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N.C. Opinions: Raleigh

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Bill would shed light on college athletics

From an editorial in the (Raleigh) News & Observer on Wednesday:

Some university athletics officials will be screaming about a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat, and Tom Petri, a Wisconsin Republican. But it won’t be rah-rah cheers.

The measure introduced [last] week would require athletics conferences and the governing body of college sports, the NCAA, to disclose information about ticket prices, merchandise and television deals, corporate sponsorships and salaries. Universities and colleges also would have to open up on royalty deals, in addition to showing how they use government funds and fees for athletics programs.

Here is a truly whoop-worthy development on college athletics. The bill makes common sense and legal sense, and any university interested in fair competition and possessing a sense of responsibility, not just to athletics boosters but to all alumni, ought to embrace it.

Almost all [colleges and universities] receive government money in some form, whether from grants or tuition programs. And when a university accepts that money, it also should accept an obligation to open its books.

Though such information is given to the NCAA, that organization has in recent years proved an inept steward of college sports programs. It has seemed more interested in protecting multibillion-dollar revenues for schools and athletics conferences than in enforcing the rules and ensuring the integrity of college sports.

“College sports are one of America’s proudest traditions, but the current system isn’t working equally well for all participants,” Price said.

The bill would enable the public, and universities themselves, to compare revenues and spending nationwide. A little sunshine of that sort never hurt anything.

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