the middle school athlete. I have to pay $5 to watch my kid play middle school volleyball, there are rules, production, etc. I'm not sure that helps differentiate labor from student athlete.
    I agree! (I think)

    I also think child labor is very real - and just because they're not manufacturing cellphones - doesn't mean that play can't be coopted to produce a tangible good that somebody can extract surplus value from. if the 5$ isn't going to the players/teachers? participating/running the game, we have surplus value that is going elsewhere - that's a building block of capitalism (thru Marx)

    again, this requires probably recalibrating some long-held definitions about work and labor and pay, and there are a lot of places that love to take advantage of commonly held understandings of these terms to keep current methods of production/exploitation the way they are (see: every grad student worker fighting a university for a union)
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  15. #175
    Quote Originally Posted by TenaciousKory View Post
    I agree! (I think)

    I also think child labor is very real - and just because they're not manufacturing cellphones - doesn't mean that play can't be coopted to produce a tangible good that somebody can extract surplus value from. if the 5$ isn't going to the players/teachers? participating/running the game, we have surplus value that is going elsewhere - that's a building block of capitalism (thru Marx)

    again, this requires probably recalibrating some long-held definitions about work and labor and pay, and there are a lot of places that love to take advantage of commonly held understandings of these terms to keep current methods of production/exploitation the way they are (see: every grad student worker fighting a university for a union)
    also again, using Marx to read middle school volleyball prices is tricky (fun tho!) since political economy work is better done on a macro level (who at the local school system is benefiting from all of athletics and other enterprises) rather than trying to argue that you paying $5 is keeping a bunch of overpaid administrators who do nothing employed and call for revolution
    semi-aquatic like otters be.

  16. #176
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafi View Post
    I certainly get that. I just think there is 1) labor, 2) straight up play, and 3) a different category - student athlete. And even within the student athlete category there are pretty huge differences - from middle school tennis to D1 football player.
    okay. i guess we just disagree. (except on the differences of labor from middle school tennis to D1 fb player, that's certainly true)

    it really helps to be in a similar "third category" - a graduate student who works but also is a student (gasp!) - and to hear the admin call the very real college classes to undergraduates we teach "academic training" so they can insist that we are not employees of the university

    so totally down to admit bias here.
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  17. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenaciousKory View Post
    I agree! (I think)

    I also think child labor is very real - and just because they're not manufacturing cellphones - doesn't mean that play can't be coopted to produce a tangible good that somebody can extract surplus value from. if the 5$ isn't going to the players/teachers? participating/running the game, we have surplus value that is going elsewhere - that's a building block of capitalism (thru Marx)

    again, this requires probably recalibrating some long-held definitions about work and labor and pay, and there are a lot of places that love to take advantage of commonly held understandings of these terms to keep current methods of production/exploitation the way they are (see: every grad student worker fighting a university for a union)
    Why can't the $5 just go for electricity, clean-up, travel expenses for future games, refs and other things you have to pay for to put on the games? By getting a few bucks maybe it keeps costs for playing for kids whose families are already stretched to allow them to play.

    Would you rather have poor kids not be able to play? Would you prefer some teams not exist?

    This is not about "child labor" for an overwhelming majority of middle and high schools.

  18. #178
    Quote Originally Posted by JuiceCrewAllStar View Post
    no, and if you think the questions are going to be the same then you have a very fundamental misunderstanding of my argument or you are starting with wildly different premises

    if you think there is a world that in 20 years has CBS putting down $500 million for a 32-team college soccer tournament in a world where NBC pays $200 million for the entire 380 game Premier League season then you either have wildly different ideas for the potential of college soccer or a much different expectation for the inflation of the dollar

    if you don't understand or agree with the premise that there is a fundamental difference between the current world for American football players who must go to college for three years to play in the NFL -- the world's best American football league -- and college soccer where only a fraction of one percent of the players in the world's top, say, 10 soccer leagues (and probably top 200 or so teams in the world) play college soccer then we should just stop having this discussion
    Ha, you really honed in on the specific dollar amount, which isnít really the point (and I was thinking about a multi year contract anyway...). So letís cut that to $50 million over 5 years. The point still stands (!) that tens of millions of dollars will be made based off student athletes, and the same questions will remain.

    Also, itís raises another point, which has been discussed before. I donít think the level of play matters that much - it just needs to be a decent level and competition between colleges for it to be interesting and a money maker. I watched UCLA Gonzaga last night because it was intriguing based on the schools. Prior to the tourney the only player I could name on either team was Suggs (hometown kid!).

    I grew up playing soccer and it was never on TV (we bought VHS tapes just to see what professional soccer looked like). That has obviously changed drastically, so I could see the rise in interest in soccer in general plus the rise in MLS leading to college soccer becoming a big deal over the next 20 years (I think we have already seen it to some extent).

  19. #179

    Labor/Workers movements thread

    Quote Originally Posted by TenaciousKory View Post
    okay. i guess we just disagree. (except on the differences of labor from middle school tennis to D1 fb player, that's certainly true)

    it really helps to be in a similar "third category" - a graduate student who works but also is a student (gasp!) - and to hear the admin call the very real college classes to undergraduates we teach "academic training" so they can insist that we are not employees of the university

    so totally down to admit bias here.
    Yeah, I think we disagree, but thatís ok. I think it hard to dichotomize labor vs not labor, and in my opinion it makes more sense to have multiple categories. Having played middle school tennis, I just canít call that labor!
    Last edited by Rafi; 04-04-2021 at 05:48 PM.

  20. #180
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    Labor/Workers movements thread

    If a middle school AAU program is getting a shoe deal, the coach is getting paid, and people are watching highlights on YouTube, thatís clearly not just play.

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