SBD/September 26, 2013/Colleges

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  • D-I ADs Reject Pay-For-Play, As Delany Suggests Minor Leagues As Option For Athletes

    Burke will serve as national spokesmen for all 351 D-I programs

    The D-I Athletic Directors' Association yesterday issued a statement "rejecting the idea that student-athletes should be paid," according to Mike Carmin of the Lafayette JOURNAL & COURIER. Group President and Purdue AD Morgan Burke said, "Pay for play has no part in the amateur setting." Missouri AD and National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics President Mike Alden, along with Burke, "will serve as national spokesmen" for all 351 D-I programs. The group has "pledged to be active participants in the process to bring about change" in collegiate athletics governance and is "calling for streamlining and efforts that complement and align with the values of higher education" (Lafayette JOURNAL & COURIER, 9/26). In L.A., Chris Dufresne notes what power the ADs "actually have remains to be seen." A split in the NCAA is "forming between the top five football conferences and the rest of the membership." Though it is "highly unlikely that the top football programs are going to leave the NCAA, there has been talk of forming a separate Division 4 that could allow the top leagues more autonomy" (L.A. TIMES, 9/26). YAHOO SPORTS' Nick Bromberg wrote pay-for-play "will not be a reform that's supported." That is "not a startling revelation, but one that reinforces that while the pay-for-play movement may be growing, there's still a long way for it to go to gain significant traction" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/25).

    GO PRO, YOUNG MAN: Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany yesterday said that D-I football and men's basketball "might be better served" by following MLB's model, in which "players are allowed to sign professionally right out of high school." Delany said of high school athletes, "If they're not comfortable and want to monetize, let the minor leagues flourish. Train at IMG, get agents to invest in your body, get agents to invest in your likeness and establish it on your own. But don't come here and say, 'We want to be paid $25,000 or $50,000.' Go to the D-League and get it, go to the NBA and get it, go to the NFL and get it." Delany said that a "restructuring plan in college sports must be in place by next spring to create better balance educationally and more options, including increasing the value of athletic scholarships." Delany: "We ought to work awful hard with the NFL and the NBA to create an opportunity for those folks. We have it in baseball, we have it in golf ... Why is it our job to be minor leagues for professional sports?" (ESPN.com, 9/25). CBSSPORTS.com's Dennis Dodd writes, "While the idea of pro football and basketball minor leagues are "not new for NCAA reformers, Delany's comments indicate a national undercurrent that has developed among administrators." There is going to be "little rollback on the amateurism model as the NCAA seeks to reform itself." Delany wants "a clear line drawn between those who want to be paid for their services" (CBSSPORTS.com, 9/26).

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  • Georgia Looking For Ways To Combat Declining Student Attendance At Football Games

    UGA students have left 39% of their section empty over the last four seasons

    Declining student attendance at college football games is an "illness that has been spreading for years nationwide," but now it has hit the SEC "giving athletics officials reason to fret about future ticket sales and fundraising," according to Ben Cohen of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Records show Georgia students left "empty 39% of their designated sections of Sanford Stadium over the last four seasons," while 32% of student seats at Alabama "went unused" by students between '09-12. Meanwhile, 45% of UGA's student tickets "went unused" during non-conference home games. UGA officials have been "so concerned by student attendance that they reassigned 2,000 seats previously reserved for students to young alumni before this season." UGA AD Greg McGarity: "It was a significant hole, and it was very noticeable. It was way too obvious." But UGA is "encouraged by the early returns this season." The first home game on Sept. 7, a 4:30pm ET kickoff against South Carolina, "hit the sweet spot for student attendance." It drew 15,864 students, the "most since at least" '09, and students are "anticipating a similarly boisterous crowd" for Saturday's 3:30pm game against LSU (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/26).

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