Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Fab Five Discussion We Should Really Be Having

Just before this year's NCAA tournament tipped off, ESPN aired The Fab Five as part of their 30 for 30 series. I couldn't wait to watch. I was a high school senior in 1992. I remembered this team fondly and the documentary didn't disappoint. It captured the excitement and controversy surrounding these guys and I loved hearing the players' memories of their two years together at Michigan. For me the highlight was hearing the Fab Five talk smack about Duke. I hated those Duke teams (particularly Christian Laettner) and I loved that the Michigan guys shared my sentiments. I was also disappointed that Chris Webber didn't participate, that we didn't have the opportunity to hear his version of events. 

Much of the media response to the film has focused around Jalen Rose's use of the term Uncle Tom and Grant Hill's response. While this discussion about race is important, I wish we could talk about another major problem in collegiate athletics: the huge profits being made on the backs of amateur athletes. With so many young student-athletes coming from humble beginnings, how can we keep programs, players and families clean? What responsibility does the NCAA have to enforce its rules? What about the professional leagues and agents? Should players share in some of these profits?

I wish I knew how to fix it, but I am just a fan tired of the violations and allegations. It's sad to see players and teams stripped of accomplishments and punished for transgressions. But there is no end is in sight unless we change the way our most talented athletes navigate their way into college programs and onto professional leagues.


  1. hard conversation = trying to explain to my 10 year old "uncle Tom"