Well, maybe the powers that be are listening after all. Mark Emme..."/>
Well, maybe the powers that be are listening after all. Mark Emme..."/>

NCAA Reform: Is It Time Yet?


Well, maybe the powers that be are listening after all. Mark Emmert and the Presidents from over 50 of the NCAA member institutions have decided that it is time to get off their collective haunches and make some changes. Smart move? It should be. The media is screaming for it, bloggers are screaming for it, even the fans are screaming for it. That’s enough right? This is America after all, and if we want to do something, we just get enough people and enough pressure and we apply as needed. Problem solved. Maybe, maybe not.

So, what would the NCAA have to do to make a show of good faith that this is not just a lot of posturing and hot air? Well, this is going to look at lot like the government at work here, because, try as he may, Mark Emmert is not going to accomplish thing one unless those University Presidents start to ante up. See, even though Emmert may propose all manner of reforms, the schools must actually decide if they want to implement those reforms. They will filter all of this stuff down to committees across the nation, and they will then decide which ideas actually merit their making them into NCAA By-Laws. And then there is the task of rewriting that monstrosity of a rulebook they have.

I have been one of the most critical writers of the NCAA, their practices, their inane approach to legislating the world of collegiate sports, and their complete lack of credibility in doing the job they are supposed to be doing. And I must admit, I am slow to buy into this new attitude they seem to have concerning making the changes necessary for their survival, but in the end, I believe that they have finally figured out that their ignorant approach to overseeing their affairs could be about to cost them money. Our own Coach John Calipari suggested that schools might need to look into leaving the NCAA, conference commissioners across the nation are proposing changing the world as we know it, Steve Spurrier has proposed even going so far as to actually pay the players for games, a concept that has Mark Emmert seething with anger. So what does he do? He proposes changes to the definition of a “scholarship”, he makes recommendations to “simplify” recruiting rules, and starts saying the things that we want to hear. The real question is if the Presidents want to hear it.

You see, no one wants to see the well dry up. No one wants to see the flood of money which has come into college athletics the last 20 years go away. So when people started suggesting things which threatened that revenue stream, the NCAA started to take notice. You see they have a history of losing when someone really pushes things to the limit. Ask Jerry Tarkanian. They practically destroyed him, so he decided to take them to court, and he won.

Can you imagine what would happen if a group of Colleges left the NCAA, then turned around and filed an anti-trust suit? The chances of winning would be slim, but the publicity and money it would cost the NCAA is unbelievable. The schools that are getting the money right now though do not want the gravy train to end, and they would be stupid not to share the wealth a little, just to avoid the stream being cut off altogether. And believe me, they can see the handwriting on the wall. Just look around at the new “Super Conferences” . The PAC-??? and the BIG-??? And now the SEC is getting ready to possibly do the same? Pretty soon the conferences are going to be big enough to handle things themselves, without the NCAA.

The list of questions that will need to be answered is longer than the Cumberland River, and there are no surefire answers to them at this point. But the one thing that everyone agrees with is that the system in it’s current state is broken. So that only leave three options, fit it, replace it, or live with it. All we need to know now is which option the University Presidents want to exercise.

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