Discussion Post: Week 4
We’re done with Presentation I! How did you feel about the way in which your efforts came together? Did your initial impressions change upon viewing the video of your presentation? What will you do differently or try to maintain from this point forward?
Let’s start by touching upon the September 11th attacks one last time. A memorial revealed last week seemed to be just fine, at least until viewers noticed that the name of victim Jeffrey Schreier was misspelled. The architects are now scrambling to correct the embarrassing error. This comes after a furious debate over the simple question of how to display victims’ names; ultimately, the plan changed from a random ordering (“because of the random nature of the way the victims died”) to grouping them based on family and colleague associations. What can we learn from these detail debacles, both in terms of public relations as well as for our own presentations? How does the impression that viewers of this memorial received relate to the sense that our audiences will have when we speak to them?
Any student-athletes here may be interested in a new report by the National College Players Association (NCPA), an advocacy group supporting the payment of student-athletes. The authors of the report, entitled “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sport,” argue that the majority of college athletes receive scholarships which cover only a portion of their tuition costs, leaving them below the poverty line. More prominently, consider the following summary:
A national college athletes’ advocacy group and a sports management professor calculate in the report that if college sports shared their revenues the way pro sports do, the average Football Bowl Subdivision player would be worth $121,000 per year, while the average basketball player at that level would be worth $265,000.
As others have noted, those whopping six-figure incomes would only be the averages in their respective sports. Texas football players would be worth over a half-million dollars each, while Duke basketball players would each rake in over $1 million a year. South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier added that “20 years ago, 50 years ago, athletes got full scholarships. Television income was what, maybe $50,000? And now everybody’s getting 14, 15 million bucks and they’re still getting a scholarship.” Furthermore, student-athletes who accept money or gifts from outside sources for their athletic efforts risk suspensions or expulsion from their positions as student-athletes; in recent years, such illegal compensation violations have set off scandals that led to prominent boosters, national champion coaches, and entire college programs being ousted from college sports.
Given that NCAA rules don’t permit any compensation for student-athletes aside from scholarships, what do you think of the sums to which they would be entitled under a different payment scheme? Do you think that the NCPA report has a valid argument to make, or is it a flawed case from a biased source? How about the NCAA’s position that “paying student-athletes a salary is in no way on the table”? What would happen if student-athletes were able to (legally) make a salary beyond their scholarships, and should such a change be enacted?
Keeping with the athletic theme for the moment, professional basketball, one of the biggest entertainment industries in the U.S., may be absent from America next year. Just like the NFL labor standoff a few months ago, the NBA now faces the distinct possibility of missing the start of its season or, worse yet, cancelling the entire year. The league’s collective bargaining agreement expired after last season, and negotiations that started years ago kicked into high gear during the offseason. After making a slew of concessions, Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), expected that NBA commissioner David Stern and the 29 team owners would return with a favorable counteroffer. That offer did not come, leaving the anticipated November start for this season in serious jeopardy. With training camps scheduled to begin in three weeks — which cannot happen without a new agreement — time is running short. Many agents and some players are now pushing to have Hunter removed from his position or even to completely decertify the union. What are your thoughts on the negotiations? What positive moves has each side made, and what errors do you think are at play? Do you think that either side has done an effective job of winning public support throughout the process? What do you think will happen from this point onward?
On the political side of things, last Tuesday New York held a special election to replace former House Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned in the wake of a scandal earlier this year. In a tremendous upset, Republican political newcomer Bob Turner defeated Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin, taking the seat Weiner held for seven terms in a heavily Democratic district. The district hadn’t sent a Republican to the House of Representatives since 1923. The same day, a Nevada special election resulted in Republicans holding a spot in the House — Dan Heller moved from that House seat to the Senate after Sen. John Ensign’s scandal-related resignation last spring. Republicans touted their wins as reflections of voter dissatisfaction with President Obama’s performance, and even some Democrats expressed their disappointment in the president. It should be noted, though, that this particular district’s record has changed quite a bit in recent years: even Obama only earned 55% of its votes in 2008 despite the 3-to-1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans among registered voters.
In the meantime, Obama has proposed a new jobs initiative that could ultimately revolutionize the welfare system by extending unemployment benefits to individuals training with potential employers. A key portion of his newly devised bill which attempts to replicate a successful Georgia program is similar to a proposal that Republican Eric Cantor pushed in 2009; naturally, Cantor was quick to claim the provision in Obama’s bill as his own. Of course, Obama had hoped to use the plan much differently than the GOP: while Obama has couched it in his speeches as a short-term unemployment fix, many Republicans would rather use it as a permanent overhaul of the welfare system. Still, a range of Republicans and Democrats alike have voiced hesitation at the full bill; Republicans have largely criticized the spending increases necessary for its provisions and calling its provisions “short-term gimmicks,” while some (but certainly not all) Democrats are divided across a range of objections.
What do you think about all these political developments? Who looks strong moving forward, and who will have the edge a year from now when election season returns? For that matter, what will the various parties and candidates do over the next 14 months, and how will everything come to a head on November 6, 2012?
That’s probably enough for this week. Have at it!
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ESPN analyst curses on ‘Monday Night Football,’ apologizes
Eliezer Alfonzo suspended 100 games
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Facebook rolls out “Subscribe” button
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Price Hike Sends Netflix’s Stock Downward
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Google Flights lumbers down the runway
Google Goggles 1.6 for Android now scans photos in the background
Microsoft Reports 500,000 Downloads of New Windows Preview
Rogue trader suspected in $2 billion loss at UBS
Twit for tat as NATO and Taliban take battle to internet
How Games Saved My Life offers stories of hope from gamers
Sony Sets PlayStation Vita Debut
Luxury retailer introduces solid gold phone with a $60,000 price tag
‘Super Earth’: 50 New Planets Discovered, One May Support Life
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Climate Change: Global Warming May be Beneficial
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Confirmed! Scientists Tally Over 600 Alien Planets
Can NASA Afford Massive New Deep Space Rocket?
Obama Administration Accused of Sabotaging Space Launch System
Dead Satellite Will Fall to Earth By September’s End, NASA Says
Fears Over Soyuz Again Delay Space Launch
SLS: The rocket in need of a destination
Feathers Trapped in Amber Reveal a More Colorful Dinosaur Age
Is Thorium the Biggest Energy Breakthrough Since Fire? Possibly.