Fair or Foul: Doug Gottlieb defends his view that the NCAA system is fair to its players

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Joining Chris Broussard, Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe on First Things First, Doug Gottlieb defends his view that the NCAA system is fair to its players. In light of the recent NCAA scandal, do you agree with Doug?

- Let's talk about the players first. Is the current system fair to the players?

- More than fair. Way more beneficial than I think it's ever been, including 20 years ago. 18 years.


- Why? Because--

NICK WRIGHT: People don't know when Doug says 20 years ago, 18 years ago, when Doug played. People don't remember Doug was a big, big time college basketball player.

- I appreciate that. But I mean, Chris, you have two kids in college, right? Think about how much more difficult it is to get kids into college than it ever was, let alone pay for college. And then of course the post-career benefits are exponentially better, including the second you leave. Now there's first the four-year scholarship, it's not one-year scholarship like it used to be, it's four-year scholarship. And any time you leave, by rule, if you leave in good academic standing, when you return, if you want to go and be a professional basketball player or football player they have to put you back on scholarship, and you can also learn to coach and not count against the number of coaches you can have on the field or on the court.

I think the benefits are great. I think the NCAA has a couple of challenges. The biggest one is they can never control the narrative. This is about cheating. This is about rules, and coaches allegedly, or agents allegedly violating those rules. That's what this is about. This is not about pay-for-play. That's a valid discussion to have, but it really doesn't have anything to do with the Sean Miller or the Rick Pitino situation.

- OK. So you're describing what a great deal it is for the players. So let's just offer that to them and see. If it's such a great deal, then there should be no problem with allowing some guys to take the deal you're saying, some guys to take the deal you're saying plus money, some guys to take the money instead of the deal you're saying. If what you're describing is true, that it's fair, then we have no problem here. Then just have that be on the menu of options for players.

- There is a menu of options. You don't have to go and play basketball in college. You can go play in the G League right after high school. And if you can get a shoe contract, get a shoe contract. You play for one year and make yourself eligible for the draft.

NICK WRIGHT: But you understand, I know you do, we are artificially setting a cap on what these players can make that we don't do to any other college student. You had an athletic scholarship to college. I had an academic scholarship to college. I still got paid doing radio while I was in college. At no point did I lose my eligibility to go to broadcasting classes.

At no point did all of a sudden they say, Nick, you can no longer participate in the student radio station. I had a good friend named Scott Spinelli. I don't know if he was on scholarship or not, but he wrote a book while in college, made money from that. At no point did they pull him out of class. We only do this to football and basketball players.

- That's not true. That's not true.

- What do you mean?

- First of all, part of the issue that no one has discussed is Title IX, right? I can't compensate you because if I do I have to compensate all of the other athletes-- the water polo players, the women's basketball players.

NICK WRIGHT: You can allow Nike to compensate them.

- I understand that. OK. But then, if you allow Nike to compensate them, all of a sudden, every benefit they have becomes taxable. This isn't a tax-free system. Anything--


- That's fine?


- You think? OK. Go to Michigan, how much--

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Pay taxes like everybody else. You're making money.

- No, the problem becomes you have to pay taxes on the benefits that you receive.

NICK WRIGHT: So then they'll turn it down, Doug. They'll turn it down.

- They're allowed to turn it down now. Nobody forces you to go to college. Nobody forces you to go play basketball in college. Nobody forces you to go play football in college.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: One thing you're saying, they do get a benefit of exposure by playing the NCAA, that they wouldn't get in the G League, that they wouldn't get overseas, which is the same thing he didn't--

- I get--

CHRIS BROUSSARD: However, what he's saying is that let's say your specialty was broadcasting, I know you played ball as well. You were able to work in a field related to your specialty, get paid any amount, and still go to class. These athletes are not able to--

- That's not true.

CHRIS BROUSSARD: Hold on. They can't get paid according to their likeness. A basketball player in NCAA cannot get paid for doing something related to basketball. That's his specialty.

- That's actually technically true in terms of likeness, but in terms of pay-to-play basketball you can't. But you get money for camp, you get money-- I actually did broadcasting, even though I wasn't a broadcasting major. I actually tended bar at Willie's Saloon, so there's other ways you can make up the $2,000.