Too good for the NCAA (5×8 – 2/19/13)

The case of the inspiring athlete, prison and poverty, what can people agree on when it comes to guns, the people pay for the people’s stadium, and do children make you happy?


1) THE CASE OF THE INSPIRING ATHLETE

You see, the problem with Joel Bauman is that he appears to be an honest young man and that doesn’t fly with the NCAA, whose rules about college athletics have caused more than a few bald spots over the years.

Joel Bauman is a wrestler at the University of Minnesota who has posted several rap songs on YouTube, the Star Tribune says..

Like this:

“I just want to inspire people,” Bauman tells the newspaper.

But, citing NCAA rules, the University of Minnesota has bounced him from the team because student athletes “are not allowed to use their name, image or status as a collegiate student-athlete to promote the sale of a commercial product, including songs affiliated with a music career,” J.T. Bruett, the athletic department’s director of compliance, says.

But Bruett says if Bauman hadn’t used his real name, then things would be OK and he could continue to wrestle at the U of M.

The Kerkoven, Minnesota man was one of the most sought-after wrestling recruits in the country when he was n high school. He had offers from big-time programs but chose Minnesota so his “grandma can come and watch me wrestle,” he said at the time.

He could’ve been a football star but chose wrestling because “wrestling builds character a little more than football,” he said.

Apparently so.

He could have given up his music career and wrestle for the U under the NCAA’s rules. But he refused. “I have a calling,” Bauman told Fox 9 said. “I feel like I have a calling. I feel like I was put here to make the world a better place.”

2) TIME AND PUNISHMENT

Can reducing the length of prison sentences be one of the answers to chronic poverty?

The New York Times reports that social scientists theorize that the effect of people left behind when a relative goes to prison is to create a generation of poverty.

The U.S. already incarcerates more of its citizens than any other civilized nation and those sentences are generally longer than ever. In the African American community, it says, women have a harder time finding a mate — and economic stability — because so many African American men are locked up.

The story paints a picture of consequences we never imagined…


Epidemiologists have found that when the incarceration rate rises in a county, there tends to be a subsequent increase in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy, possibly because women have less power to require their partners to practice protected sex or remain monogamous.

When researchers try to explain why AIDS is much more prevalent among blacks than whites, they point to the consequences of incarceration, which disrupts steady relationships and can lead to high-risk sexual behavior. When sociologists look for causes of child poverty and juvenile delinquency, they link these problems to the incarceration of parents and the resulting economic and emotional strains on families.

Some families, of course, benefit after an abusive parent or spouse is locked up. But Christopher Wildeman, a Yale sociologist, has found that children are generally more likely to suffer academically and socially after the incarceration of a parent. Boys left fatherless become more physically aggressive. Spouses of prisoners become more prone to depression and other mental and physical problems.

3) WHAT CAN PEOPLE AGREE ON WHEN IT COMES TO GUNS?

Last evening, PBS NewsHour kicked off a week of PBS programming examining guns in America. Is it possible to consider gun violence in a meaningful way without descending into an unmoving debate on gun control?

New York Times reviewer Mike Hale gives PBS some props, but doesn’t sound convinced that it can:


Any such doubts are not assuaged by the documentary “Guns in America” on Tuesday night. A polished exercise in tasteful neutrality, it pings back and forth like a metronome between gun-control and gun-rights advocates, leaving their arguments unexamined while laying out a history of the role of firearms in American life, beginning with colonial times.

Watch Gun Control Debate Spurs Political Action Across the Nation on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

In many ways, the beginning of the series, “After Newtown” seems more a repackaging of previously stated positions and facts, than a groundbreaking examination.

Is there common ground on this issue somewhere?

In Minnesota, a DFL leader has dropped the idea of gun and ammo bans from a plethora of anti-gun measures filed at the start of the session.

Sen. Ron Latz says the issue is too divisive and he’ll push for tighter background checks and closing of loopholes instead.

4) THE PEOPLE BEHIND “THE PEOPLE’S STADIUM”

During last spring’s debate on the need for Minnesota taxpayers to pony up millions for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium, team officials noted with pride the considerable contribution the Vikings were making toward the $1 billion edifice.

“The proposal for the $975 million project includes a $427 million team/ private contribution, the third-largest private contribution in NFL history and 44% of the up-front capital costs,” the Vikings’ stadium page still says.

And by “team contribution,” the team often means “the fans who buy the tickets.”

In today’s Pioneer Press, Bob Sansevere talks with stadium point man Lester Bagley, who affirms the team will charge personal seat licenses, basically charging ticketholders to buy tickets. The team’s contribution also includes the naming rights for the stadium, a perk the Legislature also gave the Wilf family. That money is included in what’s listed as the “team’s contribution.”

5) THE RESCUER OF STRAY DOGS

A Stray Hero from Hisyam on Vimeo.

Bonus: “Does having children make you happier?” NPR asks this morning. It says a new study rejects the science that previously said it doesn’t. Happy now?

TODAY’S QUESTION

In hydraulic fracturing, a sand made from quartz rock plentiful in our region is blasted into shale rock to extract oil and natural gas. Skyrocketing demand for frac sand, a key ingredient in North Dakota’s energy boom, is creating a gold rush in the hills of southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin.

Local communities have regulated the practice for years, but now state lawmakers are questioning the ability of local governments to manage the process effectively. Today’s Question: Should lawmakers create a statewide standard for frac sand mining?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The underemployed college student.

Second hour: Why Michelle Obama presents an opportunity for a real, discussion on the role of first ladies.

Third hour: The importance of building community through mentoring.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Gary Eichten moderates an event with Gov. Mark Dayton at St. John’s University.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – An examination of Chicago’s homicide rate.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - TBA

  • Robert Moffitt

    “I feel like I have a calling. I feel like I was put here to make the world a better place.”

    If the kid looses his shot at a college degree because of his decision, he may end up making the world a better place while flipping burgers.

    It will be interesting to see where this kid is 5, 10 years from now. I wish him the best.

  • jon

    @#2 – America has a tough on crime problem more then it has a crime problem.

    @#3 – good on Sen. Latz. I don’t personally have any strong ties to keep assault rifles around or not, but the fact is when they were banned there was no significant uptick in gun violence when that law expired. Magazine limits I can’t speak to I don’t have enough data, but I’m mystified at why some one needs 30 rounds for hunting, or self defense… if you need 30 rounds to hit a deer perhaps you should give up hunting, and if you need 30 rounds to subdue an attacker you are either a terrible shot, or you just got attacked by a grizzly.

    @#4 – This isn’t new information… and don’t forget the “team contribution” also includes the fact that the vikings aren’t paying taxes on those seat licenses or the property the stadium is build on…

  • BJ

    1) THE CASE OF THE INSPIRING ATHLETE

    I’m unsure how his “status as a collegiate student-athlete” was used “to promote the sale of a commercial product, including songs affiliated with a music career”.

    I dare anyone to name any member of the wrestling team. I just read the story and don’t remember this young mans name.

  • MR

    Now that he’s no longer on the wrestling team, he can’t be seen as using his status as an athlete to promote his music. If he releases a few more songs that do well, can he join the wrestling team again because he’s had success as a musician in his own right?

  • Mark Gisleson

    The NCAA operates under mostly the same rules and incentives that made slavery possible in this country. They are comprised of old men living off the stolen labor of young men and women. Their rules are arbitrary, capricious and cruel, and never slowed down the alumni-driven cheating they’re supposed to prevent.

    Congress should dismantle the NCAA, stripping them of all assets, putting them in escrow for the student athletes who were injured while being forced to work to work in the NCAA vineyards for free while other youth made millions as professional athletes.

    I’m surprised MN lawyers aren’t lining up in droves to be this kid’s lawyer because I don’t know how this policy could be explained in a court of law operating under the rules of the U.S. Constitution.

  • davidz

    Mark,

    I think the NCAA is seen as a voluntary arrangement between colleges, and that no one is forced to play sports at the collegiate level, and so any agreement that a player signs on to is purely their own choice (even if the agreement states that the NCAA gets to change the rules at any point, or is in charge of interpreting the rules).

    Since there’s no constitutional right to play football (or any other sport) at any given college, and since some schools are not in the NCAA, there’s no small case to be decided.

    It’s going to take a full on indictment of the entire NCAA system, which is going to lead directly towards the major professional sports leagues as well, in order to make a change to the system. The system is fully stacked against any individual athlete. Don’t like the system? Simple, you’re not on the team. Have a nice life.

    I believe that it will take a class action lawsuit based on the ongoing disregard for player injuries (such as TBI’s suffered by football players) to shake the system. Every school and every student-athlete will be involved in such a class-action case, which means there would be a payoff at the end large enough to entice the huge number of lawyers that will have to work to win a case like that.

    I also believe that such a case is closer than most people think.

  • Mark Gisleson

    David, the current system is coercive and abetted by professional leagues who agree not to draft younger players. It is a textbook example of a monopoly.

    Personally, I’d vote for anyone who promised to create a national sports system that bypassed all colleges and professional leagues to create a PeeWee to Pro system that put all profits in the pockets of the athletes, no matter what age.

    And it would be nice to have politicians who’d pass laws forbidding any arena or stadium using tax dollars from being named after a corporation….