NCAA: All right, go on. But speed it up.
Player: Let's talk about the transfer rules. When I signed with this school, I was under the impression that I would be playing for the coach who recruited me. But before I even enrolled, he left for another job—the way Rollie Massimino did when he left Villanova for UNLV in 1992. There's nothing wrong with a coach's leaving one job for another, but if I want to change schools. I have to sit out a year. How fair is that?
NCAA: The rule is there so a player won't jump from school to school on a whim.
Player: But a school can take away a player's scholarship on little more than a whim. A lot of fans don't know that athletic scholarships are renewed every year. All the leverage belongs to the school—to the coach, actually. Worse, in order to leave a Division I school and go on scholarship at another, a player has to be released from his scholarship at his original school. That's usually a formality, but not always. When Lawrence Funderburke wanted to transfer from Indiana in 1990, Bob Knight wouldn't release him from his scholarship unless he approved Funderburke's choice of a new school. A coach shouldn't have that right.
NCAA: You talk about rights, but what about privileges? A player gets the chance to travel throughout the U.S., all expenses paid. He makes contacts that will help him in the future. Above all, he gets a free education. Do you know how many students would give their right arms to have that chance?
Player: It's not as though the players give nothing in return. As for the education, we've been taught to think clearly enough to realize when we're getting a raw deal.
NCAA: Listen. Can you hear the crowd out there? It's clamoring for you guys. Don't the fans have a right to see the game they paid for?
Player: Good point. The fans pay to see us play, and the networks pay a fortune to show our games. This is a billion-dollar industry, and without us it wouldn't exist. College sports are the only hugely successful enterprise I know of in this country in which the workers don't get paychecks.
NCAA: What do you want?
Player: In addition to doing what I've already mentioned, change the rules so that players can have a modest income from basketball-related sources. If a coach can make a small fortune from a sneaker company for having his players wear a certain brand of shoe, why can't we get a piece of the action? Why should the NCAA be able to turn the bloodhounds loose when it hears that a magazine might pay Christian Laettner a few bucks for keeping a diary of his senior season with Duke?