SBD/Issue 5/Collegiate Sports

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  • Observers Say NCAA Likely To Replace Brand With School President

    NCAA Will Likely Look For
    Qualities Of Brand In Successor
    The NCAA Exec Committee in searching for the successor to late NCAA President Myles Brand is "likely to look for the same qualities -- persuasiveness, credibility and consensus-building -- that many say enabled Brand to lift the standing of an office that comes with little inherent power," according to Katie Thomas of the N.Y. TIMES. Brand was the first university president to lead the NCAA, and former Univ. of Tulsa President Robert Lawless, who chaired the search committee in '02 that selected Brand, and others said that the "trend is likely to continue because many of the same issues that were important in 2003 -- such as concerns over academic performance and the commercialization of college athletes -- still persist." IBAF President Harvey Schiller: "I don't think that they'll step back to the athletic director. The challenge that the NCAA faces is that they would try to focus on someone who has the mix of academic experience and also some specific experience in the intercollegiate athletics area." Ohio State Univ. President Gordon Gee added that he "would like to see another university president in the role." Some observers said that the NCAA Exec Committee is "likely to emphasize candidates with backgrounds in higher education over those from the corporate world, although the initial pool of candidates is expected to be diverse." Meanwhile, NCAA Dir of Public & Media Relations Erik Christianson said that the committee members are "scheduled to meet on Oct. 29 and have begun discussions." Until the committee names an interim president, the NCAA's "senior management team will oversee operations at the national office in Indianapolis" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). Univ. System of Maryland Chancellor and Knight Commission On Intercollegiate Athletics co-Chair Brit Kirwan said he believes the NCAA Exec Committee will "look especially hard for a university president." Kirwan: "The experience with Myles went very well. And given presidential control of the NCAA, there's a certain logic to having a university president in the position." But he added, "Knowing academics, I don't think anybody will want to draw a line in the sand and say it has to be a president" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/18).

    Adams Among Those Seen
    As Possible Successors
    LEADING CANDIDATES: In Atlanta, Marshaun Simon notes Univ. of Georgia President Michael Adams "sits atop a short list of potential replacements" that includes Univ. of Hartford President Walter Harrison and NCAA Exec VP/Governance & Membership Bernard Franklin. Harrison formerly served as NCAA Exec Committee Chair and is "in charge of the Division I committee on academic performance -- the group that handles two of Brand's biggest contributions to measuring how athletes perform in the classroom," the Academic Progress Report (APR) and Graduation Success Rate (GSR). Franklin previously served as President at four colleges, the "largest being" Virginia Union Univ. (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/18). In Detroit, Robin Erb reports Univ. of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman Thursday "brushed aside speculation" that she could replace Brand. Coleman has served on the NCAA BOD, as well as the BOD of the Knight Commission  (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/18).

    JOB REQUIREMENTS: The Chicago Tribune's Shannon Ryan wrote Brand's successor "had better be willing to march [the NCAA] down unpopular roads if and when necessary to take the organization to new heights." Brand "often made decisions that didn’t always go over well but always seemed to have his well-meaning objective at heart," and his successor "should continue to enforce institutions of learning to extend that mission to the men and women who play sports at their schools." The Hartford Courant's Paul Doyle wrote the BCS "demands the attention of the next NCAA president, who needs to become the face of the campaign for some sort of playoff system." Doyle: "It won’t be easy, since BCS schools are happy with the system and the revenue involved. ... But if the next NCAA president is vocal in supporting a playoff system, the anti-BCS crowd will have an important ally." Meanwhile, the L.A. Times' Chris Dufresne wrote there is an "issue of urgency facing the next NCAA president: the eroding apparatus of rules enforcement." Dufresne: "With news media budgets evaporating, the under-staffed NCAA can no longer rely heavily on newspapers to do its investigative work" (LATIMES.com, 9/17).

    LASTING LEGACY: ESPN.com's Andy Katz wrote Brand "did change the way the NCAA should be viewed." Katz: "More than any other previous president, Brand reached out to the members and their coaches, telling his staff to make sure they opened up more lines of communication to cast away the curtain that had been shrouding the national headquarters." Harrison said Brand "always put intercollegiate athletics in the right perspective, whether that's for students, coaches, fans or faculty." NCAA VP/Senior Advisor to the President Wally Renfro said Brand "changed the way we talk about intercollegiate athletics." Renfro: "We talk about the collegiate model of sports and the uniqueness of that. He caused people to think about it in relationship to higher education more than in relationship to professional sports." Katz wrote there is "too much at stake for a strictly 'sports person' to take over the organization and deal with everything from contracts to student welfare to Congress," and the next president "needs to be someone who has proved him- or herself in the higher education world" (ESPN.com, 9/17). In Houston, Jerome Solomon writes, "Hopefully, Brand will be remembered as the man who put into action a plan that held up the novel idea that college athletes should be required to go to college." Brand helped introduce the APR and GSR in '05, which provided "clear measures of athletes' academic performances, and resulting punishment that are the ultimate incentives for schools to live up to their stated missions" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/18). UCF Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport Dir Richard Lapchick, in a special to ESPN.com, wrote Brand was a "philosopher who will be remembered for his eloquence and for his fight for justice in sport, especially regarding graduation rates, gender equity, and diversity and inclusion" (ESPN.com, 9/17).

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  • Tranghese Says Memphis Role Not A Sign School Will Join Big East

    Tranghese Says He's Just Evaluating
    Memphis' Athletic Program
    Former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese Thursday insisted that there is "nothing to the speculation" that his new role as a consultant for the Univ. of Memphis (UM) will lead to the school joining the conference, according to Tom Luicci of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Tranghese said, "All I'm doing is evaluating their athletic program. People are making something out of nothing. My agreement with Memphis is to evaluate their athletic department and to make recommendations to improve their position if there is an opportunity (to join a BCS conference) in the future." He added that if there were a "school on the landscape that made sense as the ninth Big East football team that it would probably have been added to the league by now." Tranghese said his consultant job is "more positioning for the future, because you never know what's going to happen down the road."  He added, "But that's all it is" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/18). More Tranghese: "My job is not to get people into other conferences, because if that was what I was hired for, I would not have accepted it. What I said I could do is evaluate and tell you where your program is relative to other programs in the BCS." Meanwhile, Tranghese noted the thing UM "has that you can't buy is incredible fan support." Tranghese: "You can't buy that" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/17). ESPN.com's Brian Bennett wrote what UM "has done is grab a connection to the power brokers in the Big East." Bennett: "It will be up to the school to sell itself, and it will be up to the league to figure out whether the Tigers bring enough to the table to warrant inclusion in the future" (ESPN.com, 9/16). 

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