The NCAA's 434-page rulebook “is about to undergo major revisions, which president Mark Emmert hopes will eliminate the fluff and place more emphasis on significant violations and their accompanying penalties,” according to Stu Durando of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Emmert yesterday concluded a two-day presidential retreat “by announcing the NCAA will edit its unwieldy bylaws in the coming months.” He suggested that “restrictions regarding texting and phone calls could be loosened,” but he “anticipates a more precise and biting set of punishments to produce ‘a healthy fear of being caught.’" Emmert said changes will come "in months, not years." Durando notes “numerous proposals emerged from the afternoon session,” and the “most notable was the desire to tie team participation in postseason tournaments to the ability to achieve minimum standards in the Academic Progress Rate.” The NCAA BOD “will vote, possibly today, on raising the APR base to at least 930” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/11). The AP’s Michael Marot noted the current APR base is 925, and Emmert “wants it increased to 930 immediately and perhaps higher in future years.” Emmert said that failure to meet the cutline “should result in postseason bans in all sports.” Breaking the rules "will be costly, though Emmert would not speculate on any possible new sanctions.” The infractions committee “could bring back the postseason bans and television bans that became the norm in the 1980s.” A working group is “expected to study other possibilities and come up with a standardized list of possible penalties based on the severity of the infractions.” Oregon State President Ed Ray, who serves as Chair of the NCAA's Exec Committee, said, “You'd be foolish to say that nobody has been paying attention to this over the last year or two or three. It's not any one case in particular but the cumulative effect. I think there's a realization that the last time we went through the rules and regulations was probably 1999 or 2000 and things have changed a lot since then." Penn State President Graham Spanier said, "What's different is a lot of things have reached a boiling point" (AP, 8/10).
SWEEPING CHANGES: Emmert said that the current NCAA rulebook is “cumbersome and ‘needs some serious editing’ so that it focuses on the most-important violations and attaches penalties that will deter people from breaking rules.” The presidents also “talked about enforcement issues, such as the problem of agents’ wooing players.” Many presidents agreed that the “changes can’t come fast enough.” Spanier said, “Too many things are not working well.” Univ. of California-Riverside Chancellor Timothy White added that “now is the time for ‘tough love’” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 8/11). CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd wrote the university presidents and NCAA officials “mean business.” If they “accomplish half of what they talked about Wednesday in an afternoon presser, then amateur athletics, not just college athletics, will have changed significantly.” The presidents “potentially did more in the last two days than their predecessors did in the last 60 years." Dodd wrote, "It looks like players are finally going to be paid. It will be a modest amount and the NCAA will bend over backwards to make it look like it's not pay for play, but let's be honest. It is. It's also fair” (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/10).
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING? In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz writes under the header, “So Much Noise, So Little Progress.” Kravitz: “You know what kills me about these presidents' retreats, aside from the fact they talk about helping kids and never find room at the table for a single student-athlete? They say they talk about substantive issues and throw around terms like ‘comprehensive’ and ‘reform’ and nonsense like that, and nothing significant ever seems to change” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/11).