For many decades, baseball had a reserve clause, which essentially tied a baseball player to a franchise in perpetuity. The statute fell into legal jeopardy, and a few wise men amongst the owners said, maybe we ought to toss these players a bone, before we blow the whole scam.
But the owners were arrogant and stood pat, and, soon enough, the reserve clause, kit and caboodle, was outlawed as, essentially, un-American.
So, now, let's send a telegram to the NCAA –– which stands for 19th Century Athletic Aristocracy –– and let's text all college presidents: Now you're in about the same place with regard to the antediluvian concept that college football and basketball players should not be paid.
History, as the baseball owners learned in 1975, is simply not on your side anymore. Sometimes –– the issue of gay marriage seems like a perfect current analogy –– cultural attitudes and the law suddenly shift.
Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on the issue.
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.