Archive forJune, 2014

Patrick Hruby

According to an old political saw, you can always count on America to do the right thing, but only after it has tried everything else. The same holds true of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, albeit with one difference: Replace tried everything else with had a legal gun pressed to its head.

Case in point? Four-year athletic scholarships.

Earlier this week, the University of Southern California announced that it will offer four-year athletic scholarships to football and basketball players, as opposed to the one-year renewable deals that are the de facto NCAA standard — the same deals that lead to situations like former Rice University football player Joseph Agnew being cut from the schools team and losing about $35,000 in academic funding prior to his senior year because a new coach gave his scholarship to an incoming recruit. Meanwhile, Pac-12 and Big Ten conference school presidents are publicly supporting greater benefits for college athletes, including cost-of-living stipends, better medical coverage and — you guessed it — four-year guaranteed athletic scholarships.

Why the sudden magnanimity? School officials would have you believe that its simply the right thing to do — or, as USC athletic director Pat Haden put it in a press release, an effort to refocus on student-athlete welfare on and off the field.

Hogwash. Dont be fooled. The only reason campus power brokers are falling over themselves to cut athletes a slightly bigger slice of a multibillion-dollar pie lies in an Oakland, Calif. courtroom. The ongoing antitrust trial pitting former University of California, Los Angeles basketball star Ed OBannon against the NCAA threatens to upend the entire amateurism-based business model of major college sports — the model in which schools enjoy absolute economic control while purporting to protect athletes from commercialization. Former NCAA president Walter Byers, the systems chief architect, summed it up as follows:

the college player cannot sell his own feet (the coach does that) nor can he sell his own name (the college will do that). This is the plantation mentality resurrected and blessed by todays campus executives

Campus executives are not primarily concerned with athlete welfare. They are primarily concerned with power, money and keeping a good thing (for them) going. In OBannons case — along with a bid by Northwestern University football players to unionize and other pending antitrust suits against the NCAA and the major conferences — athletes are demanding an end to amateurism and the freedom to negotiate for a larger chunk of the revenue their sweat and dedication largely creates. The schools would rather hold the line. If four-year scholarships and other cookie crumbs can act as a sop — a way to convince federal judges, nosy lawmakers and the public at large that athletes get plenty and dont deserve to ask for more — then so be it. Better to give a little than to lose everything.

Unconvinced? A history lesson is in order. Once upon a time, athletic scholarships of any type were barred by the NCAA. (Because amateurism!) The result was a thriving underground economy: College athletes with valuable skills were paid accordingly via cash, loans, make-work jobs and need-based aid that had little to do with financial circumstances and much to do with how fast an athlete could run and how high they could jump. In response, in 1956, the NCAA adopted athletic scholarships covering room, board, tuition, books, fees and $15 a month for laundry. Athletes could now be paid by their schools, but only in a standardized manner. Oh, and the scholarships were guaranteed for four years regardless of injury or athletes quitting — not because of any inherent generosity, but because NCAA attorneys were worried that if scholarships were viewed as pay-for-play instead of educational gifts, member schools might be exposed to workers compensation claims.

Enter the late 1960s. NCAA members were increasingly frustrated. Downright upset. Some athletes were quitting sports, yet continuing their studies on their schools dimes. The nerve. One college athletic director wrote a letter to Byers arguing that this was morally wrong and that regardless of what anyone says, this is a contract and it is a two-way street. In 1973, NCAA schools voted to eliminate four-year scholarships outright. Even schools that wanted to guarantee four years of education would no longer be allowed to do so.

According to Byers, the vote took 90 seconds.

For the next three decades, athletic scholarships were performance-based contracts, reviewable and renewable on a year-to-year basis. Not coincidentally, the change strengthened the hand of coaches and school administrators. You know why they do one-year renewable scholarships? former NFL and Syracuse University player and union advocate Dave Meggyesy once told me. Because back in the early 1970s, the sh** was hitting the fan. There were a number of athlete protests, including Syracuse, Oregon and Washington — black athlete protests following [Tommie] Smith and [John] Carlos raising their fists at the [1968] Olympics. One of the responses for the NCAA was to change the four-year grant-in-aid to a one-year renewable, to give the coaches a hammer over any scholarship ballplayer who would think about acting out. It was just a measure of control.

Even if their grades were in order, athletes such as Agnew could be cut for any reason. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Agnew himself filed a lawsuit against the NCAA in 2010, alleging that the associations 1973 multiyear-scholarship ban violated antirust law by denying him the opportunity to bargain among the schools that had recruited him for the best possible deal. His case was dismissed on a legal technicality.

Still, another shift was underway. A few months before Agnew filed suit, attorneys from the Department of Justices antitrust division met with the NCAA. As Pulitzer Prize-winning civil rights historian Taylor Branch has reported, they had a simple question:

What possible educational rationale was there for allowing the NCAA — an organization that did not itself pay for scholarships — to impose a blanket restriction on the length of scholarships offered by colleges?

By August of 2011, the NCAAs Division I board of directors again reversed course, moving to permit multiyear scholarships. Pushback among the associations purportedly pro-education member schools was fierce: Just five months later, 62.12 percent of the NCAAs 330 Division I institutions voted to kill the new rule, falling just short of a required 62.5 percent override threshold.

Grudging resentment continues to reign. According to a report last year in The Chronicle of Higher Education, many college athletic administrators are less than thrilled with the change. Some schools refuse to give multiyear scholarships. Others hand them sparingly.

Related Articles

  • The NCAA Hutz-O-Meter

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New Senate Bill Will Erase Your Student Loans – But Only If You Declare …

On Wednesday Democratic Senator Tom Harkin unveiled his new Higher Education Affordability Act, with a number of key provisions aimed at helping young people afford a college education. One  major aspect of this legislation has been part of the Democratic agenda for years – changing bankruptcy laws so that individuals filing for bankruptcy can erase their student loans.

A 2005 Republican backed law makes it practically impossible for individuals to ever get off from paying back their student loans, even in the instance of filing for bankruptcy. The only other debts that cant be voided by bankruptcy are child support payments and back taxes.

“As far as bankruptcy policy the vast majority of student loans are federal loans, and private loans typically make up a similarly small percentage of debt for the students who take them,” Jill Kozeny, communications director for Senator Chuck Grassley, who sponsored the 2005 bill, said in an interview with the Huffington Post. So even if waiving financial obligations was an appropriate response to student indebtedness, doing so in this case would have little impact on the overall student loan debt problem.”

With the Democrats bill, federal student loans, just like all money owed the federal government, cannot be forgiven by bankruptcy, but private student loans, which make up about 15 percent of the existing student debt, would be erased in instances of bankruptcy.

While the vast majority of students carry federal student loans, these loans have a number of repayment options, such as income based repayment, and eventually forgiveness after a set number of years, making it easier for student to pay them back. Private loans often dont offer this kind of flexibility, a serious problem considering young people with private student loans on average have a higher amount of debt. 

Loan forgiveness for bankruptcy is only one piece of the higher education bill being floated by the Democrats. The legislation also calls for the creation of a federal-state partnership to lower costs at public universities to make tuition more affordable, added investment in community colleges and dual enrollment programs for high school students, and allowing Pell Grants to be awarded year round, so students can get their degrees faster, thus saving money.

This legislation will likely come up for a vote before Congress goes out for their summer recess in August. The Republicans own legislation to make higher education affordable practically ignores the problems of private loans, and focuses largely on education programs to teach young people about the burden of student loan debt before taking out loans.

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Fox Valley dealer introduces reward program to assist drivers with bad credit

APPLETON, Wis., June 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Over 25 years ago, Car Credit Center, a division of Les Stumpf Ford, focused all of its efforts on assisting drivers to rebuild their failing credit situation. The dealer has come to the realization that rebuilding bad credit is impossible without a job, which is difficult to come by without reliable transportationa challenging purchase for those with bad credit.

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To solve this paradox, Car Credit Center pledges to work even harder than any of the competing businesses within the area, because its paramount goal is to not only help drivers find a vehicle now, but also establish credit for the future.

In order to help motivate drivers and maintain responsibility of their weekly payments, Car Credit Center has introduced its On-time Rewards Program. Further instilling the importance of meeting deadlines each week, the dealer plans to reward drivers with $15 each time payments are made on time. Drivers are able to accrue up to $500 worth of credit which can be used towards the purchase of a future vehicle at Car Credit Center.

Once the entire account has been paid in full and the drivers credit standing has improved, the $500 credit may also be used at the Les Stumpf Ford dealership. Depending on the financial improvements drivers make, they will additionally become eligible for free routine and mechanical services.

Individuals hoping to improve their credit standing are invited to visit either of the Car Credit Center locations in Appleton or Oshkosh, Wis. Pre-approval and frequently asked questions are available to be reviewed on the dealers website at

Media Contact: Dale Stalewski, Car Credit Center, 920-731-9225,

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach:

SOURCE Car Credit Center


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Trusted Mortgage and Refinance Companies Provide Lower Interest Rates and …

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) June 23, 2014

Americas favorite lending resource has helped thousands of applicants find approval for a loan through the expansion of their lending network. Loan shoppers who have found easy approval include those with bad credit history or who have been turned down in the past. – 60 second application form.

Complete Home Loans has developed a unique online application system that connects their applicants to lenders based upon credit history and credit score. Not only does this save shoppers time in finding a trusted lender but it saves them the headache of shopping for a lender that will be able to get them approved at the best interest rate.

Shoppers are also encouraged to check their credit score after applying for a home loan. The popular lending resource has an easy to use credit score tool that consumers can take advantage of to find out their credit score before finalizing their home loan provider.

About Complete Home Loans

The Home purchase, equity, and refinancing loan company services customers across America no matter their credit history. They specialize in matching people with good, bad, or no credit to lenders who may be able to qualify them for a home loan. Their network of lenders is the largest in the United States and offers low interest financing to home owners or shoppers.

People who’ve been turned down in the past are able to use their easy online application form to instantly get approved for a loan (no matter their credit history).

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‘A pimp in the family’

Mariah Tsosie* needed cash. She worked 32 hours per week for $11 an hour, but her ex-husband often failed to send child support, and Tsosie, who has three kids, fell behind on her bills. She lacked credit cards, and her friends and family were as strapped as she was.

But there were other options in Farmington, New Mexico, where she lived on the edge of the Navajo Nation: Dozens of modest storefronts emblazoned with colorful, beckoning signs – FastBucks, Quik Cash or Check N Go. These so-called payday lenders offer payday, short-term installment, car title or tax refund anticipation loans to tide folks over until their next paycheck.

Tsosie picked Cash Loans Now, where friendly staffers assured her that a $200 installment loan would cost her just a few dollars per day. A couple weeks later, she made the first of 25 biweekly payments of $90 each. Thanks to an annualized interest rate of 1,147 percent, about 100 times the average credit card rate, eventually she would have forked out $2,360 – nearly one-tenth of her yearly earnings – just for a tank of gas and some groceries.

Tsosies plight is common, and so are her extreme loan terms. Finance regulations have deteriorated over the past three decades, and the small-loan industry thrives during tough economic times. Storefronts cluster in areas where traditional banks are few and the working poor are plentiful. And reservation border towns have become a gold mine: Farmington, with just 46,000 people, has 55 active small-loan licenses, outnumbering its fast-food joints; Gallup, New Mexico, has 46, about 40 times the national per capita concentration. Residents of Montanas Native counties took out refund anticipation loans – which target those who are eligible for low-income federal tax credits – at a rate three-and-a-half times that of non-Indian counties; in North Dakota, the ratio was 12:1. Nearly 60 percent of Native Americans use alternative financial services, including payday-type loans, compared to 38 percent of whites.

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Two years after fraud charges and bankruptcy filing, signs of once-thriving …

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama When Adams Produce Company closed and filed for bankruptcy on April 27, 2012, the more than century-old Birmingham business owed three weeks back pay to more than 400 employees in four states.

It also owed about $16 million to vendors, creditors and produce suppliers.

The company blamed market pressures for the companys financial collapse. Thin margins on which Adams Produce operated in 2010, when the Adams family sold the company to investors, continued to decline through early 2012 and the company fell behind on payments to its vendors, the company stated in its bankruptcy filing.

The company also was facing lawsuits at the time. One from a rival produce company saying Adams owed them more than $800,000. Another that wouldnt be revealed publicly for more than year alleged Adams had been involved in billing fraud on government contracts.

When Adams Produce filed for bankruptcy, the government immediately cancelled a contract it had just awarded for fruits and vegetables, potentially worth $41 million over four-and-a-half years.

Two years after Adams Produce closed, very few signs are left around Birmingham of the company that was once a major supplier of fruits and vegetables in the city. The bankruptcy case was settled with many creditors only getting pennies on the dollar. Five former Adams Produce officials are serving sentences after pleading guilty related to a 2011 scheme to overcharge the government by $481,000 on contracts for fruits and vegetables. Charges against two others are pending.

The company was family-owned for generations, but brought in outside managers a few years before the bankruptcy, selling ownership stakes in 2010 to Chief Executive Scott Grinstead, Chief Financial Officer Steve Alexander, Chief Operating Officer Steve Finberg and Dallas-based investment firm CIC Partners.

Last week Finberg was arraigned in federal court on a 33-count indictment one count of conspiracy and 32 counts of wire fraud.

Finberg, of Texas, pleaded not guilty to the charges before Chief US Magistrate Judge John Ott and was released on $25,000 bond. He was ordered not to travel outside north Alabama or the western district of Texas – where he lives unless given permission by federal probation officers.

Finbergs attorney, John Lentine has called the prosecution a witch hunt. He said Finberg had little to do with the financial operations of the company and believes he is the last to be indicted in the nearly two-year investigation.

Assistant US Attorney George Martin said earlier this year that the investigation was continuing. But since Finbergs, and former Chief Financial Officer John Alexanders, indictments in the past seven weeks, Martin has declined comment on the status of the investigation.

Charges against Finberg and the others involve allegations that top executives at Adams Produce in 2011 submitted false information to the government on contracts for fruits and vegetable to make it appear Adams Produce was paying more for the fruit it obtained. The governments payments to Adams were based in part on what the produce cost Adams.

What happened to the employees after Adams Produce declared bankruptcy?

Brian Walding, attorney representing the Ad Hoc Committee of Non-Insider Employees in Adams Produces bankruptcy, said a year later employees got their back pay at around 95 cents on the dollar, which was better than other creditors.

Grinstead, under the terms of his plea agreement, is to pay $450,000 in restitution to the bankruptcy estate of Adams Produce for the benefit of the companys employees who were not fully paid because of Adams abrupt closing and its filing for bankruptcy last year.

While the employees eventually got much of their money due them, the companys closing devastated employees, Walding said.

One former employee committed suicide, Walding said. Another was having a baby at the time and lost his health insurance. Workers were scrambling to make utility and rent payments and to put food on the tables for their families, he said.

Efforts to reach several of the employees for comment were unsuccessful.Two Adams family members declined comment for the story.

To read more stories about Adams Produce go here.

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Rail Fare Hike Difficult But Correct Decision, Says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: Defending the steep hike in rail fare and freight rates as a difficult but correct decision, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the Railways can survive only if users pay for availing of facilities.

The passenger services have been subsidised by the freight traffic. In recent years, even freight fares have come under pressure, he said in his first reaction to the 14.2 per cent increase in passenger fares and 6.5 per cent hike in freight rates.

Stating that the choice before the government was to allow the railways to bleed and eventually walk into a debt trap or raise fares, Jaitley said, India must decide whether it wants a world-class Railway or a ramshackled one.

The railway minister has taken a difficult but a correct decision…The Indian Railways for the last few years have been running at a loss. The only way that Railways can survive is when users pay for the facilities that they avail.

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Tech-Know: The Three Unsung Heroes Of Technology Business Finance

There is a lot of finance information readily available for technology businesses, covering topics like start-up investment, funding platforms and financial planning.

However, there are other finance points that technology businesses should be aware of.

Carl Hasty, Director of international money transfer specialist Smart Currency Business, offers three finance tips:

1. Ensuring a Healthy Cash flow

Technology businesses move in a fast-paced world. As such, you need to ensure that you have got a steady cash flow to fund your expenses – this is applicable whether you have low or high overhead costs.

Make sure that your invoices are properly set out to encourage prompt payment – this should include a deadline, as well as penalties for late payment. You may also want to consider invoice finance, a form of funding that advances cash from unpaid invoices for immediate use.

2. How to Price Products and Services

Pricing is tricky, whether you’re selling products or services. Apple customers, for example, aren’t just paying for products; they’ve also bought into the culture crafted by the company.

Rather than set prices based on costs plus a desired profit, consider pricing based on the value of your products and services. This way, you’ll be charging your customers what they’d be happy to pay.

3. Saving On Currency Costs

Whether you’re importing raw materials or exporting the latest technological solutions, currency costs can eat into your profits. Businesses with international payments can save money and minimise risk by securing a currency-buying strategy in advance.

Opting to set favourable currency rates in advance can help protect businesses against rate fluctuations later on, and allows them to budget in advance.

Interesting? If so please COMMENT BELOW Like, Tweet and +1 it to your friends!!

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10 Ways to Keep Your Company’s Cash Flow Alive

Most people who have never had businesses of their own think that owning a business automatically means you have dough.

Sure, you can get the check because you can just write if off.Seriously?

Do these people understand that having a business is the most delicate balancing act of cash management that anyone can probably undertake? The cash we all have is as precious as air itself and writing things off does not mean free money.

Related:Ignore that Accounting Problem — At Your Own Risk

When I was in school getting my MBA professors would say, cash is king (as religiously as I tell my children to wash their hands) consistently and with purpose.

I was paying attention at school but never really understood the seriousness of this message until cash in my first business became more than king. It became air. Without it we were going to die.

I remember going to my accountant and saying, This year end looks awesome! We made some good money, eh? But, where is all the cash?

She replied, Well, those financial statements show what we did but there is no cash, and actually we need $600,000 by Friday.

(Insert your own unmentionable phrase here.)

I knew how to read financial statements and my MBA brain had become too caught up in what they said to be paying attention to the cash. And truthfully I knew the cash was running out and I was kind of avoiding asking any questions because I did not want to address this. Ignorance is blissor so they say. Thats until ignorance takes the shape of a six-figure number and then the ignorance made me sick to my stomach and run for the closest wastepaper basket.

So, here is what I know about cash flowfrom havinglearned things the hard way:

Related:My Biggest Mistake: Not Closely Examining the Numbers

1. Always, always, always know how much cash you have in your account.

2. Take that cash-in-your-account number and subtract all the payments that you have placed in the mail. That represents the cash or checks inside envelopes traveling to their rightful owners by way of a lovely postman or -mistress.

3. Figure out your burn rate. This is how much money it costs to keep your business running each month. Keep this number as close to very low as you can. Map out your monthlyexpenses on a calendar.

4. Never assume you are going to get paid when you think you will. Add at least a two-week buffer to the expectedreceipt of earned revenue.

5. Invest interest-free when you can in building your business. Try to grow organically when possible.

6.If you must borrow funds, work with a lender with whomyou can speak face-to-face with the decision-maker on your file. You might need to rely on a good relationship one day.

7.Ask for terms on everything. Stretch out your money to build your business. Hold on to it for as long as you can.

8. Ask for prepayment and retainers from clientswhenever you can. Use clientmoney to build your business.

9.Balance sheets (or BS) stand for bull s***when youre in a cash crunch. Income statements can be called imaginary statistics when the cash runs out.Stop listening to your financial statements alone to measure your business health. Look at your cash as well — and often.

10.Cash is like a tide: It goes out and in, and out and in. Do not panic when it is out, but understand well how and when it will come back in. And always be conservative. It might be a full-moon kind of month when forces outside your control keep the flow out for longer than usual.

Related:10 Questions to Ask When Working With an Accountant

Because it is so personal,cash is something we seldom talk about.But its a topic close to the heart of almost every entrepreneur — someonewho probably has experienced thatoverwhelmingfeeling of being short of cash. I would never wish this feeling on anyone.

The truth is that when someone isworried about the cash position of a business, he or she isnot working on the business. The entrepreneur becomes distracted and acts from a place of lacking and fear — and this is never, ever good.

When I am in the flow of my work, my business and what I do to add value to peoples lives, then the cash flows, too. When I am engulfed in fear, nothing works nearly as well and the flow stops altogether.

So if you are ignoring your finances,this is permission to be fearful and to want to do nothing. But pull up your socks and get to the truth of it. Trust me, you and your business will be better for it — no matter what you find.

Related:Keep an Eye on Your Commercial Loans

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Central Banks’ Finance Tomes Have Ways to Make You Richer

Bank of England policy maker Andrew Haldane recently described Thomas Piketty’s bestseller on income
inequality as “read by a few and understood by even fewer.”

The same arch comment can be made of the reports on
financial stability that central bankers like Haldane regularly
publish. Certainly in the years before 2008 one could imagine
them gathering more dust than readers during the boom times.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and
subsequent financial crisis changed all that by showing central
banks that stability in prices doesn’t translate into stability
in finance. Accordingly, the BOE, Federal Reserve, European
Central Bank and others all have been handed new powers to
regulate or monitor financial companies and markets, while also
increasing their communications on the topic.

In that spirit, Governor Mark Carney will next week use the
release of the Bank of England’s Financial Stability Report to
detail plans he may have for cooling the UK housing market.
The Swiss National Bank published its report today, calling on
the UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG to further boost their
leverage ratios.

Investors would be wise to pay attention if new research by
economists Benjamin Born at the University of Mannheim, the Bank
of Canada’s Michael Ehrmann and Marcel Fratzscher at the
Deutsches Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung is correct.

Market Moves

It shows central banks’ reports on financial stability can
move equity markets by more than 1 percent over the following
month and also reduce market volatility.

That is based on an analysis of 1,000 such reports and
related speeches by 37 monetary authorities over the past 14

The effect tends to be particularly “significant and
potentially long lasting” if the review contains an optimistic
assessment of the state of the financial industry, the
economists said in their study, which was published this month
in the Economic Journal of the UK’s Royal Economic Society.

The data leave the authors advising central banks to speak
carefully in expressing their thoughts for fear of roiling
markets now more focused on their musings than ever before.

The findings underline “communication by monetary
authorities on financial stability can influence financial
market developments, but that it needs to be employed with
utmost care, stressing the difficulty of designing a successful
communication strategy on financial stability,” they said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Simon Kennedy in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Craig Stirling at
James Hertling, Zoe Schneeweiss

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