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How Mark Cuban Would Fix SMU (No, Not Like That)

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Speaking of local sports team owners, in the February issue of GQ, Mark Cuban sits down for a Q&A inside his Dallas office -- "a room filled with pictures: Cuban playing rugby; Cuban in front of his private plane; Cuban presenting an award to Don Nelson, the former Mavericks coach whom Cuban loved, then fired, then filed suit against for stealing 'inside information.'" Best part of the interview? When Cuban says he doesn't own the Mavs; we do. As in: "The biggest thing I've learned is that while I might have financial ownership, the city really owns the professional sports teams in this town."

That Cuban. Always saying the right things. He also weighs in on Redacted (basically, Bill O'Reilly is a bully and Brian De Palma is a pussy), HDNet ("Like, if I can make HDNet into a real network ... that's cool, right?") and aging gracefully ("I just want to be that guy who is 95 years old, who's out there playing tennis, getting 29-year-old girls pregnant ... or, um, getting my 85-year-old wife pregnant. You know?").

But the most interesting thing Cuban says, other than he would do Dancing With the Stars for the next 50 years if they let him, is his idea to turn the NCAA on its head.

In short, he would find four schools -- in this case Indiana, North Carolina, Duke and SMU -- and create "a conference that's sort of a Juilliard of sports." The way Cuban sees it, the NCAA is exploiting their student-athletes by making money off them but cutting those athletes out of their profits. Under his model, student-athletes would be paid.

"I’d say, “Okay, Indiana, North Carolina, Duke, and SMU: I’m going to give all your programs $100 million, plus $25 million a year to withdraw from the NCAA, and we’re going to pay athletes to play for these schools," he says. "We’re going to call it NBA 101; we’re going to bring in the best coaches. We’re going to emulate the best music schools across the world and apply it to what athletes want to do.” It’d be just like now, how you can go to IU to be the best musician you can be, and if you want to work for the New York Philharmonic in the summer and get paid for it, you can." --Jesse Hyde

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