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The NCAA was founded to deal with football’s “flying wedge,”
depicted in the statue above at the organization’s headquarters
“The paid coach, the gate receipts, the special training tables, the costly sweaters and extensive journeys in Pullman [railroad] cars, the recruiting from high schools, the demoralizing publicity showered on the players, the devotion of an undue proportion of time to training, the devices for putting a desirable athlete, but weak scholar, across the hurdles of the examinations — these ought to stop …
“The responsibility to bring athletics into sincere relation to the intellectual life of the college rests squarely on the shoulders of the president and faculty.”
— Findings of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which released its report on intercollegiate athletics in 1929
So, you see, we have been discussing, debating and dissecting the role of sports on the nation’s college campuses for a very long time.
Since the beginning, really.
On an October afternoon in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt summoned to the White House representatives from the three premier football-playing universities — Harvard, Yale and Princeton — to discuss the place of a brutal, but increasingly popular game that had led to 330 fatalities in 15 years.
Roosevelt was a fan of football. His son played on the freshman team at Harvard. But he wanted the rules changed to make it safer and he wanted schools to promise that those rules would be enforced.
There is debate among historians as to whether Roosevelt actually threatened to push for a ban of football on that afternoon and disagreement over whether the Ivy football triumvirate actually stuck to their pledge to clean the game up.
What we do know is that in the months that followed, with momentum to ban football building on college campuses, a group of university presidents and chancellors set in motion efforts to marry the pursuits of academics and sport.
Their first meeting, held in New York City on Dec. 9, 1905, attracted representatives of 13 schools who together called for a national convention to address the reform of college football, at which 35 institutions would unite as the Intercollegiate Athletics Association of the United States. In 1910, they would change the name to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
At the IAAUS’s first convention on Dec. 29, 1906, the 35 original members signed on to a constitution that included an explanation of purpose:
“Its object shall be the regulation and supervision of college athletics throughout the United States, in order that the athletic activities … may be maintained on an ethical plane in keeping with the dignity and high purpose of education.”
Myles Brand, the sitting NCAA president and champion of reform, nods knowingly as he listens to those words.
“I have no question that there is continuity between what I’m saying now and what came about from that first meeting,” Brand said. “But the role of the NCAA has changed. Not the mission, but the role. The role has gotten larger. I, frankly, have been trying to change the role of the NCAA.”
The early years
The thin pamphlet, worn soft from years of reference, peeks out from within a file archived at the NCAA’s Indianapolis headquarters, the record of its owner clearly marked by a hand-written notation in the upper right corner of its cover.
“Byers — Desk Copy.”
NCAA delegates wait to to get rules interpretations
during the organization’s 1997 convention.
For Walter Byers, a man married to rule and order, who as the NCAA’s first executive director decreed all desks cleared and shades drawn at end of business each day, a pamphlet such as this would serve as a Magna Carta, a document that laid out the basis for his organization’s existence.
Titled, simply, the “Sanity Code,” it established codes of conduct for intercollegiate athletics covering five areas, all of which remain relevant a half century later: amateurism, institutional responsibility, academic standards, financial aid controls and recruiting restrictions.
In a series of machinations that would foreshadow the meandering path that was ahead for the NCAA, its members adopted the premise of the Sanity Code in 1940, passed it as legislation in 1949, repealed it in 1951 and passed a softened version in 1952. What they left intact provided the basis for today’s NCAA.
While the NCAA is many things, it is first a regulatory body, an organization governed through legislation voted upon by its members, who realized after their first 35 years as an organization that they could not be trusted to police themselves.
The NCAA’s predecessor, the IAAUS, put onto paper a noble sentiment in 1906. But it was little more than sentiment. It called together schools to change the rules of football so that the game would be safer, and eventually succeeded on that front. But it also called on them to behave in ways that put athletics in the context of their universities’ larger calling.
There, it failed.
While playing football at Yale from 1902-04, All-America tackle James Hogan — now enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame — received an all-expenses-paid, two-week trip to Cuba, a cut of the proceeds from Yale sporting events and a job with a tobacco company. At least he was an undergraduate student, and a good one, serious enough about his books to go on to law school. Many of his contemporaries were ringers, brought in solely for the purpose of football and sometimes paid for their work. The creation of the NCAA, with its statement of purpose, did little to change that.
Clearly, many schools were not operating on an “ethical plane in keeping with the dignity and high purpose of education.” Yet, until the introduction of the Sanity Code, the NCAA lacked the power to do anything about it.
Joseph Crowley, interim president of the University of Nevada-Reno and a longtime NCAA insider, spent the better part of two years researching the organization’s history for a commemorative book it will release this month. He considers those 35 years to be a reflection of the attitude of its first president, Palmer Pierce, a West Point captain who believed that a shared ideal was enough to rid college sports of the two ills that they all agreed to fight, subsidization and recruiting, then more commonly called “proselytizing.”
“He saw it as a league of educated gentlemen,” said Crowley, himself a former NCAA president. “We would do the right thing. We did not want to get involved with enforcing these principals. We would leave that to the institutions and they would take care of it. [The NCAA] didn’t need a headquarters. It didn’t need a staff. It didn’t need a budget. It would meet once a year. Meanwhile, the subsidizing and proselytizing would go merrily along.”
It went merrily along without consequence until late in the 1930s, when allegations of fixed games and lavish perks for players embarrassed schools to the point that they called for action. That’s when they drafted the initial Sanity Code. It was put on hold by World War II, but when thousands of men enrolled in college on the GI Bill, most NCAA members realized that their system of home rule would only deteriorate further under that weight.
The Sanity Code did not allow for any form of athletic scholarship or grant, a ban that went too far for the land-grant schools of the South that were emerging as football powerhouses. It also offered only one penalty for violators: Expulsion from the NCAA.
For those two reasons, it was doomed from the start. But at the NCAA convention in 1952, the schools passed compromise legislation that would alter the basic purpose of the NCAA, acknowledging it not only as a body that could make rules, but one that would enforce them.
“Once they crossed that threshold,” Crowley said, “it was inevitable that that role of the NCAA would grow.”
Enforcing the rules
Myles Brand leads an NCAA looking to improve
the academic achievements of student athletes.
When David Berst took a job as an enforcement agent at the NCAA in 1972, he joined a staff of three who handled enforcement, drafted legislation and interpreted rules for schools that called with questions.
That changed within a few months when, at the urging of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the NCAA expanded resources for enforcement exponentially, more than doubling its budget in order to hire eight full-time investigators, one for each of its regional districts.
Of all the NCAA’s functions, enforcement is the most visible, so much so that some inside the organization have argued that it should be broken off as an adjunct that carries a different name. It also is the division that has done the most to inspire the involvement of university presidents, who today dictate the direction of college sports.
“When I first joined the association, presidents and chancellors were involved in athletic programs only to the extent that they could enjoy them and reap the rewards,” said Berst, who headed enforcement for the NCAA from 1988 to ’98 and now serves as vice president of Division I. “They were pretty naive about both the ills and the harm that it could do to an institution if they were involved in scandal. The athletic department … seemed to be more of an adjunct to the institution.
“We’ve seen the swing of the pendulum to the point now where we have clearer control by presidents and chancellors. They see now how they can be embarrassed, or worse.”
Tom Jernstedt joined the NCAA staff in 1972, the same year as Berst, but in a very different role. Just as Berst was one of three staffers in enforcement and legislative services when he was hired, Jernstedt was one of three who administered the 25 championship events sanctioned by the NCAA.
He thought it would be the path to the big chair in an athletic department, a career goal Jernstedt had set a year earlier, when he left a sales job that paid $14,000, plus car, for a $6,000-a-year gig as an assistant athletic director at his alma mater, the University of Oregon.
“I’d only been east of the Mississippi one or two times in my life, but I wanted to be an AD,” said Jernstedt, now executive vice president of the NCAA. “The thinking was that if you join the NCAA you meet people from all over the country and it leads to something. I thought I’d be here 3-5 years.”
He still is there, 33 years later, serving as the No. 2 executive behind Brand, and overseeing Division I men’s basketball, which generates about 85 percent of the NCAA’s revenue, reported as $464 million in 2004, the most recent year for which filings are available. Jernstedt figures the number is closer to 98 percent, when you consider that the vast majority of NCAA sponsors sign on to a broader package only because they want to be a part of March Madness.
Just as Berst has watched the enforcement division multiply, Jernstedt has seen the NCAA’s championships side grow dramatically. He recalls vividly the day in 1983 when Jim Host, the CEO of a burgeoning sports marketing company, came to the Division I executive committee with a pitch to start a sponsorship program that would allow companies to tie into NCAA events.
Like Byers, Jernstedt was reluctant. His vision of collegiate championships was, “like Augusta: clean and pristine, with no signage.” But many of the athletic directors who then ran the executive committee were soliciting sponsors for their own programs and were ready to do it with the national events. Host made his sale.
While the NCAA likes to point to support from sponsorships as a means for schools to provide more opportunities for athletes outside of the revenue-producing sports, it’s clear that the presence of Fortune 500 companies — coupled with the announcement of multibillion-dollar TV contracts — plays into the public’s perception of college sports.
The NCAA may have started off as an organization of like-minded scholars attempting to unite study with sweat, but as it grew, its emphasis shifted to the enforcement of rules and presentation of events.
“To me, our image depends on who you ask,” Jernstedt said, “and, more importantly, it depends on when you ask them.”
On the Tuesday following the Final Four, the public face of the NCAA is one of pep bands blaring, alumni cheering and jubilant college kids cutting down nets. One shining moment. But, if on the following Friday afternoon, the NCAA announces sanctions against a program that has paid its players, rules ineligible a player who has taken cash from an agent, Monday night’s moment is sent headfirst into an ice bath.
“We’re the ones who put on this wonderful tournament that people feel very positive about,” Jernstedt said. “And we’re also the ones who come down and tell you that someone has done something that is embarrassing — and wrong.
“Those are the two ways that most people see us,” Jernstedt said. “But what is the NCAA? What do they do? I think there’s a better understanding today than there was five years or 10 years ago. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Meeting the mission
Late in 1999, shortly after the NCAA wrapped up negotiations on an 11-year, $6 billion rights deal with CBS, the organization’s chief marketer, Dennis Cryder, started getting calls about the network’s plans to promote March Madness.
“Let me tell you how we’re going to sell you,” a network executive told him, running down a list of core attributes that he thought would draw viewers and advertisers. A couple of months later, Cryder got a similar call from an ESPN executive who tossed around similar phrases, such as “competition,” “love of the game” and “fair play.”
Cryder began to contemplate the place of the NCAA on the sporting landscape.
The NCAA’s Greg Shaheen (left),
Tom Jernstedt (center) and Bob Bowlsby are
shown in February 2005 going through
a trial run of selecting the men’s
basketball tournament bracket.
“I listened to the words they were throwing out, and it wasn’t so much what I heard as what I didn’t hear that bothered me,” Cryder said. “I didn’t hear ‘higher education.’ I didn’t hear ‘learning.’ I didn’t hear a lot of the things that we thought were at the very core of intercollegiate athletics.
“We realized then that unless we defined ourselves, others would define us.”
In 2000, the NCAA began to craft that definition, starting with a focus group that would help it figure out where it stood with the general public. When they asked the group about the NCAA’s connection to higher education, the most common response was that there was none.
“That was a sobering moment,” Cryder said. “That tells you where we were in people’s minds.”
As a result, the NCAA set a course toward revamping its image, building a campaign around six attributes that it identified as core to its mission: Learning, balance, character, spirit, community and fair play.
The NCAA’s current ad campaign emphasizes its athletes’ achievements outside of sports. One that debuted during March Madness and aired frequently this football season features Roger Cox, who played basketball at Division II San Francisco State, shown working on his game in a gym, with a voice-over in which he explains his drive and dedication. “I have no doubt I can play at the highest level,” he says.
Then he reveals that he’s talking about the highest level as a jazz musician. The tag line: “There are over 360,000 NCAA student athletes, and just about all of us are going pro in something other than sports.”
That same tag runs on three other TV spots.
“We’re putting the face of the student athlete on the NCAA,” Cryder said. “We want people to see that and say, ‘Oh yeah, they go to college.’”
Of course, image is only one piece of that equation. That image, at least in the most visible of college sports, football and basketball, is born of an uncomfortable fact: That the pressure to win has for the better part of the century pushed the major programs further and further away from the NCAA’s original pledge to keep with the “dignity and high purpose of education.”
It was not enough for the NCAA to advocate reform. It had to initiate it.
In August, 2004, the NCAA’s executive committee approved a strategic plan crafted with the help of a consulting firm that surveyed a cross-section of the college sports populace — college presidents, faculty members, coaches, conference commissioners, athletes and NCAA staff — asking each of them what the NCAA stands for, what it should seek to be over the long term and how it could best get there.
The product of their work set goals related to:
The student-athlete experience;
Informed governance and decision-making;
Effective administration at the national office; and
Perceptions of the NCAA and college sports.
Objectives included improving academic success rates for athletes, getting better information into the hands of the college presidents making decisions on athletics, speeding the investigation of major infractions cases and better defining the role of the NCAA’s national office.
They hit on most of the relevant issues. But it should be noted that, among those who are supposed to benefit most from this entire process, the response heading into it was a skeptical, “I applaud the effort, but I don’t think it will do any good.”
Again, we have been discussing, debating and dissecting all this for very long time.
“One of the great national sports is beating up on the NCAA,” said Graham Spanier, president of Penn State and until recently a member of the Division I-A board of directors. “But let me point out that the NCAA is us. The NCAA is not some force operating out on the edges, lording over us. We are it.”
Focus on reform
Brand was in his third year as president of the University of Oregon and not at all in the loop of NCAA policy or politics in 1991, when the Knight Commission issued a scathing report that called for university presidents and chancellors to take control of the NCAA, which for years had been governed by influential athletic administrators.
The NCAA Presidents Commission, which was created with reform in mind in 1984 but had made little actual progress, summoned the chief executives from schools across the country to the NCAA’s annual convention, where they finally would take a stand.
Their reform package focused on three areas: time demands on athletes, cost containment and a restructuring that would put the direction of intercollegiate athletics into the hands of the presidents.
More than a decade later, that convention still is remembered for the words of Bob Bowlsby, then the athletic director at Northern Iowa, who during a failed attempt to exempt wrestling from sweeping cuts introduced an amendment with a phrase that summed up the spirit of the day.
“Mr. Chair,” Bowlsby said, “at the risk of becoming additional roadkill on the freeway of reform …”
If there was a freeway of reform, Brand was heading for the on-ramp.
“It was a watershed moment, for me,” Brand said. “The first time I felt part of the organization was in that convention. That was the only time I felt part of the process. The athletic directors were always part of the process. It was the presidents who were left out.”
Two years later, when Dick Schultz resigned as the NCAA’s executive director, the presidents looked within their own ranks for a replacement. They couldn’t find one who would take the job and settled on Cedric Dempsey, an athletic director, but one who held a Ph.D.
Dempsey served as a bridge to Brand, the first college president to serve as the NCAA’s CEO.
NCAA by the numbers
360,000 student athletes
3 divisions (I, II, III)
88 championships (41 men’s, 44 women’s, 3 coed)
49,000 student athletes compete in NCAA championships each year.
935 million estimated viewers of NCAA championship programming in 2004-05
1,162 NCAA members (schools and conferences)
350 full-time employees at the national office in Indianapolis
“When he came in, everybody LexisNexised him and saw ‘reform’ and wondered what that would mean,” said Greg Shaheen, the NCAA’s vice president of
Division I men’s basketball and championship strategies. “To me, Myles is a unique and important visionary at a time when our business needed one. We’ve benefited from him.”
Brand empowered NCAA staff members, encouraging them to make decisions and implement strategy, rather than waiting for direction from members of committees. He says those committees work more effectively as appellate bodies, rather than decision makers.
As is frequently the case when power shifts radically, it is the athletic directors who now complain that they are left out.
It’s similar to the age-old complaint of executives at pro teams who live with the policies set by league offices.
“We are a membership-driven organization, and yet sometimes we simply put ourselves in a position, over the years, where we end up having to go back and repair bad legislation because maybe there wasn’t enough discussion or there wasn’t enough input,” said Florida State University athletic director Dave Hart, whose school recently tussled with the NCAA over the use of an American Indian mascot. “I’m not sure it’s not time to seriously assess the existing governing structure to see perhaps how we can make it better.”
Brand said he, too, wants to keep athletic directors as an integral part of the governing process. While presidents hold all the voting power in Division I by virtue of seats on its board of directors, athletic directors serve on a 49-member management council that makes recommendations to the board.
Brand also has encouraged university CEOs to include athletic directors in their cabinets, as he did when he was president at Indiana. He estimates that about one-third of presidents at Division I schools have done so.
“First of all, I want [the AD] to help inform the rest of the institution of the role of athletics, because not everyone understands it,” Brand said. “But, secondly, I want [the AD] to understand what we do here — that we are an academic institution.
The college football season produces 18 deaths and 149 serious injuries, leading those in higher education to question the game’s place on their campuses.
In October, President Theodore Roosevelt calls representatives of Harvard, Yale and Princeton to the White House to discuss football’s future. Roosevelt is clear: Reform the game or it will be outlawed, perhaps even by an executive order of the president himself.
President Theodore Roosevelt called schools
together to discuss football’s future.
Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States born with 35 institutions.
Association renames itself the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Many schools, citing falling enrollment, suspend varsity athletics after Congress declares war on Germany.
NCAA has 170 institutions and is directly involved in 11 sports.
First NCAA national championships held, the National Collegiate Track and Field Championships.
First televised college football game — between Fordham University and Waynesburg College — broadcast on what is now WNBC in New York.
A television camera covers the 1939 football
game between Fordham and Waynesburg.
Sanity Code established based on five principles: amateurism, institutional control and responsibility, sound academic standards, financial aid and recruiting.
Walter Byers becomes the first executive director of the NCAA. He would serve until 1987.
Thirty-two basketball players from seven schools are arrested. Members of the City College of New York men’s basketball team admit to accepting money from gamblers. Two of the players serve brief jail terms. Kentucky’s basketball program is suspended for the 1952-53 season. Other schools involved are Long Island, Manhattan, Bradley, New York and Toledo.
NBC buys limited live television rights for football for $1.14 million.
A total of 121 institutions enroll in the first NCAA Intercollegiate Athletic Group Insurance program that provides catastrophic-injury medical coverage for student athletes.
Special Committee on Basketball Television reports that televising college basketball games does not adversely affect attendance.
Texas Western University, the first school with an all-African-American starting lineup, upsets Kentucky’s all-white team for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
President Dwight Eisenhower wins the first Theodore Roosevelt Award, given to an individual “for whom competitive athletics in college and attention to physical well-being thereafter have been important factors in a distinguished career of national significance and achievement.” The award is still given annually.
Committee formed to study the feasibility of establishing and supervising women’s intercollegiate athletics.
Freshmen become eligible for all NCAA championships except football and basketball.
The Al McGuire-coached Marquette Warriors decline an NCAA tournament bid because of the region they were to be placed in. The school goes on to win the NIT, and the NCAA then makes it mandatory for schools that receive a bid to its tournament to accept.
The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women is established, separate from the NCAA, with 280 member institutions to oversee women’s intercollegiate athletics.
Congress passes Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The law requires educational institutions to maintain policies, practices and programs that do not discriminate against anyone based on sex. Under the law, men and women are expected to receive fair and equal treatment in all arenas of public schooling recruitment, admissions, educational programs and activities, course offerings and access, counseling, financial aid, employment assistance, facilities and housing, health and insurance benefits, marital and parental status, scholarships, sexual harassment and athletics.
NCAA’s new headquarters building opens in Mission, Kan.
In a special convention of the 570 NCAA member schools, the legislative and competitive structures are reorganized, creating Divisions I, II and III.
Congress denies a proposed exemption of revenue-producing sports from Title IX.
NCAA rejects a proposal to distribute football television revenue equally to all football-playing members.
Michigan State’s Jay Vincent and Earvin Johnson
apply pressure to Indiana State’s Larry Bird in
the 1979 championship game.
Lucy Harris from Delta State University awarded the first Honda-Broderick Cup, honoring the top female athlete in college sports.
College Football Association formed as a way for top football powers to gain a more effective voice within the NCAA. The Big Ten and Pacific-10 Conferences never join the association. The organization would become instrumental in increasing media revenue for its members.
Home Box Office purchases cable television rights for the 1977 College World Series Championship game. Terms are not disclosed.
The NCAA enters a four-year, $18 million television contract for football. The agreement with ABC covers the 1978-81 seasons.
Football split into divisions I-A and I-AA.
The NCAA and ABC reach out-of-court settlement with Warner Cable, permitting Warner to cablecast five Ohio State University football games into Columbus, Ohio, in 1978 and 1979 on an experimental basis.
Men’s national championship game between Michigan State and Indiana Statebecomes the highest-rated college basketball game of all time with a 24.1 rating, a record that still stands.
AIAW has 41 national championships for women in 19 sports and signs a four-year television contract with NBC.
Louisiana Tech’s Ann Pendergrass celebrates
the NCAA’s first women’s basketball title.
NCAA Council expands, allocates four slots to women and creates committees to conduct women’s championships.
First NCAA women’s championships — field hockey — are held.
NCAA passes Proposition 48, which says Division I student athletes must have a minimum SAT score of 700, or an ACT score of 17, and a minimum GPA of 2.0 in at least 11 courses in core classes.
First Division I women’s basketball tournament is held in March, which weakens the AIAW.
AIAW folds in October after losing antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA.
U.S. Supreme Court weakens Title IX in Grove City College v. Bell. The ruling states that Title IX covers only programs directly receiving federal funds. Other programs, including athletics, which do not receive federal funds, are free to discriminate on the basis of gender.
Richard Schultz (1987-1993) becomes the second executive director of the NCAA.
Congress passes the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which effectively overturns the Grove City ruling, directing that Title IX applies to all operations of a recipient of federal funds and thereby restoring the Office of Civil Rights’ jurisdiction over athletics programs.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules in December that NCAA rules do not become state rules just because they are applied to a state school, and thus there was no breach of due process by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in suspending Jerry Tarkanian as basketball coach. The dispute was resolved 10 years later when the NCAA paid the coach $2.5 million. By then Tarkanian was the head coach at Fresno State.
The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics is formed in response to more than a decade of highly visible scandals in college sports. The commission will recommend a reform agenda that emphasizes academic values in an era of perceived commercialization of college sports.
New NCAA headquarters building opens in Overland Park, Kan.
The University of Notre Dame breaks ranks with the CFA and sells rights for its regular-season home football games to NBC. The $38 million rights fee covers five years beginning with the 1991 season. The most recent contract extension runs through the 2010 season.
Sara Lee Corp. pledges a minimum of $6 million to promote women’s intercollegiate athletics, including the Woman of the Year award.
NCAA passes new television revenue-distribution plan.
Judith M. Sweet, athletics director at the University of California, San Diego, is elected president of the NCAA, the only woman to hold the position.
Mary Beth Riley of Canisius College honored as the first NCAA Woman of the Year.
Schultz resigns as NCAA executive director after an independent fact-finder said Schultz knew of improper loans to student-athletes while he was AD at the University of Virginia (1981-87).
Cedric W. Dempsey (1994-2002) becomes the third executive director of the NCAA. Dempsey had been athletics director at the University of Arizona.
NCAA launches CHAMPS/Life Skills, which stands for Challenging Athletes’ Minds for Personal Success, to help student-athletes with a variety of support services.
Coaches for men’s nonrevenue sports appeal to Congress for relief from Title IX regulations.
The Bowl Alliance replaces the Bowl Coalition, and comprises three bowl committees (Fiesta, Orange and Sugar) and the champions of the ACC, Big East, the newly formed Big 12, SEC and Notre Dame.
NCAA passes Proposition 16 requiring student-athletes to have a 2.0 GPA in 13 approved academic core courses and an SAT of 1010 or a combined ACT of 86. Students with lower test scores need higher core course GPAs. The minimum test score for students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher is 820 SAT/68 ACT.
In a landmark Title IX case, a federal judge rules in April that Brown University is in violation of Title IX even though the university offers an extensive women’s intercollegiate athletics program. Judge Raymond Pettine rules that the university has failed to meet any part of Title IX’s three-part compliance test.
NCAA opens a federal relations office in Washington, D.C.
EA Sports releases its NCAA Football series. The “March Madness” series is launched in 1998.
NCAA reaches a five-year, $75 million marketing agreement with Host Communications.
CFA disbands after support from member conferences has all but disappeared.
The Bowl Championship Series is formed, with the champions of the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Pac-10, Big East, Big 12, SEC and two at-large teams playing in the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange bowls.
U.S. appeals court rules that Title IX applies directly to the NCAA because the association receives dues money from institutions that receive federal aid.
In 1999 the NCAA opened its current headquarters
(above) in Indianapolis. Previously the NCAA
had maintained its headquarters in
Mission, Kan., and Overland Park, Kan.
U.S. Supreme Court rules that the NCAA is not considered a recipient of federal funds just because it receives dues from member schools that do receive federal money.
A U.S. district court rules that the NCAA’s Proposition 16 has a disparate effect upon African-Americans. Proposition 16 governs the NCAA’s initial eligibility requirements for student athletes. The NCAA goes through an appeals process and makes changes to the policy.
New NCAA headquarters building opens in Indianapolis.
A federal court in Kansas dismisses a lawsuit by Adidas that challenged NCAA limits on the size and number of logos on uniforms.
NCAA signs an 11-year, $6 billion agreement with CBS Sports for the right to televise the Division I men’s basketball championship and other championship events. The deal includes marketing opportunities related to all NCAA championships.
Basketball rules committee approves the use of video replay on last-second shots.
NCAA Hall of Champions exhibit opens in Indianapolis.
New NCAA logo unveiled.
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issues a statement calling for non-Indian schools, colleges and universities to end the use of American-Indian mascots, nicknames and imagery.
National Association of Basketball Coaches, Student Basketball Council and the Black Coaches Association call for NCAA-sponsored events to be relocated from South Carolina and Georgia because of the states’ display of the Confederate flag. The groups set a two-year moratorium on awarding any new championships or meetings to the states.
Coca-Cola signs on as an NCAA Corporate Champion partner with an 11-year, $500 million dollar sponsorship agreement.
Myles Brand becomes the fourth president of the NCAA.
Kraft Foods signs a new multiyear Corporate Partner sponsorship deal.
Cingular Wireless and General Motors become Corporate Champions.
Monster.com signs a three-year Corporate Partner deal.
College Sports TV launches in April.
In June a federal court in Washington, D.C., dismisses a lawsuit filed by the National Wrestling Coaches Association against the U.S. Department of Education challenging the regulations governing Title IX.
The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, is the first recipient of the NCAA’s Gerald R. Ford Award. The award honors an individual for his advocacy of intercollegiate athletics.
City of Indianapolis announces it will host the men’s Final Four every five years through 2039.
The Hartford Financial Services Group becomes an NCAA Corporate Partner.
UConn and Tennessee battle in the
2004 championship game.
NCAA extends the ban on awarding championships to the state of South Carolina, because of the state’s display of the Confederate flag.
Colorado Court of Appeals upholds a lower court decision not to grant University of Colorado football player Jeremy Bloom a preliminary injunction. Bloom, also a world-class moguls skier, had sued the NCAA for the right to do endorsements and make money to support his skiing endeavors, while still retaining his amateur status so he can play football at Colorado.
A total of l3.8 million households watch the women’s basketball championship in April between UConn and Tennessee, ESPN’s most-viewed basketball game ever.
CBS’s coverage of the men’s basketball championship game between UConn and Georgia Tech earns an 11.0 rating, the lowest for the title game since it began airing in prime time in 1973.
NCAA’s Recruiting Task Force recommends tightened parameters on official visits by recruits including restrictions on traveling, lodging and meals.
Brand appoints a sports wagering task force after a study reveals troubling rates of sports wagering by student-athletes over the past year.
NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff determines that Bloom rendered himself permanently ineligible for intercollegiate athletics by violating NCAA rules regarding endorsements.
Black Coaches Association issues the first Hiring Report Card. The report card looks at five aspects of the hiring process: the time used to make the decision, the number of communications with the BCA or an NCAA minority interests committee, the percentage of minorities on the search committee, the percentage of minorities among candidates interviewed and adherence to the school’s affirmative action policies.
ESPNU launches. It will include information from ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile (wireless) and ESPN Broadband focusing on college athletics.
State Farm Insurance announces a three-year sponsorship deal at the Corporate Partner level.
EA Sports signs exclusive six-year licensing deal with the Collegiate Licensing Co. to develop, publish and distribute interactive college football video games. NCAA baseball and hockey titles are expected to be released in 2006.
NCAA issues a ban on the use of American-Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments at 18 schools, but will not prohibit them otherwise. Nicknames or mascots deemed “hostile or abusive” would not be allowed by teams on their uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1. The NCAA also plans to ban schools using Indian nicknames from hosting postseason tournaments, and schools with such mascots that have already been selected as tournament sites would be asked to cover any offensive logos. Florida State, Utah and Central Michigan win appeals following the announcement.
NCAA buys the preseason and postseason NIT basketball tournaments for $40.5 million. An additional $16 million is included to end four years of antitrust litigation.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car signs multiyear Corporate Partner deal.
Lowe’s signs three-year Corporate Partner deal.
Source: SportsBusiness Journal research
When Myles Brand accepted the job as president of the NCAA three years ago, it signaled a shift in the way the nation’s universities view the role of the NCAA. Brand’s predecessors all came from the athletic corners of university campuses. Walter Byers, the NCAA’s first full-time executive director, was hired out of the Big 10 office. His successors, Dick Schultz and then Cedric Dempsey, were athletic directors at Virginia and Arizona, respectively. Brand is the first to come from the ranks of the college presidents, moving to the NCAA after heading Indiana University, where he forever will be remembered as the man who fired Bob Knight. Not surprisingly, his emphasis thus far has been on academic reform. Brand recently spoke with SportsBusiness Journal senior writer Bill King at the NCAA’s headquarters in Indianapolis.
As you look forward to what is your state of the union address — your speech at the annual NCAA convention — what do you see as cornerstones of your agenda for the coming year?
One is clearly the academic focus of intercollegiate athletics. We have to assure that intercollegiate athletics is embedded into the mission and purpose of the university. That is the single most important principal that I want to advocate for. I am continuing to try and articulate it better as I learn more. The role of intercollegiate athletics as a part of higher education, and particularly the athletic experience as contributing to the education of student athletes, becomes the focal point of our agenda.
Does that mean better integration of athletics and athletes into the college campus as a whole?
Absolutely. It comes back into integrating them into campus as a whole and making sure that student athletes are students. I’ve been saying in Division I for some time now that student athletes graduate at a higher rate than the general student body. And actually it improved a little this year. So why are we putting so much pressure on academic achievement? You’re already doing better than the rest of the student body. You may have a problem case or two — football in a minor way; men’s basketball in a greater way. Why don’t you just pay attention to those two sports? What are you pushing here?
Here’s the answer: Good enough is not good enough in athletics. Good enough isn’t going to make any coach happy. You have to always perform at your highest level. If student athletes performed at their highest level academically, I think they would do better. They do have some built-in advantages, with the advising and peer pressure and coaches helping them. So we would expect them to do their very best in the classroom, just as they do athletically. Good enough is not good enough in the classroom.
It must be difficult to legislate academic progress and write legislation in a fashion that incorporates all the different possibilities that a school’s athletic department might see as beyond its control — athletes who may transfer, for example, or who may leave to pursue a professional career in baseball or basketball or football. How do you do that?
If the young man leaves when academically eligible, to transfer or to go to the professional leagues, programs are not going to be hurt in terms of APR [the formula used to track academic progress] so long as the athletes are academically eligible. They may see that as a burden right now just to meet the numbers. And maybe it is. Maybe it’s a bit paternalistic, but what we’re doing is we’re setting the young men up to earn their degrees. We have an obligation as educators to do everything in our power to put the young man in position to get a degree. You may think right now that you don’t need it. But we’re not asking that much of you. We just want you to finish the year you’re in. And then you will be in a position to graduate. I hope the coaches appreciate that, too. We’re thinking about the young man. Everyone won’t come back, but at least we’ve made it possible for them to come back in good standing. Don’t burn the bridges behind you. That’s all we’re saying.
You’ve spoken in the past about what is often referred to as the arms race, with regard to development of athletic facilities. That’s most frequently related to stadium improvements. But there are also these new, football-driven facilities that are built to attract recruits. What do you think of those?
Brand preaches caution for how much schools
spend to build or improve athletic facilities.
We’re in a position with some of our major Division I-A schools where we do need some facilities upgrades. Ohio State hadn’t upgraded since the ’30s. The bathrooms were terrible.
Fair enough. Those have to happen. But that’s not a $15 million football building with plasma TVs and a recruiting lounge.
Part of it is explained by what I was talking about [stadium age], but not the whole. I don’t like to use the term arms race because it’s a metaphor for war. But there is no question that there is some investment undertaken with the belief it is going to help in recruiting. I’m not sure it does. We do know that further investment in facilities and other means for an athletic program has no return on investment in terms of winning. We have good data on that.
You have data on that and you’ve released it. But it doesn’t seem to be resonating with the programs that are spending the money.
It has not resonated. It’s remarkable. People look at the data. It’s a well done study. They look at it and it’s as if they’re not paying attention to the data. They can’t take their eye off the exception. Intuition and background experience has led them in this direction.
So what do you think of what they’re doing?
Overinvestment in facilities is very dangerous to a university. It commits on a bonded indebtedness approach 20 to 30 years. Interest rates are very low right now, so you’re not going to be able to draw them down in the future. You’ve committed the athletic program to very long-term debt. What happens in the future over that long period of time when the revenues are no longer as strong as they are now? If the mission changes a little bit at the athletic department or you’re in a downturn, you still have the debt that you’ve committed the university to. What that really means is that you’re going to have to use money from the academic side of the house to support athletics.
And you’re not OK with that? I thought you were in favor of a university supporting athletics financially.
Inherently it’s not bad. But you want to minimize that, because as much as possible you want to invest in the core mission of the institution. Just like the business school wants to minimize the amount of money it draws from the central administration — and that’s what a good dean of business will do — similarly a good athletic director wants to minimize the amount that an institution has to make. You create some risk this way. It’s similar to the way you might spend a lot of money to put up a very expensive executive education building which you’ve bonded, and it turns out executive education isn’t what it used to be .... Now you’re stuck with a big building, and how are you going to pay for it? It draws money off from other parts of the university. You really have to be cautious about that.
We started off by discussing your 2006 agenda …
Yes, and I only gave you half of it. Here’s the other half. In addition to focusing on the academic mission of the university and the role intercollegiate athletics has within it, you also have to have a different perspective on the business plan of the university.
Brand sees stress on the amount of rights fees
that media partners can afford to pay.
I’ve come to understand that there is a lack of clarity about the business model of intercollegiate athletics. Many in the press, and the general public, and university community should know better. They have this image that commercialism is bad and that intercollegiate athletics and commercialism are anathema to each other. Just the opposite is true. You can’t conduct a successful intercollegiate athletics program if you don’t have a commercial aspect with respect to revenue generation. Of course, on the expenditure side, you operate as a not-for-profit and you are focusing on creating opportunities for athletic participation for a wide range of students. But, on the revenue side, it is incumbent upon the athletic program to generate as much revenue as it can while abiding by the values and mission of the institution in which it is embedded. That last part is very important.
So, it operates as a business, similar to …
That’s only part of it. Universities raise revenue through tuition pricing. Enrollment management is just a marketing and pricing strategy. They try to raise money from the feds, through the grants of contracts through state government. They sell services — they’re called rooms in dormitories. That’s OK. But, on the expenditure side, we’re not-for-profit. In the case of the university, our mission is to [provide] a comprehensive education. As an old philosophy professor, I understood we weren’t carrying our weight in the university in terms of student enrollment. But I also knew that we wouldn’t have a comprehensive university unless we had philosophy and classics in it. The fact of the matter is, there’s a massive redistribution of wealth that takes place within the university.
The same thing holds for intercollegiate athletics. You get as much revenue as you can. But then you have to support as many participation opportunities for women and men as you can. If we were a professional league, all that revenue would become profit to the owners or shareholders and we would only concentrate on those areas that generate revenue. What the NCAA requires in Division I is that you run 16 sports. Not two sports [that make money]. Sixteen sports. Because we want to increase opportunities for student athletes to take advantage of that special experience. It’s critically important to understand that on the expenditure side, we are following the mission of the university and we’re not-for-profits. So, when someone says intercollegiate athletics is a business, they don’t understand that while we generate revenue, we also create opportunities for students. That’s not what a business does. It’s more complicated than people understand.
It’s clear from that model that you lay out that you’re comfortable with some aspects of commercialism in collegiate athletics. But you have some schools out there — Michigan, for example — that will wave a flag over the fact that they don’t accept advertising in their football stadium because that’s too commercial for their taste. How do you resolve those two views?
I don’t think this model excludes that belief. On the revenue side, we still have to be guided by the principles and values of higher education. This isn’t anything goes. But even in that context, outside of some of the ADs and commissioners, few others really understand the business model. It’s remarkable how people in the university don’t get this business model. They only see half of it.
Surely, most faculty members understand that in order for the B-school to thrive and advance it might need a new building, and that to pay for it the new building might bear a corporate name or the name of a CEO. Why do they see that same dynamic, all of a sudden, as commercialism when it comes to athletics?
What you say is true and I don’t have a good explanation for it. You know, there are some in the university who believe that there shouldn’t be any commercial activity in the university as a whole. You shouldn’t name buildings. You shouldn’t do tech transfers. You shouldn’t be involved in economic development. That’s just not defensible in today’s world. It’s just not. But there are still some who believe it. And those who believe it carry it over into athletics. I don’t think everyone, including my dear old friends among the faculty, understand how universities work. There is this knee-jerk reaction. This is amateur sports. You shouldn’t have commercialism. Well, wait. You can’t run this without revenue generation any more than you can run a university without revenue generation.
What’s your response to those faculty members when they see the university cutting their budget on campus while increasing spending in athletics?
Over the last half dozen years, we’ve seen a rate of increase of athletic budgets that is three times the rate of increase of the general university budget. And that is not sustainable because the additional revenues coming in, for example, through media contracts, are not keeping up with that. The kind of growth with the networks that we saw in the mid ’90s, that generated the CBS relationship that we have, the networks can’t pay those media rights that they did in the past. There is a real stress on the system. I’m not sure the athletic programs themselves have come to understand that. In order to continue this rate of growth, you’re going to have to take additional money away from the rest of the university. And the rest of the university, and particularly public universities, are really feeling the financial pressure right now. So there’s going to be growing resistance to do that. We’re not in crisis. No one is facing bankruptcy. But the fact of the matter is that there are significant stresses on the system right now.
Do you not see room for revenue growth to keep up with that?
I think there’s room for significant growth in athletics over the next decade. But that growth can’t be as rapid as it is right now in almost every case.
What about the revenue that flows through this very organization, the NCAA, on its way to the schools? Depending on how you look at it, anywhere from 85 to 95 percent of your revenue comes from the men’s basketball tournament.
About 85 percent.
Is it a concern that so much comes from one place?
On one hand, it’s very good. It’s a great relationship and we see CBS as a terrific partner. The length of that contract is going to outlive me, so it’s all good. But the fact of the matter is that I have to look beyond that. We have to be able to continue to show value to our media partners, and we also have to think about how we’re going to diversify our revenue streams, because 10 years from now we won’t be in that same position.
One large chunk of revenue in college athletics — in fact, the largest — is I-A football. And you don’t see any of that. Is there any way to move the NCAA back into the business of televising I-A football? Is that even something the presidents have an interest in?
Not the presidents who now control that revenue stream. Some of the other presidents who don’t control it would like to see it redistributed, like we redistribute the basketball revenue. But I don’t see that in the cards. Those schools that are generating the revenue have set it up so that they can take advantage of that revenue through the BCS. That’s what they want and I suspect that they will keep it that way.
The NCAA and its partners will be celebrating the organization’s 100th anniversary throughout 2006. Here are some of the highlights:
Throughout the month, ESPN Classic to begin airing 25, 30-second vignettes showcasing the NCAA’s 25 most defining moments
Jan. 6-9: NCAA 100th Annual Convention, Indianapolis
Jan. 7: NCAA Honors Celebration, Murat Theatre
Jan. 8: Unveiling of NCAA national office original artwork portraying the journey of the student athlete, Indianapolis
Jan. 10: ESPNU original air date for NCAA Honors Celebration broadcast at 10 p.m. EST (re-airing on Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. EST, and on Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. EST)
Feb. 3: ESPN2 air date for NCAA Honors Celebration broadcast at noon
March 1-Dec. 6: ESPN Classic to air 25 vignettes showcasing the NCAA’s 25 most defining moments
March 13: NCAA Centennial: “100 Most Influential Student-Athletes Part I & II,” to air on ESPN Classic from 9-10 p.m. and 10-11 p.m. EST.
March 30: NCAA Men’s Salute presentation, Indianapolis
March 31: NCAA’s 100th anniversary (actual date)
March 31: NCAA Women’s Final Four Salute dinner, Boston
March 31-April 4: 100 Years, 100 Hours: The NCAA Hall of Champions in Indianapolis will commemorate the anniversary by remaining open for 100 consecutive hours beginning 10 a.m. March 31.
April 1, 3: NCAA Men’s Final Four, Indianapolis
April 2, 4: 25th anniversary, NCAA Women’s Final Four, Boston
May 31: NCAA Women’s College World Series opening ceremony, Oklahoma City
June 15: NCAA Men’s College World Series opening ceremony, Omaha, Neb.
ESPN Classic to air 25 vignettes showcasing the NCAA’s 25 most defining moments surrounding the college football season. Various air times.
Oct. 27-28; NCAA Woman of the Year Weekend, Indianapolis
Nov. 16-20: NCAA Division II Fall National Championships Festival, Pensacola, Fla.
Note: CBS Sports has plans to recognize the NCAA’s 100th anniversary throughout the year, but as of presstime had not released details.
Schedules are subject to change.
The NCAA governance structure is made up of more than 125 committees.
Associationwide committees, which are highlighted below, deal with issues that affect all members of the NCAA and perform duties necessary to the ongoing operation of the association. These committees are made up of members from each of the NCAA’s divisions and subdivisions of Division I.
NCAA Executive Committee
Chairman: Walter Harrison, University of Hartford
Responsibility: Ensures that each division operates consistently with the basic purposes, fundamental policies and general principles of the NCAA
Other members of the Executive Committee are: Ronald D. Wellman, Wake Forest University; G. Wayne Clough, Georgia Institute of Technology; John D. Welty, California State University, Fresno; Martin C. Jischke, Purdue University; Michael F. Adams, University of Georgia; Peter Likins, University of Arizona; Philip E. Austin, University of Connecticut; Shirley Raines, University of Memphis; Sidney McPhee, Middle Tennessee State University; Clinton Bristow Jr., Alcorn State University; Daniel Curran, University of Dayton; Robert Fisher, Belmont University; Kathryn A. Martin, University of Minnesota, Duluth; Paul H. Engelmann, Central Missouri State University; Arthur F. Kirk Jr., Saint Leo University; Ivory Nelson, Lincoln University (Pennsylvania); Michael Miranda, Plattsburgh State University of New York; and Phillip C. Stone, Bridgewater College (Virginia)
Executive Committee Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity Issues
Chairman: Clinton Bristow Jr., Alcorn State University
Responsibility: Provides review and recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding gender, minority and youth issues and overall student-athlete welfare
Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports Committee
Chairman: Michael Krauss, M.D., Purdue University
Responsibility: Promotes a healthy and safe environment for student athletes through research, education, collaboration and policy development. The committee includes the subcommittees of a) Drug-Education and Drug-Testing, chaired by Don Kaverman, Southeast Missouri State University; and b) Sports Sciences Safety, chaired by Jerry Weber, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Chairman: Valerie A. Richardson, University of California, Santa Barbara
Responsibility: Receives nominations and selects the recipients of the Theodore Roosevelt, Silver Anniversary, Top VIII, Award of Valor and Inspiration awards
Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee
Chairman: Robert C. Vowels Jr., Southwestern Athletic Conference
Responsibility: Reviews issues and policies related to the interests of ethnic minority student athletes
Olympic Sports Liaison Committee
Chairman: Kyle B. Kallander, Big South Conference
Responsibility: Acts as liaison with the USOC and the national governing bodies
Playing Rules Oversight Panel
Chairman: Jill Wilson, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Responsibility: Reviews proposals forwarded by each of the rules committees
Postgraduate Scholarship Committee
Chairman: Marchelle Lane, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Responsibility: Selects scholarship winners (29 men and 29 women each sports season — 174 each academic year)
Chairman: Michael Miranda, Plattsburgh State University of New York
Responsibility: Makes recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding spending NCAA money for research projects; makes recommendations to the Management Councils concerning research topics in intercollegiate athletics
Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Committee
Chairman: Ralph Reynolds, Indiana University, Bloomington
Responsibility: Develops and promotes strategies that foster a collegial atmosphere and a greater acceptance of the values of respect, caring, fairness, civility, honesty, integrity and responsibility among student athletes, coaches, officials, fans and related groups
Walter Byers Scholarship Committee
Chairman: Robert W. Thomas, University of Missouri, Kansas City
Responsibility: Plans and administers the NCAA’s Walter Byers Scholarship program for student athletes who have distinguished themselves academically and athletically
Committee on Women’s Athletics
Chairman: Darlene Bailey, Missouri State University
Responsibility: Provides leadership and assistance to the membership of the NCAA in its efforts to provide equitable opportunities, fair treatment and respect for women in all aspects of intercollegiate athletics
Student-Athlete Advisory Committees
Division I: Ian Gray, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Division II: John Semeraro, Saint Leo University
Division III: Sameer Khan, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham
Responsibility: Enhances the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete welfare and fostering a positive student-athlete image
In a member-driven organization such as the NCAA, the selection of a CEO is a reflection of the mind-set and the priorities of the members at that moment in time.
Walter Byers was regimented and rule-minded. Dick Schultz was a negotiator. Cedric Dempsey was a bridge between athletics and academics. Myles Brand is what waited at the other side of the bridge.
“Myles is the right person at the right time,” said Tom Jernstedt, the NCAA’s executive vice president, “as were Byers and Schultz and Dempsey.”
A brief rundown of their tenures:
Background: Byers was a rising star at the Big 10 when, at age 29, the NCAA hired him to manage an organization that, at that point, did not have a national office or staff.
Legacy: Father of the modern NCAA. Created the law-and-order-driven organization that athletic administrators wanted.
Background: Athletic director at the University of Virginia who impressed NCAA insiders when he led the negotiation of a $55 million TV contract for the NCAA tournament. Schultz resigned in 1993, after the NCAA charged Virginia with violations that occurred during his tenure as AD. He later was named executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee, which he headed until 2000.
Legacy: TV background pays off in the form of the NCAA’s first $1 billion contract, signed in 1991. Whirlwind tour of 200-plus campuses helped demystify the NCAA in the eyes of its members.
Background: Popular athletic director at the University of Arizona who had a doctorate degree and a teaching background.
Legacy: Led the relocation of the NCAA to Indianapolis and served as a bridge to an era of greater involvement by university presidents.
Background: Former philosophy professor who, as president at Indiana University, took on and fired Bob Knight.
Legacy: First to move from the president’s chair at a university to the CEO spot at the NCAA. The rest is still being written, but it is certain to include academic reform.
The following are results of the Turnkey Sports Poll taken in December. The survey covered about 400 senior-level sports industry executives spanning professional and college sports.
How would you grade Myles Brand’s leadership of the NCAA since he assumed the presidency in January 2003? Excellent 6.22% Good 40.89% Fair 39.11% Poor 4.44 % No response 9.33% What is the biggest challenge facing the NCAA? Academic - falling graduation rates 39.73% Budgetary - the rising costs of college athletics 33.93% Gap between pro facilities and college facilities 0.89% Lack of a football playoff championship 3.57% Underclass students turning pro 19.64% No response 2.23%