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Further Proof That A New Division – Not A Breakaway – Is Coming

gfx - honest opinionFor a quarter of a century, sports fans and media members have chattered about colleges and universities breaking away from the NCAA to form a new organization with a new governing body.  But since this site launched in May 2008 we’ve said there will not be a full-scale secession.

The reason?  There is no way 65-80 rich schools with different interests from different parts of the country could agree upon a new rule book, a new org chart, or very much of anything else.

Consider the Confederate States of America.  Once the Southern states broke away, their governments fought hard to avoid giving CSA president Jefferson Davis any real centralized power.  After all, it was the centralized power of the federal government that had led them to secede.  But without strong centralized power in the Confederacy, you had the governor of North Carolina hoarding uniforms from needy troops of other states.  You had the governor of Georgia threatening to secede again, this time from the CSA.  It was an experiment doomed to fail.  As Davis himself said, “If the Confederacy fails, there should be written on its tombstone: Died of a Theory.”

Well, theoretically, a new body to replace the NCAA sounds well in good.  But it couldn’t be created and even if it could, it would wind up having many of the same problems of college sports’ current governing body.

In fact, a confederacy of conferences is more likely than a brand new “NCAA II.”  Imagine five or six separate conferences, all with their own rule books, agreeing on occasion to meet in bowl games.  Even something that nonsensical is more likely to occur than everyone agreeing on a grand new sporting government.

Today, Dennis Dodd of tackles the recent shootdown of the NCAA’s proposed changes to its rule book.  You know, the much-discussed alterations that would have erased entire pages of recruiting regulations from the NCAA’s current tome of laws.

Pay attention to Dodd’s words:


“Twenty-five pages.  They couldn’t even agree on that.

That’s what would have been cut out of the 426-page NCAA Manual if everything proposed by the Rules Working Group for football had gotten through last week.  Twenty-five pages or 5.8 percent.  And they couldn’t even agree on that.

They can’t agree on much of anything these days as the NCAA attempts to rewire itself.  Rewiring is more commonly called reform and it has been going on forever.  It is needed because that manual is 426 pages.  We can thank every coach/booster/player who ever though of a new and devious way to cheat for the book’s thickness.”


Now, the rest of Dodd’s piece is interesting, but for our purposes you’ve seen enough.  If NCAA leadership, presidents and athletic directors can’t get on the same page regarding a few edits to the existing rule book, what makes anyone think that these same presidents and athletic directors could find enough middle ground to form a whole new organization from scratch?

Look, the next time you read something about schools breaking away from the NCAA, just roll your eyes.  It is not going to happen.

What is going to happen — and what’s already happening — is the richest football-playing schools will break away from the poorest football-playing schools and carve out a new fifth division at the top of the NCAA food chain.  That snow ball is already rolling downhill and picking up momentum as it goes.

A new super-division, not a new NCAA.

On that everyone should be able to agree.


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Another Day, Another NCAA Release On Proposed Rule Tweaks… And Another Reason No One Will Break Away From The NCAA

bureaucracyEarlier today we told you that the NCAA board of directors would discuss in May three of the proposals unveiled in January to deregulate recruiting.  Today… May… January.  But wait, in typical NCAA fashion, the story has gotten more confusing.

As of today, the NCAA has updated yesterday’s announcement with a brand new one.  The latest press release states that the rules working group has now recommended to the Division I board that two of its January proposals be modified.

The rules working group recommendations:


* Proposal No. RWG-11-2 (which eliminated the definition of recruiting coordination functions that must be performed only be a head or assistant coach) be suspended until appropriate modifications can be made.  “The concept will be considered as the membership ponders its approach to non-coaching personnel.”

* Proposal No. RWG-13-5-A (which eliminated restrictions on printed materials sent to prospects other than general correspondence) be suspended to allow for a broader discussion of the rule.


You might notice that good ol’ Proposal No. RWG 13-3 — mentioned by us earlier today — no longer appears as a possible NCAA discussion point.  The reason?


“Because the working group agreed to suspend Prop. No. RWG-11-2, members felt that action addressed many of the concerns with Prop. No. RWG-13-3, which eliminated restrictions governing modes and numerical limits on recruiting communication.

Suspending RWG-11-2 will eliminate the fears about having an unlimited number of staff members contacting prospects an unlimited number of times. When it initially proposed the rule change, the Rules Working Group believed the rule change acknowledged both the increased use of text-messaging by prospects over the last several years and the growing difficulty of distinguishing between text messages, email and messages sent through social media. The rule also is expected to relieve a significant monitoring burden from the shoulders of compliance administrators.

The working group members continue to believe that over-communication with recruits will ultimately be ineffective in the recruiting process and that the rule will encourage increasingly technology-savvy recruits to tell coaches the best way to communicate with them.

Working group members noted that football coaches are currently permitted to make an unlimited number of telephone calls to prospects during the fall contact period, which runs from late November until the Saturday prior to the National Letter of Intent signing day in February.  Given this, the practical impact of RWG-13-3 will be to permit unlimited calls for only a few additional months. 

The group members also noted that coaches are already permitted to send an unlimited number of emails or other direct messages on various social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook), so deregulation in this area provides consistency and simplifies the legislation.

Men’s basketball has operated without numerical or mode restrictions on recruiting contacts for nearly a year, and all feedback has been positive. Believing some of the concerns have been allayed, the working group agreed to recommend that the Board not take action to modify RWG-13-3 so that the benefits of the rule can be realized.”


Proposal No. RWG-13-3 will undergo a review after two years, according to the NCAA’s website.  At least that’s the plan today.

This situation involving a mere three proposed rule changes should show everyone just how silly the idea of schools breaking away from the NCAA is.

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NCAA Says It Will Reconsider Some Proposed Controversial Rule Changes

backtrack-signYesterday, the NCAA backtracked.

Several proposed changes to the governing body’s recruiting rules announced in January are now back on the table and up for discussion at the NCAA board of directors’ meeting in May.

Many coaches, athletic directors, and even entire conferences have expressed concerns over the proposed deregulation and the NCAA presidents who initially OK’d those measures have listened.  Three rules in particular will get a second look:


* Proposal No. RWG-11-2:  Would eliminate the definition of recruiting coordination functions that must be performed only by a head or assistant coach.

* Proposal No. RWG-13-3:  Would eliminate restrictions governing modes and numerical limitations on recruiting communication.

* Proposal N. RWG-13-5-A:  Would eliminate restrictions on printed material sent to prospective students.


According to the NCAA’s own press release on the matter:


“Some in the membership expressed concern about the possible adverse impact the changes would have on college coaches, administrators and university resources, in addition to the impact on prospects and their families. Some coaches and administrators are concerned that deregulation in this area will lead to a recruiting arms race that will overwhelm prospects, college coaches and athletics department budgets.

With the hope of providing feedback and recommended actions to the Board of Directors in advance of their May meeting, the Rules Working Group will discuss the concerns identified by those in the membership.”


Tennessee football coach Butch Jones might have summed up the situation better than anyone when he said last month: “We have a speed limit for a reason.  Law enforcement agencies don’t say, ‘Well, we can’t enforce the speed limit, so we’re going to do away with it.”

Of the proposals mentioned above, there are fears that allowing anyone to recruit via phone/text/email (proposal RWG-11-2) will lead schools to hire new staff members or — amazingly — farm out such duties to call centers.  Several schools have already hired new personnel to aid in recruiting.

There are fears that coaches and recruits will be communicating around the clock and across the calendar if all limits are removed (proposal RWG-13-3).

There are also concerns that schools’ budgets will balloon as they print more recruiting materials and ship them out to numerous prospects (proposal RWG-13-5-A).

In May, the board of directors will have to decide whether to table those proposals for good or just until a more in-depth review is conducted.


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