The story goes that the seeds of the NCAA began in 1905 when a Harvard football player named Ted Roosevelt broke his nose and told his father, who happened to be the U.S. president. What followed was the formation of an association to “protect young people from the dangerous and exploitive athletics practices of the time.”
At the time, “dangerous and exploitive” practices referred to annoyances like gang tackling. Nobody had yet considered the concept of coaches covering up rules violations (and their own backsides); bowl officials violating election laws and skimming from the till; university presidents approving expanded football seasons and selling their souls to television executives while paying lip service to academics; recruits being romanced by bags of money or a line of coeds (or if they’re really good, both).
Danger and exploitation now define the landscape.