NCAA To Create College Hoops Commission In Hopes Of Improving Sport Amid Scandal
The NCAA yesterday in response to the recent FBI investigation said that it would "create a college basketball commission" to investigate "changes for 'a system that clearly is not working,'" according to Marc Tracy of the N.Y. TIMES. NCAA President Mark Emmert in a statement said the investigation "made it very clear the NCAA needs to make substantive changes to the way we operate, and do so quickly." The commission will "meet starting next month and deliver recommendations to the boards that set the rules" for the NCAA in April. It will be chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The commission will "examine three broad areas." One is the NCAA's "fundamental regulatory arrangement, which requires colleges and universities to self-police and police one another." Another is the rules regarding "three interrelated institutions that were crucial to the scandal outlined by federal authorities: apparel companies, nonscholastic basketball programs and agents." The last is the NCAA's "relationship to the NBA." Emmert said, "We have a model at the NCAA that's predicated upon students wanting to be students -- that they want to be college students, they want to participate in a college experience, and they want to play college basketball -- and their desire to play in the NBA is subordinate to that. A model that forces somebody to go to college who has no interest in being in college is fundamentally flawed." Tracy notes Emmert "drew the line at changes to the amateur model." Emmert "declined to speak for the commission," but its members do "not include any public critics of amateurism, and some ... are outspoken supporters" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/12).
CHALLENGES FACING COMMISSION: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Andrew Beaton notes one "potential challenge for the commission is that not all of the issues are within the NCAA's purview." The "one and done" issue stems from an NBA rule "requiring players to be at least one year removed from high school in order to enter the draft." It is "not exactly clear what power the NCAA has to force a change" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/12). CBSSPORTS.com's Matt Norlander wrote this is "clearly a passion project for Emmert," who has "appointed every person -- including Rice -- to the committee." Emmert "no doubt sees this story of FBI covert surveillance and blockbuster exposure on the warts of major college basketball as one of the defining moments of his tenure as NCAA president" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/11). USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes the typical NCAA way is to "form a blue-ribbon panel exactly like this one, talk about the issues, then come up with a package of 'reforms' that win a 24-hour public relations victory but amount to almost nothing in changing the culture of a broken system." Unless the following issues are "addressed in a meaningful way, this committee will be nothing more than a photo op for Emmert and a bunch of college presidents who are typically clueless about the athletic enterprises they are supposed to oversee." First is "ownership of the grassroots basketball industry." Second is "loosening of agent rules." Third is an "overhaul of the NBA draft system," and last is "name, image and likeness rights" (USA TODAY, 10/12).
MORE POTENTIAL FALLOUT: In Kentucky, John Clay writes under the header, "Threat Of More Bombshells Hangs Over Start Of College Basketball Season." Clay: "This should be the time to celebrate. College basketball is starting." Instead, it is a "time of trepidation." A "dark cloud has appeared over the sport" and "no one is quite sure what will happen next." One report said that new charges "could be coming soon." And another said that as many as 40 to 50 coaches "could lose their jobs before this is through" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 10/12).