In response to Bob Kustra’s anger about what’s coming down the turnpike…
Boise State president Bob Kustra made noise last week with a scathing criticism of NCAA reforms. He said the NCAA has “ranged far afield” from the traditional amateur model because the five major conferences have hijacked the system to create “phony arguments about student welfare when the real goal of some of these so-called reformers is create a plutocracy that serves no useful purpose in American higher education.”
“I consider this period of time one of the historic moments that all of us are witnesses to — an evolutionary change where we put the student-athletes first and we build our philosophies on the student-athlete rather than the so-called level playing field,” Slive said. “I don’t know how this comes out, but I’m optimistic the evolution will continue.”
The “so-called level playing field”? I think that’s a polite way of saying “kiss my ass, Kustra”.
More significant is the acknowledgement that putting student-athletes first is a change of priorities. Slive can try to make his motives sound as noble as he’d like, but it sounds hollow to insist that all the changes being advocated now aren’t in response to the outside threats that the lawsuits and the unionization effort represent. Nevertheless, origins are increasingly less important going forward if the big conferences deliver on these promises.
The crucial matter is going to be accountability. Mike Slive is writing an awfully big check with his mouth. What’s being discussed now is just a start. What happens when he’s asked to cash that check to buy some new things student-athletes want?