The biggest takeaways from Wednesday morning’s meeting in Indianapolis–Clean up the sport or suffer some very dire consequences
Led by former Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice, the independent 12 member Commission came up with several bold measures to clean up men’s college basketball as we know it.
From articles that I read both on the Associated Press webpage and what Seth Davis reported on The Athletic website, there were a few takeaways on what will be done in the short term and long term.
They include these dramatic recommendations:
- In an attempt to rid the sport of “failed accountability” (remember that college football is run entirely different), the Commission recommended that the NCAA should have more involvement with players while in high school and less involvement with enforcement of those rules. But as NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert mentioned after the meeting that “pay for play” will not be the model, nor it ever was the right thing to do.
- The “one and done” rule adopted in 2006 by the NBA will hopefully be revised. However, if the NBA and NBPA refuse to change their rules for next basketball season, it would plan on reconvening and consider other options for the NCAA, such as going back to the late 1960’s when Lew Alcidor was ineligible to play as a freshmen or maybe locking a scholarship for three or four years if the recipient decides to leave school after a single year of playing. The 12 member Commission is going to try and take a page out of the baseball model by recommending that basketball players be allowed to test the professional market while in high school or after the college season is completed, while still maintaining their college eligibility. If the player declares for the NBA Draft but is undrafted in late June, that college player would remain eligible as long as he requests an evaluation from the NBA and returns to that same school. But similar to when we see some players leaving college entirely for professional careers after one year, the rules would not totally compel them to do so on that front.
- The current rule of enforcement needs to change big time. According to the report, they hope to adopt more steeper penalties which include a five-year postseason ban coupled with the loss of postseason revenue sharing for Level I violations. It would also allow lifetime bans against individuals given show-case orders and yearlong bans on visits for any recruiting violations.On the topic regarding “individual accountability,” such as requiring contracts for athletics officials to include cooperation with investigations and allow for NCAA discipline up to termination for violations. Meanwhile, annual “due diligence” reports will be mandatory for college presidents, athletics directors and coaches to certify that they were conducted and properly followed through to a “T”–albeit not easy and very subjective. In the case of last fall involving the University of North Carolina, they were found scot-free of any academic fraud because the Commission determined that by-laws made the institutions set up their own rules in determining how to conduct their coursework.
- The role of agents is not going to change in general, but the way they do business hopefully will change.
- The NCAA, with support from the NBA and USA Basketball, should have their own recruiting sessions during the summer, while taking on a more serious approach to certifying events they have no control over.
The NCAA should require greater transparency of all finances of what it called ‘non-scholastic basketball events’. Coaches will be banned from attending sycg events that do not comply with more stringent vetting, according to the report. If enacted, this particular ban could wipe out AAU events that were once a diamond gem in discovering future talent every summer.
- The biggest statement from the report is that the Commission is calling for greater financial transparency from all apparel and shoe companies. The ‘Big Three’ of Nike, Under Armour and Adidas have very extensive financial relationships with several dozen colleges and coaches are getting paid hundreds of millions of dollars. At the same time, Adidas had two former executives charged by federal prosecutors in New York in the corruption case.The commission also called out all university presidents, saying administrators on all levels can’t be allowed to turn any blind eye to infractions.
To that end, the commission mentioned that all university presidents should be required to “certify annually that they have conducted due diligence and that their athletic programs comply with NCAA rules.”
Easier said than done.The commission also recommended that the NCAA Board of Governors, currently comprised of 16 university presidents and chancellors add five members from the public giving them full voting privileges who are not currently employed as university leaders on campus.
The final points the Commission stated in the report called out any and all schools and individuals within college sports who are using the NCAA as a scapegoat for the problems in basketball, they basically have told all universities and individuals that they will be held accountable for keeping the game and the sport as clean as possible.
“When those institutions and those responsible for leading them short-circuit rules, ethics and norms in order to achieve on-court success, they alone are responsible. Too often, these individuals hide behind the NCAA when they are the ones most responsible for the degraded state of intercollegiate athletics, in general, and college basketball in particular.”
Bottom line is, bold change is coming. This was a landmark day in the history of the NCAA. Once Condaleeza Rice delivered her public remarks, she along with the 12 Commission members went behind closed doors with members of the NCAA’s Board of Governors and Board of Directors.
What’s next, you wonder? They are all scheduled to have a discussion on all of the Commission’s proposals, but voting will not take place until later on in the summer–hopefully sometime in August. Emmert has said numerous times to the media that he hopes a new package of legislation will be voted on during the summer and could be implemented before the start of the 2018-19 college basketball season in November.
Some of these recommendations may take years to be fully implemented, but I am so glad that change is coming. No longer we will see the NCAA move at an archaic pace. As long as we the public know what is going on with the shoe companies dealings and how the coaches try their best in recruiting quality talent to shape their rosters–and at the same time, try to keep the universities staying afloat financially speaking, these will be interesting times to monitor.
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