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June 27, 2013

Skewed Left

Searching for Baseball's Brandon Jennings

by Zachary Levine


College baseball’s month in the consciousness of the professionally tilted baseball fan began with UCLA’s win in the College World Series Tuesday and will end with your favorite team’s draft picks using the system as leverage to get what they want from your favorite team. It will also end, like every month in the NCAA, without any real resolution on paying players despite the discussion being loud as ever this year.

“Why shouldn’t players be paid?” is the question often asked. Athletic departments make millions of dollars from those players’ activities, and on the free market, the services of the best athletes in the highest-revenue sports would go for hundreds of thousands, if not more in exceptional cases.

The overlooked question, and the one that is subtly carrying the actual state of affairs, is just the opposite. Why should they be? A façade of virtue in amateurism is really just simple economics. Each marginal dollar spent on paying athletes would, in the high-revenue sports, improve the product almost negligibly.

NFL-bound football players still go to college and still stay three years whether or not they are paid a cent in liquid assets. NBA-bound basketball players, thanks to the NBA’s age limit, still go to college for a year because nobody has found an attractive alternative to working essentially for free for a year.

Or at least they did until the end of last decade, when one prominent basketball player decided to break the NCAA’s hold on a player’s limbo year.

Before going into what would create baseball’s first Brandon Jennings, let’s first acknowledge that there will be no true baseball Brandon Jennings. Different sport, different deal with high school players being allowed to sign in baseball, but with the NBA draft today, we can apply some lessons to the debate as baseball’s signing deadline moves closer.

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Related Content:  Draft,  College,  NCAA,  Brandon Jennings

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article In A Pickle: The Unlik... (06/27)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Skewed Left: Preparing... (06/20)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Skewed Left: Planning ... (07/11)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (06/27)

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