Amateurism began as a myth, concocted by snooty English aristocrats who didn't want to dirty their hands -- let alone get their keisters kicked -- by competing against working-class opponents. It persists as a way to keep athletic departments rich while student-athletes rely on under-the-table booster handouts -- handouts that would be legal in any other context.

Since when is it a crime to accept a bill-stuffed envelope from someone dumb enough to give it to you?

Law students intern at local firms. Accounting majors work at banks. Physical education students appear in Playboy's "Girls of the Pac-10" issue. Athletes get the shaft. In a 1995 book, former NCAA executive director Walter Byers wrote that amateurism in college sports amounted to "economic tyranny." We couldn't agree more.

The NBA's 10-Foot Rim and 94-Foot Floor
The court never changes. It's the same size we played on as YBA punks, baggy socks flapping about our ankles. Heck, it's the same size played on by James Naismith's kids.

This makes no sense.

The game has evolved. Like the Six Million Dollar Man, players are bigger, stronger, faster … and worth a heck of a lot more than $6 million. So expand the surface, raise the rim, restore flow to a game stuck in the mud. Make a dunk something special again.

Second Serves in Tennis
"Oops, sorry. I fully intended to put that one over the net and into the box. How about a do-over?"

NBA … Everything
Five more dumb NBA rules that need fixing:

• Being able to call a timeout while airborne and going out of bounds. How can you have possession when you're not touching anything? Shouldn't you be required to have one foot on the ground?

• Being able to call a timeout right after a timeout. How is this fan-friendly? Would the producers of "24" decide to triple the amount of commercials right before the climactic scene of every show? Seriously, how long does a coach need to talk to his players, half of whom are thinking about things like, "Where are we going after the game?" and "Is that girl in the third row checking me out?"

• Players being required to keep their jerseys tucked in during games. Call off the fashion police. You can learn a lot about players' motivation and character by whether they tuck in their shirt or not. Take Eddy Curry -- he definitely would keep his jersey hanging out if he had the choice. Same with Jerome James.

• Technical fouls not counting as personal fouls. Why not? They should. If players could foul out on technicals, they wouldn't complain to the referees as much. Well, except Rasheed Wallace.

• The nearest offensive player getting credit when a defender tips in a shot. Uh-uh. Basketball should track own goals, like soccer. What fan wouldn't want to know who leads the league in own goals at the end of each season? Over the last eight years, for instance, we have a sneaking suspicion it would have been Shawn Bradley. But there's only one way to make sure.

The Ground Can't Cause a Fumble in Football
Bull! Did the guy hold onto the ball or not?


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