Only the five wealthiest conferences could debate what a day off means for their employees … er, “amateur” athletes. Before the Power Five passed some sensible rules Friday to loosen up athletes’ time a little bit, some amendments were proposed by the adults.
USA Today reported one amendment, which overwhelmingly failed, would have allowed athletes to host a recruit on their day off provided they gave prior consent. Another amendment, which closely passed, allows life-skill activities to be held on athletes’ off days. Some player representatives at the NCAA Convention weren’t buying the amendments, recognizing how the system was trying to control days off for unpaid players who are supposedly students first.
The integrity of the day off? Son, wait ’til you get married and are presented with your first Saturday honey-do list. But I digress.
The NCAA actually posted this quote from a student-athlete on its web site announcing the votes, which tells you the degree of disconnect that still exists. Control, baby!
“It’s about owning your time. Coaches need to understand that student-athletes aren’t on call at all times,” Darlington said. “This is about changing the perception of coaches: Our time is our time.”
Good luck with that. Because… well, you know the because.
What remains untouched: The number of games and when/where they are played. If NCAA members really want to make athletes closer to traditional students, play fewer 9 p.m. games on a Tuesday night a couple hours away from your campus. But that won’t happen because this is pro sports masked as amateur.
“We all know games are the elephant in the room, especially basketball,” said one Power Five athletic director, who asked to remain anonymous.
“I agree it’s an issue,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “I think that’s a more complex, sport-by-sport set of discussions we may have in the future. I think in this first round of time demands legislation we’re focusing around the practice schedules.”
“You mean we should be the adults in the room and play fewer games?” quipped another anonymous Power Five AD. “We can try to make amends where we can that helps. But the travel for all the games really is what changes their lives. The games seem to be sacred among the athletes.”
Hey, as long as you’ve got a sense of humor about it, it’s all good, amirite?
And on a similar note, Eleven Warriors argues that if the NCAA is all about student-athlete welfare when it comes to extending the season with a second bye week, giving those young bodies more time to heal during all those weeks of play, why not go further and return to an eleven-game schedule?
As I said, as long as you’ve got a sense of humor about it, it’s all good.