Saturday assorted links


Oh boy they got the receipts on Rick. We better not pay those players though.

Public schools paying players would be one weird mashup of concepts.

What was Adidas really getting for all that money?

The support of naïve Americans.

Support for what?

For their trade. Naïve Americans will buy their products because they like their so-called football.

How does giving Rick Pitino 100 million accomplish this, though, I guess is what I don't quite follow.

They buy the good will of coaches, players and universities, who are seen by naïve Americans as trustworthy people. It works the same way ant overlords would find a trusted TV personality be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

Arguments for paying the players:

1. The restraint on paying them is an obvious example of a monopoly in action. The NCAA has a monopoly on the opiate of the opiate of the college graduate sports market, and it uses its power to restrict the compensation paid out to those who work in the industry. The "amateurism" argument is baloney when you look at the amount of money flowing around the NCAA. The players not being paid is the only "amateur" part of it, makes you wonder...

2. The argument that they will end up well compensated in the professional leagues ignores the fact that the majority will not make it there.

3. The argument that the scholarships constitute a form of generous compensation ignores the fact that many of the players are from poor families or minority groups, and, assuming they could get into the school without being recruited athletes, would have gotten the same scholarships anyway.

Arguments against:

1. Though it is a monopoly, it can be argued that the main beneficiaries are the schools, which are a supposedly non-profit endeavor, unlike the pro-leagues where privately-owned teams got the benefit when players' salaries were fixed. Should the government step in and force them to pay the players competitively, which would drain away the profits they derive from it?

2. It's a hardly unprecedented for people to work for free, see, unpaid internships. Players must be aware of 2. and 3., yet, you don't hear stories of players refusing to play. The social status compensation is very good. If players were paid competitively, many would only be admitted due to athletics, not have to pay any tuition, do hardly any schoolwork, get the girls, and make potentially millions of dollars? {Whiny voice} It's not faaaaaiiiiir!

3. While there will be many who don't make it to the pro-leagues, these will be the ones who won't be paid anything or will be paid in scholarships as they already are. Only the superstars will be offered millions, and they will then go onto well-paid careers in the pro-leagues.

Ultimately, I think truth and justice are on the side of paying the players, but my tribal hindbrain still doesn't want to....

Two more arguments against:

You want to be paid, turn pro. No problem.

So you never played ball, got this crappy poly sci degree, $25k in debt, and can't find a job. At least the basketball team is there to improve your self-esteem. That's what public universities are for.

I always find it so amusing, the ideas people have about the relative value of degrees.

That crappy poli sci degree still has higher lifetime earnings than a math or business degree.

"Crappy" was intended to exclude good and pre-law poly sci.

Is generic state school poly sci really better than generic state school math?

What's your source for the math degree claim? This one contradicts:

To expand, one problem with modern American education is that we do overproduce things like the B.A. Poly Sci as an endpoint degree, and dump kids with B- GPA on the job market.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association behaves monopsonistically in forbidding its member colleges and universities to pay their athletes. Although cartels, including monopsonistic ones, are generally deemed to be illegal under American antitrust law, the NCAA’s monopsonistic behavior has been somehow exempted from prosecution by the Federal Government. NCAA should not be above the law.

"Amateurism" doesn’t squelch the market for athletic talent any more than Prohibition squelched the market for alcohol — it simply forces the market underground, fostering an unnecessary "crime" problem. NCAA teams are constantly afflicted with scandals of their 'amateur' athletes getting paid/compensated under-the-table. A black-market is the very predictable result of NCAA defiance of market forces.

Surprised the Adidas $145M for Rick Patino but only $35k for Louisville University story is not getting more press. $145M for a shoe salesman? Al Bundy would be proud.

#4) From the linked Courier-Journal article: "'Players come here in part because of Coach Pitino. Coaching is part of what we give to student-athletes,' [athletic department spokesman] Klein said."

This quote makes it sound like this is a mechanism for a large part of Pitino's compensation to be paid by outside sources (Adidas) rather than directly by the university. An alternative arrangement would be for the university to nominally receive all of the Adidas money and just pay Pitino a larger salary.

On the other hand this quote: "Klein also noted that Pitino had a contract with Adidas before the program struck its first agreement with the company," which seems intended to be exculpatory, might actually have the opposite effect. It raises a question as to whether Pitino steered the university to Adidas. The question is whether Pitino would have gotten the same deal regardless of whether the university awarded sponsorship to Adidas, Nike, Under Armour, or some other company.

A public university paying million dollar coach's salaries directly or indirectly might be a good example of complacency.

Mission gone awry.

Go away Weinstein


1. "Scott’s view of the state has always been attractive to some leftists, who have found solace in his depiction of the microscopic possibilities of flouting a state power that they cannot overthrow. But Scott has also proved popular with another group: economic libertarians. They understand that he is their ally. Reading him with a squint, they appreciate his vociferous critiques of state power as abetting their own dreams of freedom. Scott is visibly nervous about this fan club, since even after he gave up any flirtation with Marxism, he has always viewed “free markets” as breeding their own sorts of hierarchy and oppression." I read this review of Scott's book after reading a review of Gretchen Rubin's latest self-help book, in which she expands on her personality-typing system. The world has become so complex that people are forever in search of simple explanations (Rubin) and simpler times (Scott).

@#1 - I read this review and nothing that Scott says in his book is that controversial: (1) primitive man lived better than modern man, except for the disease (better bones in the former), (2) grain societies led to hydraulic economies with a pyramid structure, good for those on top (Pharaoh), bad for peasants and slaves, (3) society breeds uniformity, akin to mono-culture, (4) primitive economies are more egalitarian than civilized economies (Ghengis Khan overturned egalitarianism, and look what happened, world war and conquest).

To me, these kind of books written by Scott are targeted towards people who have little knowledge of history--that would be most of you--and want to be spoon fed by a single work that explains the "Big Picture" without getting into hard to remember details. By way of example, a real student of history--like me--knows from memory the names of all eras/periods/epochs of geological time as well as the names and dates of all dynasties of China down to the Qing. But for the rest of you, there's books like this one.

3. Don't blame me, I'm a cradle Episcopalean. Christianity (Pauline Christianity anyway) is foolproof, or foolproof in regard to what can be proved or disproved: Everyone eventually dies (there are no exceptions), but salvation (i.e., everlasting life) can be achieved in the simplest of ways, namely by faith in Jesus, without regard to good works, a pure or sinister mind, secular success or failure, or the number of friends or enemies one has in this life.

"Everyone eventually dies (there are no exceptions)"

What about Elijah, what about Enoch? Have they died? When?

Several people in the comments recommended Edward fesers new book in which he defends five raditionsl proofs for the existence of God. If you are not reading it, then I believe with p= .85 that you are not actually interested in whether any religion is true but rather are just Trying to signal how subtle and rational you are.

Several people in the comments recommended Edward fesers new book in which he defends five raditionsl proofs for the existence of God. If you are not reading it, then I believe with p= .85 that you are not actually interested in whether any religion is true

Or, you know that Feser has a (well deserved) low standing among professional philosophers, and think that it's pretty unlikely that he's come up with something new that's worth spending scarce time on. (Note that this low standing isn't because Feser is a theist. There are many theist philosophers with excellent reputations. Feser just isn't one of them. He's just not very good, so the chance that he's come up with something new and important is pretty low.

Seriously... there are hundreds of "proofs" that God exists and humdreds of "proofs" that He doesn't. Producing those was a cottage industry in the Middle Ages and Enlightenment. How many proofs more we really need?!

You have completely misunderstood Feser’s project if you think he is claiming to be presenting new arguments. He is merely representing arguments from Aristotle, Leibniz, etc... in a way that moderns (who aren’t familiar with the paradigms those men were working within) can understand.

Whether Feser’s reputation is good or not is irrelevant to the fact that his book is effective as an antidote to the straw man versions of these theistic arguments that are presented in undergraduate philosophy courses.

The arguments are not hard to understand, and were well understood by people like Kant, Hume, etc. who rejected them, for good reason, long ago. I've never seen anything from Feser that was worth spending time on, so I hope you'll forgive me for not spending time on this.

The Nation's article by Moyn ultimately criticizing Scott's negativity toward the state is immediately followed by an article on WWI, an event that killed millions and led to the deaths of millions more later on. Only the nation/state is capable of marshaling the resources necessary for this kind of destruction.

Only the nation state can marshal rhe resources necessary to protect us from it. The state fights the roving bandits and routes the invading Barbarians, securing the borders and peace. Evidently, as we say in Brazil, every people gets the state it deserves.

Never heard of Genghis Khan?

So that's what America has become: a country where even the toys are complacent and decadent. While President Temer asks us to ask not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country (save more money, cut overgenerous public pensions, invest more, buy Brazilian, pay more taxes, cut the deficit, lean with the experiencesof other countries, sell deficitary state-owned companies, etc.), Americans worship the Almighty Dollar and its idols.

3. What a strange piece. I don't think it can really be for "faith" if it recognizes that "membership" is just happenstance.

I can rewrite one bit:

"Or, in a different direction, we can resolve Cowen’s problem by thinking of religious belief as analogous to nationality. Believing America is #1 doesn’t mean that I say that Pr(Americanism is #1 is true) = .018 or whatever. It’s just an aspect of who I am. "

In fact, Bayesianism seems window dressing in this piece, and Tyler is right that it isn't really applied. The human fealty to birth circumstance overruled all.

1. Here's a simple observation: The continent of Africa, which did not develop nation states until recently (it was a tribal society), has lagged well behind Europe, which did develop nation states early on and is far more prosperous and politically stable.

'The continent of Africa, which did not develop nation states until recently'

As if Egypt never existed.

The rise and fall of Egypt has been chronicled in many books, and the common theme of them all was the erosion of national identity and loss of cohesion it provided (which some trace to the reign of Amenhotep IV ). Unknowingly, you have actually confirmed my point.

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