Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The $25,000 Question


Notre Dame safety Tommy Zbikowski makes his professional boxing debut, knocks out a tomato can put up by promoter Bob Arum in 49 seconds, and collects $25,000. Iowa quarterback Drew Tate competes in a golf tournament, scores a hole in one that makes him eligible to claim $25,000 toward the purchase of a new Dodge, and has to give it all back. Why? NCAA rules allow an eligible player in one sport to be a professional in another, so Tate, the golfing amateur, is out of luck. ... It's not as if Arum — no doubt hoping to promote Zbikowski down the road — had set up the figher to lose. Zbikowski, after all, had fought 90 amateur fights, winning 75, and was going against something called Robert Bell, who entered with a 2-2 record. (And about those 50 teammates of Zbikowski who made their way to Madison Square Garden for the fight. Where did they come up with the money for that?) Meanwhile Tate scores his ace fair and square in front of witnesses. This, ladies and gentlemen, is your NCAA. We don't begin to understand the rules of this so-called governing body, but we do know one thing: those running it are getting rich — very rich — off amateur athletes. As we reported earlier, NCAA president Myles Brand pulled in a whopping $870,000-plus in compensation in 2004-05. His compensation is more than every public university president. At least eight other NCAA employees are paid more than $281,000 a year. Clearly, something is wrong here. (Thanks to EDSBS for finding this video.) Update: Video has been pulled. Might want to check some torrent sites. Update II: Fight currently available on this link. And please check out the rest of our lovely blog when you get a chance! Update III: It's a cat-and-mouse game with this video and YouTube. The current version we have posted does not have sound. The link in Update II does have the fight with sound.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its ridiculous to imply the happening of something improper because Tommy Z's teammates were in NYC to support him. How many college kids travel to visit their college friends during the summer? We're talking New York City here, not Fiji. I'm sure almost every college student in the country could afford the $300 or so it probably cost to make the trip.

Anonymous said...

You can be pro in one sport and eligible in another??? Did anyone mention this to Jeremy Bloom?

eirishis said...

First, I'm with the first commenter ... it's wrong to imply that his teammates did something wrong because they made their way to NYC for the bout. Pretty out of line.

Second, the NCAA rule allows you to be pro in one and amateur in the other, so long as no endorsement money is involved in the pro sport. Bloom's problem wasn't his pro mogul status, but his endorsement money.

All that said, this is totally ridiculous. I can't understand the difference between Tate winning this on a what-luck hole in one and buying a winning lottery ticket, or winning a raffle at a charity event. Because the golf club was in his hand? What a weak explanation. The NCAA is such a sham.

Anonymous said...

The same Jeremy Bloom who accepted endorsement money which the NCAA explicity prohibits? The NCAA is a backasswards organization with idiotic priorities, but they are very clear that no amateur athlete can accept any endorsements. But athletes can compete in other sports and get paid to do so all the time. Just look at the long list of football players with minor league contracts.

Wiz, no need to take a swipe at these kids, just keep it directed at the NCAA. The myth that all NCAA athletes are from poor families and therefore have no money is incorrect. One can easily find cheap flights to NY or drive out there themself. Many of these kids come from middle-class families that can afford a small jaunt to NYC for a day or two.

Anonymous said...

There're a lot of guys on ND's football roster who live in NY, NJ, PA.. places where you could drive to the fight in 3-4 hours. Probably everyone in the school knows someone who lives close enough to the city to stay at their house overnight, so they don't even need to scrape together the 10 bucks a head it takes to put 12 guys in a hotel room (as college guys will do). I read somewhere Quinn drove out from South Bend- that's about 120-200 bucks in gas money round trip, split 4-5 ways, 30-40 a head, the tickets were probably given to Z by the promoter in the contract to do with as he pleased.... so no, this is not some massive expense for the players to go to the fight. Those that went probably paid 100-300 bucks a head to get there. A lot of money for a college kid, but certainly not staggering.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the previous commenters (except no. 2). Wiz, leave the kids out of it. Not only would the trip be fairly cheap, let's not forget that each of those kids *gets to go to college for free.* Think maybe their parents have a couple hundred bucks to give them for the trip?

Also, you're misleading your readers when comparing the records of the fighters. Zbikowski is 75-15 as an amateur, where the marshmallow was 2-2 as a pro. You're not comparing apples to apples.

Anonymous said...

the ncaa views the student athletes as slaves. They fill their fat pockets while exploiting kids and telling them what they can have and not have, do or not do. By the way, where does all the TV money go to? I'm sure it is not going to scholarship programs for the schools or to programs (Katrina fund, American Cancer Society, etc.) that actually help people. Screw the NCAA, praise the kids.

Anonymous said...

Must we be reminded that they're student-athletes, not athlete-students? The universities that they represent are footing their tuition as well as room and board. For schools such as Notre Dame, tuition is roughly $35,000 a year. That times 4=$140,000. Not a bad deal to get a degree from one of the premier universities by just playing ball. I must admit, ND is an extreme, but that being said most public universities are $15,000 a year. Not a bad gig if you ask me.

Greg Spillane said...

Notre Dame pocketed about 14.5 million for its participation in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl....not a bad return on investment if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Notre Dame pocketed about 14.5 million for its participation in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl....not a bad return on investment if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Notre Dame pocketed about 14.5 million for its participation in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl....not a bad return on investment if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Zib would have never had a $25K fight in MSG if he wasn't a Notre Dame football player. He profitted from his involvement in an NCAA sport. The reason Tate couldn't keep HIS $25K was because the NCAA said that he would be profiting from his involvement in an NCAA sport (he was at the golf tournament representing the school). I don't see a difference between the two cases.

Anonymous said...

I think that the NCAA goes overboard often, including in the Dew Tate case. He's not an amatuer golf player, so he should be able to receive the money. But I do understand the difference between Tate and Zbikowski.
If Tate's representing his school at a golf function, then he has a link of sorts to his amateur status. He was attending as a member of Iowa University, and therefore, as an amateur. He didn't win this golf tournament in a vacuum, as private citizen. He won it as an amatuer. A fine distinction, and one I wouldn't have amde, but different from ZBikowski's case.
Z was participating in the boxing event completely independently of his status as an amatuer football player. There was abslutely no relationship betwen the two factors. While you may claim that he received additional pub b/c he's a starting safety for the Irish, there is absolutely no direct link ebtween the two and no means for proving that in a legal sense.

So- Tate won a golf tournament as an Iowa student (who plays football, and therefore must obey NCAA dicates), and Z boxes as a professional boxer (which has no relationship to being an amatuer football player). I understand the diffence there.
Again, I wish the NCAA would lighten up a little, and would refrain from such technical distinctions. Drew Tate shouldn't be impeded from aprticipating in other money-making events because he is a fotball player, and neither should Jeremy Bloom. But I do understand that they prefer to appear as overbearing tyrants to having a league which could fall down a slippery slope towards a pseudo-amateur status.