Three Strong Links: NCAA Cheating, Minimum Wage Delusions, Journalism Standards and Teammate Betrayal


Here are three essays on current ethics issues, all worth reading and pondering.

1. At Slate, the topic is what constitutes legitimate news, and consequentialism: if a news source publishing non-news creates a real news event because of that publication, does this justify the original publication?

No, of course not. The incident in question involves a gossip site that posted a video shoing Los Angeles Laker Nick Young admitting to cheating on his fiancée, pop star Iggy Azalea. The video was surreptitiously recorded by Young’s teammate, D’Angelo Russell, and now the Lakers are shunning Russell, causing a problem for the team on and off the court. Now is the video newsworthy. Yes, but yecchhh.

The story is here.

2. Commentary discusses the strange trend of liberal legislators pushing extreme minimum wage increases on their cities and states despite risks of serious job losses. California is the latest example. Here is the head exploding quote:

“Why shouldn’t we in fact accept job loss?” asks New School economics and urban policy professor David Howell, who’s about to publish a white paper on the subject. “What’s so bad about getting rid of crappy jobs, forcing employers to upgrade, and having a serious program to compensate anyone who is in the slightest way harmed by that?”


3.  What a surprise. The Final Four was half-filled with cheating schools, explains the Chronicle of Higher Education. Especially disturbing was this passage, in which two coaches objected to academic fraud involving basketball players being called “cheating”:

“We have, in my opinion, the greatest sporting event there is, the Final Four, going on. It’s about four schools, four teams, four coaching staffs who have worked their tails off to get here,” Mr. Williams said. “All that other stuff that sometimes I call junk has been talked about too much.”

Jim Boeheim, head coach at Syracuse, expressed similar frustration for having to answer questions about an eight-year investigation into academic misconduct in his program, which was completed last year. Mr. Boeheim, whose team sat out last year’s tournament because of the problems, imposing the ban on itself before awaiting a possible penalty from the NCAA, used a news conference here Thursday to point out the differences he perceived in what his program was accused of and what it actually did.

“When they say ‘cheating,’ that’s not true,” Mr. Boeheim said. “Rules being broken is a lot different. Cheating to me is intentionally doing something, like you wanted to get this recruit so you arranged a job for him, or you went to see him when you shouldn’t. You called him when you shouldn’t to gain an edge in recruiting to get a really good player. That’s cheating.”


Pointer: Other Bill.

Sources: Commentary, Slate, Chronicle of Higher Education

8 thoughts on “Three Strong Links: NCAA Cheating, Minimum Wage Delusions, Journalism Standards and Teammate Betrayal

  1. Ugh. College athletics. Why don’t they just let colleges have teams that are associated with the school that are populated by semi-pro players that are paid. The players wouldn’t have to go to school, the coaches could hire whomever they chose to hire, the students and fans could cheer to their hearts’ content and everyone would be happy and know full well the players weren’t students and the coaches weren’t educating young men but were interested in making as much money as possible by winning at any cost.

  2. There are two levels to college athletics. The first is the “Big Time” and big money sports such as football and basketball and hockey in some instances where success gets notoriety and certainly brings in alumni dollars. The second is the lesser sports that don’t bring in the dollars and are often subsidized by the dollars from the big-ticket sports. The graduation rates – especially among women – are significantly higher than those of the football and basketball teams. Even baseball tends to be a sport that generates little in income. And golf? Lacrosse? Even track.

    Eventually, the $15 an hour jobs will be eliminated through robotics and bankruptcy.

    • All true but big time football and basketball are inexcusable at universities. Let kids play club sports if they want to. See, eg. The University of Chicago. They were the biggest thing in college football in the 1920s and dropped it cold turkey.

      • For some kids, it is just a gateway to the hoped riches of the professional ranks. Talent level that is not deemed worthy of being a pick fresh out of high school so go to a B-Ball factory and build up your skills for a year or two. Basketball factories designed to get high profile boosterism attention. Some major programs – need I mention patient zero in this – simply have a one and out for the players who are drafted by the NBA.

        The growth of basketball worldwide is also an opportunity for those that have a nice skill set but cannot latch on to an NBA team so overseas can be quite lucrative. Some of the students that have fallen by the wayside present horrific stories of just what is wrong with the system – hello, Chris Washburn!

        Big Time programs will not change. They have a symbiotic relationship of mutual prostitution with the so-called “student-athletes.”

        • Again, I think the schools can have teams affiliated with them but they will be nothing but minor league/feeder teams for the pros and money makers for the schools. Kind of a for profit subsidiary. Fans can still root and buy stuff, students can get drunk all Saturday. Just stop pretending the players are there for anything other than production and possible pro future. Everybody wins and the schools aren’t corrupted by all the pretense of these kids being students. Kind of goofy, but the only option.

          • Careful, Bill, the NCAA and their minions are watching. Have someone start your car and get a food taster. Your logic is flawed since it is a concept of doing the right thing – an entirely alien concept to the delusional AD’s and pompous asses of the NCAA.

  3. Jack, your post is especially timely for me. I spent a good chunk of yesterday responding to an email message from my step-daughter (a Sanders supporter) in which she lamented an “ignorant” former coworker’s Facebook posting of “something about how horrible it is that the minimum wage is increasing in California to $15.” As a Californian that encounters the effects of poverty daily, I am deeply troubled by the minimum wage increase. As a student of economics and ethics, I can tell you exactly what’s wrong with “forcing employers to upgrade, and having a serious program to compensate anyone who is in the slightest way harmed by that”. The first problem is that it’s forced. (What’s wrong with good, old-fashioned American freedom?) Secondly, it’s causing harm, and the compensation does not make up for the harm done. These are (slightly revised) excerpts from my reply to my step-daughter:

    Your friend is correct. Raising the minimum wage – even having a minimum wage – is horrible. The world will not end, but it will be worse. The increase will make it even harder for unskilled and entry level workers to find jobs. There is no employer on the face of the earth that will be encouraged to hire more people (or maintain a current workforce) simply because it costs her more to do it. An increase in the cost of a resource will always encourage an employer to seek a substitute for the resource and/or use less of it. The minimum wage increase will encourage employers to find less-costly alternatives to labor, or to move their business to a place with cheaper labor (another state or another country). This is not only common sense, but also the most basic of economic principles.

    Believe it or not, there are people without the required knowledge, skills (soft and hard), and abilities to make a go of it in the world of work. These people do not deserve $15 per hour, and they will not get a job at $15 per hour. They will remain unemployed, turning to welfare and crime to survive. Eliminating the minimum wage would allow these people into the workforce, where they can learn and acquire the skills deserving of $15 or more per hour. (By the way, because of our out-of-control tax policies, a $15 per hour employee will cost an employer at least $19 per hour – and much more in “progressive” cities and states. This is what employers are really up against.)

    Liberals pretend wages and other elements of an economy are isolated and have no effect on anything else. They tend to ignore the fact that economies are complex systems in which every element is affected by every other element in the system. Raising the minimum wage absolutely will cause an increase in prices of consumer goods. The increase in the prices of consumer goods will disproportionately harm those with lower incomes – especially those that have been shut out of the job market and are depending on welfare to survive. To compensate, the government will be pressured to raise taxes and increase the national debt, harming everyone in the country. It’s a vicious cycle.

    There is also an issue of efficiency. In a free economy, the natural push and pull of supply and demand for all resources and end products (i.e., goods and services) results in an efficient distribution and use of resources and end products. Any government intrusion into this system results in distortion of the relative value of resources and end products and an inefficient distribution. In the case at hand, an increase in the minimum wage will result in an over-reliance on non-labor resources (which means fewer jobs and waste of non-labor resources) as well as over-consumption of goods and services that are less labor intensive to produce (and, thus, relatively cheaper). For a somewhat uncluttered example of these principles in action, consider how decades of government subsidization of food production and consumption has contributed to America’s “obesity epidemic”.

    As a reason to increase the minimum wage, my step-daughter argued, “factoring in inflation, the minimum wage in 1968 was higher than it is today.” However, this is only evidence that minimum wages and other liberal tactics such as rent control don’t work. This is evidence that the Democrats’ tactics in the “war on poverty” do more harm than good. It is not evidence that minimum wages should be increased (or even exist). Still, the statistic does point to the real issue: It is not the amount of money people make that is important – what’s important is what they can buy with that money. This refers to their standard of living. Lowering taxes to allow people to keep more of the money they’ve earned increases the standard of living (and allows greater freedom and justice). Eliminating unnecessary government regulation so that prices can stagnate (or fall) increases the standard of living. Allowing people into the workforce so that they can learn to be valued workers deserving of $15 or more per hour increases the standard of living. Having freedom to choose increases the value of living. Regulation and liberal tax and spend policies only exacerbate the problems we already have.

    • The fact that this is an intergenerational family dialog augurs well for the future. If she takes these ideas (or even one of them) under the serious consideration they deserve, I’d like very much to know the young woman’s reply.

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