Even though he is in his 40s, and is by far the oldest player in the NFL, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is showing no signs of slowing down.
After winning his 5th Super Bowl in a truly heroic fashion, Brady has once again taken the league by storm in 2017. A clear frontrunner for the NFL MVP 11 weeks into the season, Brady is flexing muscles that usually deteriorate at his age.
The thing about Brady is that he is not only a great talent, he keeps his body in tip-top shape with his exhaustive diet and exercise regimen. His body is by no means in the shape of a 40+ year old man who spent his whole life getting tackled for a living.
While Brady is a champion in every meaning of the word, he owes a lot of his success to head coach Bill Belichick. The two have been a simply dominant combination in the NFL over the last 18 years, failing to make the playoffs just once (and that was because Brady was injured in the first game of the season).
The Patriots have enough faith in his body holding up that they decided to trade both of their backup quarterbacks this season, leaving them with little to no backup plan in the event Brady gets injured.
Because of his dedication to his craft in the later stages of his career, Brady is nothing short of a true champion in every sense of the word. Brady spends all of his time trying to make himself better and to help his team win, and it has shown on the field at every level
Championship Subdivision News is dedicated to showing the true champions of every sport, and Tom Brady is the exact kind of champion that we love to display day in and day out. The Patriots are well on their way to another long playoff run this year and in the years to come, thanks to Brady’s champion mindset and preparation.
Professional American football has been in existence since 1920, nearly 100 years ago, when the formation of the APFA (American Professional Football Association) came to be in Canton, Ohio, later known as the National Football League. The Super Bowl – the championship game of the NFL – significantly shorter. The very first Super Bowl was played as a result of the later formation of the AFL (American Football League). Due to a national competition over bringing players into the league, the NFL and AFL were in contention with each other since the advent of the AFL in 1960. Eventually, the two leagues challenged each other in what the late Lamar Hunt, founder of the AFL and owner of the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, would jokingly call the Super Bowl. Initially dominated by the NFL-representing Green Bay Packers, the AFL made up its ground in the following two years to show they were a competent football league by comparison. In 1970, following Super Bowl IV, the AFL-NFL merger had come to fruition, forming one larger National Football League.
These days, the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl is unparalleled. Featuring pre-game media availability for many of the players, scintillating half-time shows, and wallet-breaking premium for commercial air time, the Super Bowl is less of a sporting event and more of a national holiday. And many of the games have lived up to the hype by providing exciting finishes and some historical comebacks. I am surprised that the Philadelphia Eagles are not somewhere on this list in PA.
Perhaps one of the most thrilling last-second finishes in Super Bowl history belongs to the New York Giants, who faced the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Down by as much as 9 points in the first half, the Giants orchestrated a comeback that ultimately ended with the defense on the field. A first-half safety had given the Bills a promising 12-3 lead with a chance to enter halftime with an even larger one. But, the Bills were forced to punt and the Giants managed what could have been as much as a 14-point swing. So, instead of Buffalo entering the half up by as much as 19-3, the Giants managed to shave the lead down to 12-10. The teams managed to exchange touchdowns in the second half before Giants’ kicker Matt Bahr gave New York the slimmest of leads, 20-19. And what is likely one of the famous moments in Super Bowl history, Bills’ kicker Scott Norwood kicked the football wide right, narrowly missing a game-winning 47-yard field goal, as the game’s final seconds ticked away.
Another moment involves one of the most questionable calls in Super Bowl history, a more recent showdown between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Down by as much as 10 points, the Patriots trailed Seattle by a score of 24-14 with a famed defense called the Legion of Boom called upon to hold the lead. However Brady managed to score two touchdowns in the final quarter to give New England a 28-24 lead with just over 2 minutes remaining. Seattle had managed to drive all the way to the New England 1-yard line with a very healthy and very effective Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. Everyone expected a run play. But, Russell Wilson dropped back to pass the ball, throwing an interception to Patriots’ cornerback Malcolm Butler. Butler managed to return the ball far enough to secure another Super Bowl win for the New England Patriots.
But, without a doubt the most dramatic comeback in Super Bowl history also features the only Super Bowl ever to have gone into overtime to this point. The New England Patriots squared off against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, and the Falcons looked as if they would run away with it. More than halfway through the 3rd quarter, they led the Brady-headed Patriots by a score of 28-3. Before this point in history, the greatest deficit a Super Bowl-winning team had overcome was 10 points (also the Patriots). The game looked so bleak for New England that the odds of Atlanta winning the game were an astounding 99.5 percent. But, following five drives into the closing minutes of regulation and holding Atlanta to no scoring from that point, New England had scored three field goals and two touchdowns, both followed by successful two-point conversions. The Patriots had tied the game, 28-28. In overtime, it only took 7 plays for the Patriots to find the end zone and end the game with a touchdown to complete – by far – the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Many people enjoy sports for the competitive nature and atmosphere that it provides. Physical or not, the entertainment from watching two people or teams pitting their physical skills and mental prowess against each other to see who is better in their respective arena can be one of the more thrilling experiences to witness as a sports fan. Something that makes these experiences all the more enjoyable and memorable is the occasional ascension of the underdog in particular contests – regard the Biblical showdown between David and Goliath. Granted, the stakes were higher in that case, but the point still stands. Witnessing a down-to-the-wire, back-and-forth slugfest between two opponents can make for a very thrilling experience. Witnessing an underdog topple a favorite in dramatic fashion can increase the thrill of the event exponentially by itself.
In 1980, the Winter Olympics were hosted in Lake Placid, New York. And for the national ice hockey team representing the Soviet Union, it appeared as if it would be business as usual. They were a heavy favorite to take the gold medal, and why shouldn’t they be? They had won the gold medal in the four previous Winter Olympics (dating back to 1964) and hadn’t lost a single Winter Olympic game since 1968. While IOC rules dictated at that time that winter sports teams were to be made up of amateurs, there were those who suspected that the Soviet team was actually comprised of athletes paid by the state to train on a full-time basis, explaining the reason behind their long success. In fact, since 1964, they had a cumulative record of 27-1-1 and had outscored opponents, 175-44, during that time period. Meanwhile, the United States team, coached by Herb Brooks, had their tryouts as late as the summer of 1979, with only one player returning from the 1976 team. Apart from this relatively short time period to come together as a unit, the United States team of the 1980 Winter Olympics was also the youngest in team history, averaging out at 21 years old. The fact that they were able to keep pace at all with an overwhelmingly favored Soviet Union team is astounding by itself.
The game was a single-elimination style contest in the first portion of the medal round, a round for which Sweden and Finland also qualified. The United States had advanced from their group of exhibition matches, sporting a 4-0-1 record and beating powerhouse Czechoslovakia in an impressive 7-3 victory. The Soviet Union swept their group for a 5-0 record, their closest games still decided by 2 goals. It looked as if the Soviet team would remain unstoppable, especially without a competitive Czechoslovakia team to face. But the United States would show a grit and physicality that nobody seemed to expect.
After the first period, the United States and the Soviet Union were tied, 2-2. But the Soviets dominated the second period, outshooting the United States with 12 shots on goal to 2, and taking a 3-2 lead into the final period of the game. The United States, in a surprising turn of events, scored two goals in the first 10 minutes of the 3rd period to take a 4-3 lead. The Soviets, stunned at this, appeared to begin playing with less discipline. And the United States, oddly enough, continued to play offensively and aggressively to keep the pressure on the Soviet Union. The Soviet team began to shoot in a panicked frenzy, but American goalie Jim Craig managed to keep his composure long enough for Al Michaels to deliver the historical commentary in the closing seconds of the game:
“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”
Thus, the United States team, in a stunning 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union, had completed what would later be known as the Miracle on Ice. It was their ticket to the gold medal game, a game in which they defeated Finland, 4-2. The Soviet team later won the silver medal by defeating Sweden, 9-2
The United States is arguably the most dominant country in the world in the Olympic Games. And with that, chances are that many of the top, most well-known Olympians will be ones that had worn the Stars and Stripes.
While there are some top competitors from many countries – including some top Olympics success like Germany, China, Canada, Australia, Russia and Great Britain – there are many legendary stories of Olympic success that come under the United States flag. It must be a nice job.
As the 2018 Winter Olympics are just around the corner, this is a good opportunity to look into who are some of the most successful Olympic athletes in U.S. Olympic history. Following are seven of our favorites, based on either the numbers of medals earned or the highest percentage of medals that were gold (minimum five medals).
Ray Ewry (Summer, eight medals – 100% gold)
There are a couple reasons that Ray Ewry is at the top of this list – first of all, the one with the most gold medals without earning any other medals; and second, being one who recovered from polio more than 50 years before the polio vaccine was invented. Not being able to walk when he was younger, Ewry fought through polio, and not only did he walk, but won eight gold medals at three Summer Olympics, winning the standing high and long jumps in 1900, 1904 and 1908 Games. Top of the world, and overcoming what was a debilitating and lethal disease.
Eric Heiden (Winter, five medals – 100% gold)
Eric Heiden could be considered the first U.S. Olympic hero in the “modern” Olympic era – the one that had heavy television coverage. Heiden captivated many and introduced speed skating as a dominant sport for the Americans, as Heiden won gold at all five distances of speed skating – from the 500-meter sprint to 10,000 meters. He is the only one to win five gold medals at a single Winter Olympic games.
Carl Lewis (Summer, 10 medals – 90% gold)
Considered the greatest American track athlete in Olympic history and multiple world-record holders, Carl Lewis was a dominant sprinter and long jumper for the United States in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 – yes, winning a gold in the long jump in 1996 to be the oldest gold-medalist in the Summer Games at age 35. He won the 100-meter dash and long jump at consecutive Olympics (1984 and 1988), which was unheard of at the time.
Bonnie Blair (Winter, six medals – 83% gold)
Bonnie Blair was for women what Eric Heiden was for everyone – she broke the glass ceiling on making speedskating sexy for women. Blair won all her medals over three Olympic games in the 500- and 1,000-meter sprint races, and – until Apolo Anton Ohno – was the American all-time leader for Winter Olympic medals won (Ohno won eight), and tied with Heiden for most gold medals in the Winter Games.
Michael Phelps (Summer, 28 medals – 82% gold)
The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps makes the case as the greatest swimmer of all time not only for the quality but also the longevity, as he won an Olympic-record eight gold medals in 2008 (Beijing), six in 2004 (Athens) and five more in 2012 (London). Phelps has all-time records in total medals and gold medals (23), with a record 16 golds in individual events. The sheer number of medals is one thing, but then to have four of every of those medals be of the precious gold color? Dominant.
Mark Spitz (Summer, 11 medals – 82% gold)
Mark Spitz was Michael Phelps before Michael Phelps, and he did most of his work in a single Olympic Games, as he won seven gold medals in the 1972 Games in Munich, a record that stood as the most golds until Phelps 30 years later. But not only did Spitz get gold in all seven races in those ‘72 Games, he set seven world records. Not even Phelps ever had that success.
Greg Louganis (Summer, five medals – 80% gold)
Perhaps the greatest American diver ever, Greg Louganis was the one American who consistently broke through the Chinese stronghold in the springboard and platform events, winning five medals including four golds – winning both events in the 1984 and 1988 Games. He might be most known, however, for hitting his head on the springboard during competition in 1988, sending blood into the water just months after his HIV diagnosis.
Things are getting hot and heavy in the most popular sport.
Oh, wait. You thought we meant the NASCAR Monster Cup Series Playoffs?
Oh no, no, no. I meant the most popular team sport in the world.
No, we don’t mean the Major League Baseball playoff push, nor do we mean the opening weeks for the National Football League.
Of course, we mean the qualification stages for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which is less than a year away. Because of the timetable, more than 200 national teams have been competing in various confederation tournaments to fill the 32 precious spots in the most important event in the world of soccer.
When qualification started last year, 209 countries put national teams on the pitch in six confederations (one on each continent), with each having pre-determined numbers of berths in the field, with host country Russia getting the benefit of automatic qualification. As of the middle of September, eight of the 32 spots have been filled thanks to efforts by some countries in their confederations.
So far, Africa and Oceania have not qualified any teams for Russia, while South America and the North America/Central America/Caribbean confederation each qualified one team (Brazil in the former, Mexico in the latter) so far. Belgium and Russia have qualified out of Europe, and Asia will be sending South Korea, Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, with a fifth team playing in a playoff for a single spot.
The confederations break down as such – Africa will send five teams to the showcase; Asia four (with a fifth in a playoff vs. North/Central America), North/Central America three (plus one in a playoff vs. Asia), Oceania will have one team in a playoff for a berth, South America will send three (plus one in a playoff vs. Oceania) and Europe will have 14.
The United States, by the way, is still in the running for a World Cup spot, as its North/Central America confederation is in Round Five of qualifying, which is a six-team round-robin. The top three teams out of that round-robin will qualify for the World Cup (Mexico plus two others), with the fourth-place team playing a team from Asia in a two-game playoff for a spot. The USA is in the final round-robin group with Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago, and that will be played during October and November of this year.
The 32 teams will be divided into eight groups of four teams at the World Cup in a round-robin format, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the “knockout,” or elimination-round tournament of 16 teams.
When you consider attendance figures and the television ratings all over the world with various soccer leagues and these international tournaments, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and it is a sport that countries other than the U.S. excel and can dominate. National pride and glory are always on the line at a World Cup, and the drama and intensity in unparalleled compared to any other playoff system in any league. Imagine an NFL team playing as many as seven Super Bowls over the course of a month, and you get the idea of the significance of this tournament.
There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about amateurism in major collegiate sports in America. While the NCAA intends to promote amateurism for its student-athletes, there is so much money involved in major college sports that it has been near impossible to keep the true spirit of amateurism intact.
After all, the value of a full-ride scholarship to play sports is essentially a professional salary, not to mention what the universities make with television and merchandising deals, as well as ticket sales.
College sports have become so competitive in the fight for the almighty dollar, that some schools have found themselves in the middle of disgraceful scandals that involve various forms of cheating, some to keep student-athletes eligible, while others involve inducements to get student-athletes to attend certain schools.
Here are five examples of the dark side of college sports and how far schools would go to be at the top of the heap.
Florida State University – Academic Fraud, 2007
The Seminole football team was swept up in a scandal that involved more than 60 student-athletes across 10 sports, and the scandal led to vacated wins for the football team in 2006 and 2007, which kept Bobby Bowden from retiring as the all-time wins leader in Division I football.
The scandal involved academics, as the student-athletes participated in an online course and had test answers given to them before the exams, and in some cases had another person do classwork for them.
Alabama – Football Recruiting, 1999
Alabama has been so wildly successful over the decades that it’s hard to imagine that it would need to break any rules to get a high-school player to play at the school. But in 1999, Alabama apparently thought that high-school recruit Albert Means was a bigger deal than its own tradition.
The Crimson Tide received a two-year bowl ban and five years of probation after the NCAA found that the school had paid $150,000 to get Means to sign with the Tide. Ironically, Means only played a few games at Alabama before transferring to Memphis. The stench of Means’ attendance stuck with the program for years afterward, however.
University of Miami – Pell Grants, 1990s
College is expensive, even when you have a full-ride scholarship to play sports. At least, that seemed to be the thought at the Univerity of Miami in 1989 and into the early 1990s, when football players participated in a fraud on the federal government.
Though all the players had scholarships to attend school, an academic advisor reportedly helped the athletes forge fraudulent Pell Grant applications, which ended up in the players collecting more than $200,000 from federal taxpayers. The NCAA came down hard on Miami, though it did not receive the death penalty despite a history of playing fast and loose with the rules.
Southern Methodist University – Football Recruiting, 1980s
When you visit many websites for college athletics departments and you visit the “recruiting” page, you see several disclaimers warning about fans and boosters and their involvement with student-athletes and recruits. The story of SMU is a cautionary tale, as the football program is still the first in NCAA history to receive the “death penalty.”
It was found in 1986 that for almost a decade, SMU boosters had operated a “slush fund” of money that they reportedly used to induce top high-school players to sign with the Mustangs. The most recent NCAA investigation revealed that 13 players on the 1986 team had received about $61,000 in payments out of the slush fund in that season alone. The “death penalty” – which closed down the SMU program for several years – came about because the football program was already on probation for other violations.
University of Minnesota – Academic Fraud, 1999
The Univesity of Minnesota didn’t have the successful basketball history as other programs like North Carlina, Duke or Kentucky, but it was a competitive program that saw its revival in the late 1990s not only go down in flames, but it hampered the Gophers for several years afterward.
The day before a resurgent Gopher squad was going to start the 1999 NCAA Tournament, an office manager in the athletics office admitted that she had written about 400 term papers for 20 men’s basketball players over several years, with head coach Clem Haskins admitting later that he had paid the woman $3,000 each year to do the work. As the academic fraud lasted several years, the program was forced to vacate titles and wins over the previous five seasons¸ serve four years of probation starting in 1999 and had five scholarships lost over the following three years.
What is it that marks greatness? What factors into a decision that someone is the best? In sports, it’s relatively easy from year to year to determine who the best is based solely on who is left standing in a championship match. In the NFL, the best team is determined by the team who wins the Super Bowl. In golf, the best is generally regarded as the one who wins the most events. But, how do you gauge someone as the best by legacy? For example, how would you grade the best coaches in college sports? No single team has won every championship during their existence in any given sport. Many teams have had years of outstanding success followed by incredible failure, many have also had this the other way around. So, how is it that one can measure a college coach on greatness when there are so many different factors to consider? Well, as mentioned earlier, one can consider championships. As good a place to start as any, the number of championships a college coach holds is a telling marker of their greatness in their given sport.
Since the inception of the NCAA, no college coach has won more football championships than Alabama’s Paul William “Bear” Bryant. Once a player on the Alabama team, Bryant eventually went on to coach the Crimson Tide to six national titles between the years of 1961 and 1979. Before coaching Alabama to six national titles, Bryant also coached at the University of Maryland, University of Kentucky and Texas A&M University before returning to his alma mater where he ended his career in 1982. Bear Bryant retired with a career record of 323-85-17. His 323 career wins rank third all-time in NCAA football history.
The most wins is awarded to Joe Paterno, who claims 409 career wins – all with the Penn State Nittany Lions. In the span of coaching from 1966 to 2011, “JoePa” led Penn State to 37 collegiate Bowl appearances – the most in NCAA history – and won 18 of them (his Bowl record was 24-12-1 before NCAA sanctions took place). He also won 2 national championships with the Nittany Lions in 1982 and 1986. He also coached Penn State to five separate undefeated and untied seasons during his career. For his efforts and continued dedication to Penn State, Joe Paterno was also awarded a hefty paycheck of a shade over $1 million before his contract was terminated during the 2011 season.
As impressive a resume as that may be, especially with 409 wins in 45 seasons, there are several head basketball coaches who make that number look rather paltry. And the most impressive is likely a name you have not heard before: Harry Statham. There are Division I greats such as Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Knight, Pat Summitt, and Jim Boeheim, and the argument could be made that their involvement in Division I outweighs the accomplishments of Harry Statham, the head coach of McKendree University, a Division II private liberal arts college in Lebanon, Illinois. While the previously mentioned coaches all sport 900+ wins and various points of national championship contention, Statham is the only active college coach (having coached now for 50 seasons) to garner over 1,100 career wins. And just the same as Joe Paterno at Penn State, Statham has earned all of his wins with McKendree, posting an impressive .691 winning percentage with a career record of 1,110-497 with the Bearcats.
All things considered, it is difficult to pin down greatness to one category. While these are a few of the more prominent names in collegiate sports, there are a number of others to whom we could give heavy consideration. Greatness isn’t built solely by championships, or by an overall career record, or even by the amount of money a coach has earned. But, considering the metrics we have to work with, they are certainly a good start for picking a few standouts.
There are several metrics by which one can measure greatness. In the case of collegiate sports, there are probably too many to consider. Between the variety of sports that each university offers and the storied dynasties associated with each and every collegiate sport, narrowing down all of the colleges to a handful that are the most well-known for their collegiate sports programs may prove to be a daunting task. But while the schools themselves and the factors surrounding them are numerous, there are several standouts even among a nation’s worth of schools to choose from.
When you think of Texas (and many southern states, for that matter), you generally think of football. The Longhorns at the University of Texas at Austin have quite the history of excelling when it comes to college football, and this is especially noted in the slew of NFL players they seem to pump into the draft year after year: whether it be running back Jamaal Charles, the all-time leader in rushing yards for the Kansas City Chiefs, or hard-hitting Kenny Vaccaro of the New Orleans Saints. Consistently, the Longhorns are in contention for one Bowl game or another, and they’re no slouch when it comes to their other sports programs either. Since 2003, the Texas basketball team has made 3 appearances in the Elite Eight, advancing into the Final Four in one of those years, and they have graced the NBA with the talent of Kevin Durant. The baseball team has appeared in the College World Series on 33 different occasions. The entire sports program at Texas also nets over $56 million per year, on average. Which says they must be doing something right.
Much like Texas, the University of Alabama is best known for their football program, especially since the advent of Coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide have won 4 national titles and six division titles since Saban took the reins, making them one of the most successful programs in recent history. But, their success doesn’t stop there. Alabama’s baseball and softball teams made solid runs toward their respective College World Series last year, and their gymnastics and golf teams each came in third on the national stage. Stemming from all this recent success, it’s no surprise that Alabama nets a hair under $50 million per year.
While the University of Georgia has hit a bit of a slump in what are regarding as the keystone sports of late (mainly football and basketball), they seem to clean up rather nicely for much of what many might consider the more obscure sports in NCAA. In 2015 and 2016, the swimming and diving team went from runner-up to national champions. The women’s gymnastics team had won five consecutive national titles prior to 2010. The baseball and softball teams have seen some success in the 21st century. All of this translates to a check to the tune of about $35 million per year on average – not exactly peanuts, especially when the more popular programs in the nation’s eyes are currently on a downward trajectory.
But, by far, one of the most successful sports programs – if not THE most successful – lies within the University of Florida. In the past three years, the Gators have sported 31 top 10 finishes across all of the sports that the college offers. They have also taken home 4 national championships since the turn of the millennium (granted that only ties Nick Saban’s accomplishments at Alabama, but nobody’s perfect). And when your college ranks eighth in the country generated revenue – after thinking about how many Division I schools are in the country – that’s not too bad either, with an average of about $43 million per year.
These are only a few out of many storied universities, and several honorable mentions also exist. But, as difficult as it is to succeed in one sport when the competition spans into well over a hundred national teams, to be successful in multiple sports is nothing short of improbable and awe-inspiring.
Football and basketball grab the attention of most viewers of NCAA sports and college events, although the Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament manages give back the biggest profits. For those who are interested, NCAA college basketball will always hold a special place during the first few months of the year just after the football season bows out even though people love watching injuries Manhattan.
Those who make the coveted final four spot in Division I basketball are awarded regional bronze-plated championship trophies. Those who make it one step further to the National Championship get a gold or silver-plated trophy, depending on how they place. On top of that, National Champions also get another trophy.
The Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament is often called March Madness or sometimes the Big Dance by those who watch in the spring. Sixty-eight college teams compete in the elaborate tournament that eventually culminates in a national championship. It all began in 1939 when Harold Olsen, a coach at Ohio State University and member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, first came up with the idea.
Selecting the teams that play is the tricky part. 32 teams who previously held Division I championships maintain an automatic bid for inclusion in future tournaments, while the other 36 teams are chosen by a NCAA committee designated for the task. The 68 team lineup is then divided into four regions that help determine elimination brackets. These elimination brackets let you know what team someone will compete against if they win their current matchup. Locations chosen for games are typically neutral, i.e. not on the home turf of either team.
To date, UCLA has been awarded eleven national titles for its Division I wins, and ten of those eleven were led by Coach John Wooden. The University of Kentucky holds eight, the University of North Carolina holds six, and Duke and Indiana both hold five. So long as they stay in the top tier, all of these colleges will be big names in NCAA basketball.
Those who wish to watch March Madness when it airs can tune into CBS, where it’s usually carried. For the time being, the popularity of the contest continues to grow to international fame. A huge block of countries air these games, and people routinely try to predict who will win.
The tournament has evolved a lot as it has grown throughout the years. It all began with a modest eight teams from 1939 to 1952, then grew incrementally from 16 to 32 to 48, and then finally to the 68 competitors we know today. Less than a decade ago there were still 65 teams competing. In the future, most speculate the size of the competition will continue to grow exponentially as its popularity swells even more.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a huge nonprofit that runs a number of sports programs in order to help hundreds of thousands of college athletes make a name for themselves and get through college simultaneously–and that they do. The vast organization covers a tremendous number of men’s and women’s sports ranging from baseball, basketball, and football to bowling, fencing, rowing, and skiing.
By 2010, the NCAA decided to ensure diversity by adopting an LGBT inclusion policy, showing its commitment to all college athletes who wish to excel regardless of their sexual orientation. Because of a line of discriminatory new laws in North Carolina, the organization chose to axe its championship events in that state from 2016-2017. North Carolina has suffered a number of consequences because of these new policies, but could suffer more in the future. The state may not be able to bid on events that are scheduled to take place from 2019 all the way to 2022. Needless to say, this greatly affects the athletes who choose to seek education in North Carolina.
There are those who have alleged the NCAA runs college sports the same way that the Mexican cartels run drug operations. This is because some of its schools’ athletes have attempted to use their names and likenesses for profit after hitting the big times. While that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, it didn’t stop the NCAA from getting involved in order to prevent those athletes from receiving the compensation they thought they deserved. Some believe this violates antitrust laws.
The lawsuits that inevitably came about because of these interactions between the NCAA and the players suggested that the NCAA is a cartel simply because of its vast collective ability to govern and coordinate the activities of so many, while promoting an agenda that could be seen as unfair to the player. After all, the NCAA itself has no problem finding ways of generating revenue. Whether or not the lawsuits had a point, they got away from the more important aspects of nonprofit organizations like the NCAA.
Sure, it regulates thousands of athletes from a whopping 1,281 institutions and other organizations–the umbrella extends farther and wider than most of us could imagine. Because it’s so huge, it generates massive sums of money (nearly a billion back in 2014, for example). But because the NCAA is nonprofit, most of that revenue gets pushed back to thousands of other institutions who need it.
Even though some controversy has sparked over NCAA practices, that’s no reason to dismiss all the good it has done for so many young athletes who are looking to better themselves both in and out of the classroom, on and off the field.