8. ABOLISH ANABOLIC STEROIDS. A controversial area in which I do not feel well enough informed to make a statement.
9. ELIMINATE TRIVIAL ECONOMIC RULES. SI said that the ban against athletes taking jobs during the school year should be abolished, and "the sole payment made to college athletes [by their schools] should be their scholarships." On the whole, I do not agree with SI's position. I do not like the idea of athletes taking jobs during the school year. With classes, homework and sports, I think they have more than enough to do as it is. And I fear that many of these "jobs" would become devices for paying players who are doing little, if any, work. I would much prefer being open about this and providing spending money—perhaps $50 a month—as part of an athletic scholarship.
Nor do I favor repealing what SI called Mickey Mouse rules. SI argued, "Prohibitions against giving a recruit a T shirt or a lift in a car are trivial and impossible to enforce.... It's hard to believe anybody would actually be influenced in his choice of an institution of higher learning by a free T shirt." At one NCAA infractions committee hearing, when somebody made that argument, I said that my experience had persuaded me that even the smallest things may be decisive in the final, sometimes irrational selection of a school by a heavily recruited young person. Ron Stratten, a former football coach who was then assistant director of enforcement for the NCAA, told us that he was a perfect example of this. He chose to attend Oregon because he liked the color of its jerseys!
10. MAKE IT ILLEGAL FOR A BOOSTER TO OFFER MONEY TO COLLEGE ATHLETES. I completely disagree with SI, which conceded that nobody wants governmental involvement in sports but suggested that federal legislation "may be needed." I am so opposed to such involvement that nothing could persuade me that bringing the FBI or the federal courts into athletics is a good idea. If institutions of higher learning cannot police their own athletic programs, then they ought to follow the lead of Father John LoSchiavo, the president of the University of San Francisco, and Tulane president Eamon Kelly and discontinue the offending athletics program, rather than rely on the criminal law to save them from themselves.
Some people have suggested that the university might sue a run-amok booster for damages: If a school can assess the revenues it has lost due to NCAA sanctions because of transgressions by a booster, the school can try to recover that loss from the booster. I like this idea better than bringing criminal law into an area where, in my opinion, it does not belong. Still, I do not plan to hold my breath while someone works out a legal theory on which such a lawsuit would rest, or one on how to collect the millions of dollars that a college on probation suffers when it's penalized for the behavior of its boosters.