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NCAA Prez Emmert Promises “A Lot Of Change” Over The Next Year

Penn State Abuse EmmertAs scandals break left and right (we say it’s because there’s more media digging around), with players uniting in the hopes of getting paid (we say no amount of cash will hush that chorus), and with the media calling for the outright toppling of the NCAA (we ask what the replacement would be), president Mark Emmert is promising a lot of change to the way his organization does business. 

And Emmert — speaking to more than 100 Division I faculty athletics representatives yesterday — says that change is coming soon, too:


“I’ve said publicly on a number of occasions that only thing everybody agrees on with Division I governance is that it doesn’t work.  I think the board anticipates a lot of change.  They’re going into their October and January meetings expecting to look at a whole different governance model for Division I.  So it will be significantly different.”


There was no word on whether Emmert stood and belted out this Sam Cooke classic post-speech.

While some still speculate that a number of big schools will completely break away from the NCAA in order to form their own “more perfect union,” we at believe a new super-division of those schools with the biggest athletic budgets remains the most likely outcome from all the recent shaking and quaking.  On more than one occasion we have tried to point out that the biggest schools are the NCAA and that they will first try to fix their ship before abandoning it.  Also, try to imagine the difficulty involved in creating an all new rule book, governance plan, and hierarchy that can be agreed upon by all the big conferences and the big and “small” schools in each.  Breaking away would require too much work, in our view, and for that reason it won’t be the final solution to this problem.

Emmert said yesterday: “To think that the president of the NCAA has ever been anything like the commissioner of baseball is ludicrous, but yet that would be the most popular perception I suspect that people have of what my job is.”  Yes, Emmert was trying to defend the job he’s done, but that doesn’t mean his statement is incorrect.  In fact, we would suggest that the NCAA as a whole — sometimes viewed by fans as a corrupt sheriff who’s ridden in and taken over a Wild West town — is less than all-powerful, too.  The schools and their representatives make up the NCAA.  The NCAA isn’t a dominating alien.  It is literally the schools themselves.  So if the schools have created the mess that is the NCAA, what faith should anyone have in a few of those bigger schools cooking up a better breakaway plan in the future?

At the risk of sounding like the Devil’s advocate, we at are even skeptical of a line published in the packet handed out to attendees at yesterday’s meeting: “The simpler the governance structure, the better.”  That sounds good, but it means one of two things.  Either the NCAA will now allow some amount of cheating to take place… or it will continue to add rules to its “simple” governance structure to close the loopholes that will no doubt open up with the launch of a newer, simpler system.  Meaning the new simpler plan won’t be simple for long.

As stated we believe a new super-division is coming in which the biggest schools can hand their players full-cost-of-tuition scholarships which will include some amount of spending cash.  But that cash will be deemed too small by players and media members alike.  “They’re making billions for the schools but all they get is an extra grand a semester?”   In addition, the governance plan for the new division will come under fire the very first time a scandal breaks (which will likely be about five minutes after the new plan is unveiled).

Emmert says a change is coming to Division I governance.  But we suspect today’s problems will simply be moved beneath a different shell.  There is no cleaning up college athletics and there is certainly no way to keep everyone happy.  So whatever changes are made — in today’s society — they won’t stand a chance of satisfying the populus.  That doesn’t mean an effort to improve things shouldn’t be made.  It just means any new plan will be sliced and diced same as the old plan.

In other words…


Charlie Wilson's war Zen Master and the little boy



A few years ago I couldn't persuade many of my friends that a football play-off was on the horizon. Now it is. Lately, I've tried to convince some of the same folks that the NCAA as we know it now, will either be killed off or will be radically changed. Oh, it may not happen this year, or the next, but it will happen. There is nothing new about the argument, it's been going on for years. The guy most responsible for the modern day NCAA is Walter Byers. Mr. Byers was the head of the NCAA from 1951 to 1988. A few years after his retirement, in 1995, he published a book, Unsportsrmanlike Conduct : Exploiting College Athletes.

“The college player cannot sell his own feet (the coach does that) nor can he sell his own name (the college will do that). This is the plantation mentality resurrected and blessed by today’s campus executives… Prosecutors and the courts, with the support of the public, should use antitrust laws to break up the collegiate cartel – not just in athletics but possibly in other aspects of collegiate life as well.” - Walter Byers, the first executive director of the NCAA (1951-1988)

Byers was responsible for negotiating the first television contracts. He was responsible for what we now call March Madness. He was the guy that created the term "student athlete" so the schools could not be liable for injuries suffered by players.

Folks should read his book.


Our favorite 1 word topic:  SCHEDULES!  What do you think their change(s) will be - if any?  As in, which many have tossed out there, non-conf. games only against those on the same level?  Or will that be each conference's call?


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