SBD/April 16, 2014/Colleges

Panel Of Administrators Says NCAA Business Model Must Change To Survive

Beebe believes the revenue gap can eventually be bridged
A panel of college administrators "agree the NCAA business model has to change to survive" an evolving financial landscape for conferences, according to Teresa Walker of the AP. Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche "sees the current crisis as an opportunity to make college athletics healthier than ever," and yesterday's panel, which also included Univ. of Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart and former Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, "also agreed the question now is how to do that." Barnhart said, "We have to have 21st century solutions. We didn't get to this problem overnight." DeBauche said that "difficult conversations loom in the coming months." Walker noted there is a "gap between the top five conferences with the big-money deals." DeBauche said that the "majority of the 32 conferences in Division I are more like the OVC." Money made by the conference "goes back to members to pay bills," and the conferences also "need to protect non-revenue generating sports and meet Title IX requirements." Meanwhile, Beebe believes that the revenue gap "can be bridged," although he said that the challenge will be "giving a quarterback extra money without taking dollars out of a fellow student's pocket" (AP, 4/15).

LABORING OVER THE ISSUES: Former FSU football coach Bobby Bowden said that forming a labor union is a "bad idea." Bowden: "I don't think it'll ever happen. It would undermine (college sports). Those kids are not employees of a university. I don't think it'll go anywhere. It's very newsy. If it did happen? I think it would throw our university and college system every which direction." In Tulsa, John Hoover notes Bowden suggested that college sports is "complex enough now ... and unionizing is not the way to make it better" (TULSA WORLD, 4/16). In DC, Sally Jenkins writes under the header, "College Athletics Have Many Problems, But A Union Is The Wrong Tool To Try And Fix Them." The inequities in college athletics are "complex and nuanced; no one solution fits all." Jenkins: "First of all, a union wouldn’t have the right to collectively bargain anything with the NCAA. No one ever mentions that. The NCAA is not an employer. It’s just a flawed bureaucracy" (WASHINGTON POST, 4/16).'s Dennis Dodd noted an NCAA steering committee in the next two weeks is "expected to take up the issue of autonomy." SEC Commissioner Mike Slive addressed the issues, including agents, the "bottom of the FBS," scholarship limits and the timing of the committee considering the autonomy concept. Slive said, "August is as late as it can be. We have this done by August" (, 4/15).
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