The Good, Bad and Ugly About the Commercialization of Amateur Sports

College admission programs select poorly educated athletes who stay in college for 1-2 years, instead of highly qualified students who could help us overcome our global competitiveness gaps in science, business, and education. An adult can decide to risk injury to his or her body; an 11-year-old should not be pushed to use athletic techniques that create injury risks he does not understand.

College basketball and football, both revenue-producing sports, effectively rent star players for one year, secure significant revenues for college programs, showcase players for professional teams, and help coaches secure multimillion dollar salaries. The use of performance-enhancing substances has always been with us, and probably always will be: Too much money is at stake. Sports betting is more financially lucrative than the sports themselves. Adult-led commercialization exacerbates the competitive tendencies of young athletes to risk injuries by raising the economic stakes of success.

Several events have caused me to think about creeping sports commercialization: the increasingly lucrative NCAA tournament and the increasing sense that college basketball is a one-year commercial way station for athletes on the way to professional basketball; Barry Bonds’ perjury trial relative to his use of performance-enhancing drugs; business-sponsored teams beginning spring baseball practice; and continuing publicity about sports concussions.

The commercialization that troubles me is what has crept into youth and college sports. Commercialization radically changes the economic benefit of winning for the young athlete, the coaches and parents. I was thrilled to meet Lee Elder, the first black golfer invited to participate in the Masters Tournament and one of the most inspiring and courageous athletes in the 20th century, at the NAACP Celebrity Image Awards Golf Challenge at which we showed clips of From the Rough.

This is a time to celebrate great athletic performances; it is also time for reflection on sports’ roles in young peoples’ lives.

George Dohrmann recently wrote about basketball’s commercialization for boys as young as 9 years old in his book Playing Their Hearts Out.

Sadly, violence is also likely to remain a permanent part of the sports landscape, although we can make rules changes that, over time, reduce its severity and frequency. Great college basketball players like Bill Bradley of Princeton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of UCLA, and Pat Riley of Kentucky, who got college degrees, had great professional basketball careers, but had even better post-basketball lives due to their education.

However, commercialization has many ugly sides, some old, some new. Michael Sokolove wrote about this in a recent article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, entitled “Is It Dunk and Done for Perry Jones?,” in which he said that college basketball may not matter any more.

One characteristic of creeping sports commercialization among young athletes is that it distorts, or even destroys, people and institutions it touches. I directly support research to enable us to understand the multiple causes of neurological damage from violent hits to the head.

I do not begrudge professional team owners or athletes the economic rewards they have secured. I support efforts to curb cheating through substance abuse, because it does permanent damage to users, but eliminating performance-enhancing substances is unlikely.

Commercialization enables retired, but still famous, athletes to supplement meager post-career earnings. It spotlights young pitchers who throw curve balls that significantly increase the risk of permanent arm and shoulder damage. Organized youth sports programs displace more broadly based recreational sports programs. In recent years, ESPN has broadcast the Little League baseball playoffs and World Series. Some boys ended up having great college experiences, but there were avoidable tragedies, including one boy who was housed with a pedophilic coach and became a convicted criminal because of the commercial opportunity his mother found too good to pass up.

. While most publicity is about concussions, with baseball recently creating a 7-day disabled list for concussion victims, the cumulative impact of years of violence to athletes’ bodies is a more serious issue. They do not secure educations, as evidenced by the University of Connecticut men’s basketball team’s 30% graduation rate. Local businesses like the Baskin & Robbins store and Dunkin’ Donuts franchises have long enabled young people to secure uniforms and be part of sports teams. We will never eliminate its lure. Professional sports are of high quality and are great entertainment. He followed a cohort of 20 boys and their families and coaches in Southern California over eight years.

Commercialization enables many people to participate in otherwise unaffordable recreational sports

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11 July 2016 17:01

MLB – Midseason Predictions

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Betting on baseball cards – Jul. 28, 2006

“This market has incredible potential,” he says. Take Cal Ripken Jr.’s 1982 Topps rookie card.

Steroids’ next victim: Baseball labor peace Top of page

Cards dating back to the turn of the 20th century that were produced as promotional items for ice cream, candy and tobacco companies are some of the hottest cards on the market right now, according to collectors.

Hope for future?

But many in the industry, like Madec, who is currently attending the National Sports Collectors Convention, is certain that is there is a future for this enduring hobby, despite its setbacks in recent years. “There’s always buyers and sellers for that material.”

But there is a lot of fickleness too, says Scott Kelnhofer, editor of Card Trade, the monthly trade journal for the sports collection industry

Even in good times, collecting is a tough hobby. In 1996, the year after Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s record for number of most consecutive games played, a card in mint condition that had not been professionally appraised would have sold for $90. But with Ripken’s achievement faded from the minds of collectors, that same ungraded card would only fetch $40 today.

Then there are the cards from the 1970s and 1980s, which predate the card explosion, that some experts like Kelnhofer say could experience the next wave of popularity.

Currently underway in Anaheim, Calif., the four-day event will not only be a place for collectors to haggle over the value of their Lou Gehrigs and Jackie Robinsons, there’s bound to be a few collectors who reflect on how the hobby took a nosedive during the 1990s.

Dealers like Stephen Dickler, who runs SD Trading, located just outside of Philadelphia, says moves such as this could work, but it’s too early to tell. But that was until the card companies tried to get in on the fun. (See the most valuable cards.)

Andy Madec, a dealer based in Camarillo, Calif., remembers that time vividly.

What’s hot now

Earlier this year, the Major League Baseball Players Association lent their assistance, cutting in half the number of licenses it offers to card manufacturers in an effort to rid the glut of new cards on the market.

The hobby looks like it has rebounded from the doldrums of the 90s, but is there money to be made in collecting Aarons and Ruths?

Rookie cards of players like Mickey Mantle, who typified the golden era of baseball, are always in high demand among older collectors.

And in June, Major League Baseball and the players’ association teamed up with card manufacturers Topps and Upper Deck to launch the first ever National Baseball Card Day, giving out 500,000 card packs at hobby shops and retailers nationwide in an effort to promote the hobby.

Best baseball books . “Investors just need to hear it’s safe to go back in.”

Even though the hobby struggles to bring young collectors into the fold, there have been some promising signs for baseball card collecting as of late.

“It just got too out of hand,” says Madec, who runs his own firm, Andy Madec Sports Cards Inc. “There’s no guarantee it will happen,” says Dickler. “The vintage market is still the place for people to get involved purely from an investment standpoint,” says Kelnhofer. Flooding the market with multiple versions of new cards, the manufacturers drove down card values.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Once a year, baseball-card collectors gather for the granddaddy of all sports collectible conventions – the National Sports Collectors Convention.

The market has been bouncing back, particularly vintage cards, those that date backs 25 years or more. “The questions are still out there as to whether it will have an impact or not.”

Up until the late 1980s and early 1990s, collectors were living in a golden age, says Madec – returns of 20 percent in just six months were not unheard of. “It turned people off.”

Most valuable cards

In fact, the fabled Honus Wagner card, which was produced by the Sweet Caporal Cigarette Company in 1909, is currently the most expensive card in existence, worth a cool $1.265 million. It boils down to a couple of simple principles — how many there are and what kind of condition the card is in.

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“It’s a tricky thing,” Kelnhofer says

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