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The highest paid individual in the federal government is not the President of the United States or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the head of the FDA or the person who authenticates the launch codes in case of nuclear war. No. The highest paid person in the federal government is the coach of the Army football team. This hints at the importance of sports to the American people, especially college sports.
The NCAA was founded in 1905 to establish safety guidelines and scheduling for college football, but over the years has evolved into a behemoth with the noble sounding goal of "promoting excellence in both sports and academics" and billions of dollars of revenue of which athletes get a very tiny fraction. The secrecy and the size of the NCAA intimidates or confuses many pundits and journalists, but to economists like Brian Goff, the NCAA's behavior is wholly predictable and consistent with the behavior of cartels.
Dr. Goff and his co-authors wrote an excellent and revealing book 'The NCAA: A Study in Cartel Behavior" and he was kind enough to speak with about it and some of his other research. I hope you enjoy.
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It's good to talk.