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Volume 24 No. 239
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Did NCAA Go Far Enough With Reforms For College Hoops?

The NCAA basketball reforms unveiled yesterday show the organization "refuses to acknowledge the primary reason college sports got into this mess in the first place -- a lack of nuanced rules related to compensation for the use of a student-athlete's likeness, image and name -- everything else feels insufficient," according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. This continues to "feel like the organization is cutting its toenails to heal a broken foot" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/9). USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes the NCAA is very "adept at splashy announcements laden with buzzwords like 'reform' and 'action' but has been very poor over the years at making changes that actually change anything." There is "only so much the NCAA can do as long as it is tied to the rigid definition of its amateur model." Wolken: "No matter how hard the NCAA tries, it can’t really stop capitalism" (USA TODAY, 8/9). In DC, Troy Machir wrote the NCAA changes are a "step in the right direction but still are yet to lack real substance." Machir: "More window-dressing, less real change" (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 8/8). In N.Y., Howie Kussoy writes under the header, "New College Basketball Rules Unveiled -- But Do They Fix Anything?" (N.Y. POST, 8/9).

WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY? In N.Y., Carron Phillips writes the NCAA is "taking a bow," but "don’t get it twisted, because while this is awesome, the elephant in the room hasn’t been addressed." Phillips: "These kids still ain’t getting paid." All of these things are "great and will help clean up the sport in a major way." But, for as "good as all this feels right now in the moment, it still doesn’t put any money into the pockets of the people who have made the NCAA a billion-dollar non-profit organization" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/9). THE RINGER's Danny Chau wrote under the header, "The NCAA's Bold Attempt To Shake Up College Basketball Only Creates More Questions" (THERINGER.com, 8/8). THE ATHLETIC's Dana O'Neil wrote the NCAA "stopped short -- well short -- of abandoning its amateurism model, which is really the crux of the whole thing." But anyone who thought the Commission on College Basketball "would go there is fooling himself." Without amateurism, the NCAA is "essentially an events planner" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/8). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote under the header, "Don't Be Fooled By NCAA's Smoke-And-Mirrors Rule Changes ... This Was A Power Grab." This here is a "doubling down on the NCAA rule book that holds the concept of amateurism sacred ... at least to college athletics’ bottom line." Wetzel: "Don’t buy the hype, the spin or the few common-sense concessions that were long overdue" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/8). Louisville-based WDRB-Fox' Rick Bozich tweeted, "The NCAA doesn't have the horses to monitor coaches. Now it's going to police agents, too? Another fancy but ineffective attempt at skating around the #1 debate: Paying the players" (TWITTER.com, 8/9).

TOO SLOW: ESPN’s Trey Wingo: “This is the problem with the NCAA. They are not progressive, they are reactionary” ("Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio, 8/9). ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt said, “I picture the NCAA like a company that has no idea, and maybe no concern, how it's perceived in the marketplace. … They convince themselves that these ideas are fantastic, sure to be well-received. They unveil them to the world with a big, ‘Ta-da,’ and then people look at them sideways and go, ‘This is the plan, huh?’ … This whole thing feels like a PR release that didn't connect the dots on all the questions that all these supposedly ground-breaking initiatives would create.” ESPN’s Jay Bilas added, “It's just one mess being traded for another mess” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 8/9). ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne: “This doesn’t go nearly far enough. There are a lot of loopholes here that [are] maybe even more problematic” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 8/8). ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said, “Instead of taking these tiny little steps to adjust some of the symptoms, you have to address the disease” (“Get Up!,” ESPN, 8/9).

ON THE LOOKOUT: ESPN.com's Myron Medcalf writes the rule change that undrafted players can return to school "isn't a huge deal." It will "impact only a handful of players." Medcalf: "How is agent certification going to work? ... What will the NCAA's certification process entail? Who gets to decide the standards for a good agent and a corrupt agent?" With these changes the NCAA has "added to its enforcement arsenal." This should "terrify every program attached to the FBI scandal." The NCAA is "no longer powerless to act based on the findings of a separate entity, which would greatly add to its enforcement powers." The NCAA thinks it has "taken control of the entire scene." But the NCAA has only "moved the pieces on this vast chess board." Cheaters "will still cheat." The commission "didn't solve any problems" (ESPN.com, 8/8). CBSSPORTS.com's Reid Forgrave wrote the rule changes are, "mostly, good things." These are "first steps, but they are not particularly big steps." With the exception of the rule changes "relating to the investigation of rule-breakers and the enforcement of NCAA bylaws, these rule changes should never be marketed as 'profound and meaningful'" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/8).

WILL AGENT RULES WORK? USA Today's Wolken: "It seems clear the 'agent' rule will be much ado about nothing." CBS Sports' Gary Parrish: "Anybody who understands the details knows it won’t stop agents from cheating to secure prospects and thus doesn’t really accomplish anything of significance." ESPN's Jay Bilas: "This is largely meaningless window dressing. ... So, we only 'care' about top rated guys?" ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the NCAA "declaring its own rule changes for early entry legislation that hasn't even been agreed upon between the NBA/NBPA feels like little more than a PR stunt -- and a way to mask NCAA's refusal to address true core issues of amateurism model." Sports lawyer Warren Zola: "The @NCAA is still propping up an antiquated concept of #amateurism ... However, this is a step towards acknowledging the needs of players to make an informed decision when transitioning to the @NBA." Louisville-based WDRB-Fox' Eric Crawford: "Summing up today’s reforms by the NCAA: A last attempt to keep the lid on its amateurism and enforcement challenges. (Spoiler: I don’t think it’ll work.)." NBA Kings G De'Aaron Fox: "Congratulations NCAA! You’ve gotten worse 😂😂😂 At least you’ve finally admitted it’s about money."