Yes, March Madness Exploits Me. No, I Won’t Ignore It.
Jim Cavan

First off, thanks for the kind words.

I’m not sure I can go back and change my central thesis, or at least your perception of it, but I think we’ve got two points of contention. One of them is over just how unwitting our participation in the NCAA machine really is. One could go so far as to suggest that the NCAA goes out of its way to manipulate us into caring less than we should. I think the former is a matter of degrees and the latter is best left to either crack reporters or conspiracy theorists.

The other issue is whether ambivalence is a viable moral position. I have no problem with people who enjoy the tournament while, on some level, remaining wary of it. That’s how most people are with a lot of things in their lives. And asking for change as an outsider means far less than it does when it comes for people who care about the matter at hand. I don’t think is a question of full-on hypocrisy—it’s not like you ARE the NCAA while campaigning against it. But if you do want to play some active role in seeking reform, where is that line? What exactly does the action look like that will change college sports? How do you as a fan fit into it?

To me, this ambivalence will be tested soon. And presumably, you’ll be part of the reason it has to resolve itself. As I said earlier, at some point, the world being ready to change means nothing until it actually does; all our noble feelings on the subject, or even a widespread opposition to the current state of college sports, is only so much potential until we see that action take place that manifests change. Right now we have no idea what that will be—or what your role will be in it. I’m not telling you to shed your ambivalence. I’m hoping we’ll soon find ourselves at a place where it will naturally fall away and then, hopefully, swing back all the way in the other direction.