Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 229
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Arne Duncan Calls For New NCAA Model Amid Changing Landscape

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had the room buzzing on Day 1 of the '19 Learfield IMG College Intercollegiate Athletics Forum with his criticism of what he called NCAA’s outdated model. Duncan, co-chair of the Knight Commission, suggested that it’s time to think about restructuring the NCAA. For the major conferences, “where money is driving it, do you cut them loose? It’s a radical thought, I know, but you move them out of the NCAA and let them create their own semi-professional whatever.” Duncan went on to push back against the NCAA’s current direction, in which much of the policymaking for 1,100 institutions across three divisions is driven by the relative handful of schools at the top. “Just let them play by a different set of rules and be upfront about it and be honest about it,” Duncan said. “So many of the challenges of the NCAA are driven by those at the top. The big dogs have all the power. Candidly, the NCAA has been, as an institution, overwhelmed. And where I lost some faith was the scandals. One was at UNC, an academic scandal. What happened there for a decade or two is unconscionable. At the end of the day, the NCAA was impotent to have any impact. That was beyond stunning for me. … More recently you had the FBI become involved with a series of schools. It's interesting to me. It's always the assistant coaches who get in trouble and go to jail. It's never the head coaches. Again, when that happened, the NCAA was irrelevant -- on the outside looking in.”