When NCAA President Mark Emmert and the voting body of NCAA presidents passed recruiting reform measures a few months back it was hailed as a long overdue move by fans and many in the media. Unfortunately, most athletic directors and coaches — at least those not overseeing the richest of rich football programs — felt that the NCAA and its presidents had gone too far, too fast, without consulting any of the people who actually make their living on the front lines, where these rule changes would be felt.
As a result, those pages on recruiting that were ripped from the NCAA rule book — with Emmert playing the role of Mr. Keating from “Dead Poets Society” — were taped right back into the tome just a few months later.
So now Emmert is taking a different approach. The always-under-fire prez announced this weekend that he will form a council of 10 athletic directors who will meet with him regularly. Rather than leaving rule book changes to the college presidents, Emmert’s new council of ADs will weigh in and advise as well.
“It’s clear right now where the association has gone, it’s pushed the pendulum too far in one direction. And it really has cut athletic directors out of the national discussion.”
That’s probably not a good thing considering the fact that colleges and universities set up the NCAA to govern, ya know, athletics.
Obviously, there will still be checks and balances. The NCAA won’t — and shouldn’t — allow a pack of athletic directors to undermine overall academic concerns. Most likely, the presidents will still have the final say on issues, with the new panel of ADs providing advice.
Ah, but the big question is: Which schools’ athletic directors will take part?
The NCAA must govern over — in football — the FBS subdivision, the FCS subdivision, Division II and Division III. Will all four classifications be represented on Emmert’s panel or will there be a separate panel for each division?
If Emmert sets out to convene people from only the FBS level, smaller-budgeted schools will likely howl in protest. Obviously, the five richest conferences of the FBS level (ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12 and SEC) all have their own agendas. Representative ADs from those leagues would likely push for full-cost-of-tuition scholarships and perhaps an entirely new subdivision at the top end of the Division I, above the FCS and even the FBS.
If Emmert decides to indeed include athletic directors from every level, expect the richest conferences to complain. “Why should someone from Mount Union have a say in how Alabama, Texas and Ohio State run their programs and spend their money?”
Those scenarios — and there are many more — show once again just how impossible NCAA reform truly is. And before anyone shouts, “Yeah, down with the NCAA,” please remember that no one’s come up with a better alternative yet.
Conferring with the ADs of the Round Table sounds good, but so did the idea of NCAA reform and wholesale changes to the NCAA’s rule book. Obviously, the problems lie in the execution of these ideas, not the ideas themselves.
For that reason, we at MrSEC.com will temper our expectations for Emmert’s new team of athletic directors.