The NCAA is having a crisis. It’s a crisis to remain relevant. It’s a crisis to try to maintain some sort of moral high ground. Most importantly, it’s a crisis to maintain its tax-free status. If you haven’t been paying attention, there’s been scandal after scandal at NCAA member institutions. And not just the usual rogues’ gallery of SEC schools. Some of the programs that the NCAA (and sympathetic media) have anointed as the purest of the pure have been exposed as being just as dirty as the rest of the schools. From the Sandusky situation at Penn State, to the fake, pseudo classes at North Carolina to the potential problems at Duke University, it’s epidemic among the most virtuous of colleges. But what can the NCAA do to maintain some level of relevancy.
The first thing that needs to happen is the NCAA needs to focus on being fair and equitable. As many critics of the NCAA have noted, the NCAA’s enforcement branch is arbitrary and unfair. As the entity charged with keeping law and order among big time, big money schools, this is absolutely critical. There needs to be agreed to, written laws that carry specific penalties. The NCAA likes to tout that each case is different, but I disagree. In the real world, if you’re caught speeding, it shouldn’t matter if you’re driving a Mercedes Benz or a Hyundai. If you’re caught, you’re caught. From what most people would say about the NCAA Infractions Committee, the most important thing is who you are and not what you’ve done.
The NCAA needs to hire more investigators and more compliance officers. Instead of depending on journalists to do the investigating of member schools or lucking into a federal or state investigation to provide information, the NCAA needs to be much more proactive. There should be boots on the ground, working with the schools to ensure compliance on rules. Going back to my previous point, if the rules were more fair, I think that schools would be more apt to work WITH the NCAA instead of working so hard to cover up wrongdoing.