In this persuasive and well-researched discussion, Fernandez makes his case methodically, focusing first on corrupt practices in the business world and following with his perspective on abuses and inequities he perceives in college sports.

JORDANA LANDSMAN
The US Review of Books

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR AFTER THE BOOK WAS PUBLISHED:

The NCAA president and Board of Governors appointed a working group to examine issues highlighted in recently proposed federal and state legislation related to student-athlete name, image and likeness, but the group’s work will not result in paying students as employees.

The book author advocates pay-for-play, and recommends a method to calculate compensation for playing time for basketball and football players.

About the Book

 

The company I was working for in the 1980s engaged in some accounting manipulations. They did some wrongful padding concocted at the New York headquarters for booking at several subsidiary accounting centers, including the one where I was employed as Assistant Group Controller. The company books were audited for one of the largest CPAs firms in USA.

That was one of the many manifestations of human nature shortcomings that came to my attention.

At that time, I became aware of some wrongdoings taking place in college athletics.

I drew a parallel in my mind between what I thought of as “fouling” in business and “fouling” in college athletics.

My interest in these subjects continued in the more than three decades that I, and the public in general, knew of unabated wrongdoings that plague the worlds of businesses and college athletics. 

Greed in businesses made executives to break the accounting rules to obtain monetary advantages. Many of them were caught and faced several levels of punishment, including prison terms. This is the subject matter of Part I of this book. Laws have been enacted by Congress, and the Enforcement Division of the Security and Exchange Commission has a watchdog role representing improvements to our days.

Greed in college athletics is manifested in an environment that became big business, particularly in college basketball and football programs. This is the subject matter for Part II. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) is the organization regulating all the college sport programs. In basketball and football the NCAA has perpetuated a system that rewards monetary riches to coaches and their staffs, and to the NCAA president and his staff. The student players are the producers of all those riches, but they are confined to what is allowed to them in benefits as amateurs. It is an inequity that is highly criticized as unfair. The NCAA has introduced some improvements in recent years, but pay-for-play have been ignore. I present in my book a pay-for-play calculation method that is fair to the student athletes and, that me as a number person, consider easy to implement. It’s time for the NCAA to be fair and square in the college athletic business.

My interest in these subjects continued in the more than three decades that I, and the public in general, knew of unabated wrongdoings that plague the worlds of businesses and college athletics.

About the Author

 

Gonzalo Fernández has been a financial and accounting executive in both Fortune sized companies as well as growth businesses. He spent 17 years at ITT Corporation.

He started with ITT in 1969 as a senior operational auditor based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, mostly in the telecom manufacturing business in Buenos Aires, with occasional assignments at ITT subsidiaries in Brazil and Chile. In Buenos Aires he also audited the construction of a Sheraton Hotel and the offices of ITT South America headquarters.

After three years, Fernandez was transferred to the ITT headquarters in Ney York. Six month later he was promoted to assistant controller of a telecom manufacturing subsidiary in San Juan, and later on, in 1974, he was transferred to Raleigh, North Carolina, as vice president of a telecom manufacturing and a radio communications divisions.

From his business base in Raleigh, he also attended company meetings and had short assignments in Canada, Suriname, Brussels, Paris, London, and Taiwan.

After taking early retirement from ITT in 1983, he worked in financial management consulting, continuing as a partner with High Rock Partners, Inc. until retirement

Fernandez started his professional career after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Havana University, Cuba.

Fernandez worked for Procter & Gamble of Cuba, for ten years, in purchasing, internal audits and credit and collections. He resigned from P&G and joined another Cuban CPA, Jesús Vázquez, in a partnership office, where they grew this business of auditing and consulting to the point where it required twelve employees at its peak. Almost all our clients, as well as practically all other businesses, were confiscated by the Cuban government, pursuing the State ownership mandated by Fidel Castro. I was able to continue from an office at home, serving a company that was 50% confiscated, but the other 50% was owned by two Mexican brothers residing in Mexico City, the Havana Bureau of Agence France Presse, and the Jewish Community Association that had evaded confiscation.

He left Cuba for Spain with his wife and three children. I got a controller’s job for a subsidiary of Peavey Company in Madrid that had acquired 50% of businesses in animal feed mills and chicken farms, in a partnership with a Spaniard that retained the other 50% ownership. This joint venture did not worked out, and the Spaniard bought back Peavey’s 50% share. Peavey Company, at that time a low Fortune 500 company, transferred me to work in internal auditing, based at their headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. A year later I got hired by ITT Corporation.

Mr. Fernández is a coauthor of the “Handbook of Financing Growth”, Marks, Robbins, Fernández, Funkhouser and William, John Wiley and Sons, Inc, second edition, New Jersey, 2009. He wrote “Cuba’s Primer,” Lulu, 2009. He also wrote “Estados Financieros” (Financial Statements), UTEHA, México, third edition, 1977.

He is a Past President of the Raleigh Chapter, Institute of Management Accountants.

Available in Kindle and Paperback formats

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REVIEW

JORDANA LANDSMAN
The US Review of Books

 

“While the egregious history of ‘fouling’ in business resulted in eventual actions by Congress… it remains to be seen whether ‘fouling’ in college athletics will illicit the same results.”

During the decades of his distinguished business and accounting career, Fernandez noticed parallels between shady activities in corporate America and college athletics. He believes legal and ethical violations in both these big-money industries should be subject to revelation and reform. In this persuasive and well-researched discussion, Fernandez makes his case methodically, focusing first on corrupt practices in the business world and following with his perspective on abuses and inequities he perceives in college sports. In the business world, he notes positive progress, as misleading and unlawful accounting practices from prior decades have been addressed by tighter regulations. In college sports, however, Fernandez posits that abuses continue, with little collective will and no clear, respected oversight body poised to make effective near-term changes.

Particularly disturbing to Fernandez is the inequity he perceives in a college sports system that earns billions in broadcasting fees for games played by college athletes who are prohibited from receiving compensation. Coaches, universities, and broadcasters are enriched by the sponsorship fees and advertising, yet the students who are wearing the logos and playing the games go unpaid. This sustained and complex dialogue over the unpaid status of college athletes hardly begins or ends with this discussion, and the book’s position might have been enhanced by addressing and debunking the arguments from those who believe the integrity of sports and indeed the young athletes themselves are best protected under the current system. Still, Fernandez offers substantive observations and research to support what emerges as a dirty but unsurprising portrait of corruption by and for the power players of big business and college sports.