Condi reconsiders.

“Just to be blunt about it, you don’t waste Condoleezza Rice’s time if you’re not serious about it…” — Mark Emmert

We saw some of this coming when, a few days after the commission she chaired filed its report, Rice expressed some exasperation with the lack of consistency in NCAA guidelines about compensation for student-athletes’ names, likenesses and images, but now she’s come out in full-blown retraction from the stand taken by the commission (and, by extension, the NCAA itself) regarding same.

And as soon as the legal framework is clear, developing a new policy on name, image and likeness. NCAA policy is inconsistent on this matter. Olympians already enjoy an exemption and there are other case-by-case exceptions. It should be possible to develop a legally compliant approach that allows student athletes from all sports to benefit.

She elaborated more fully here.

“We believe that students ought to be able to benefit from name, image and likeness but you can’t decide a program until you know the legal parameters,” Rice told USA TODAY Sports. “That was the point. I think some of the commentary suggested that we didn’t really speak on this issue. I think we did speak on this issue, it’s just that we understand there’s a legal framework that has to be developed first.”

Rice said she thought the commission’s report was “pretty clear” in its support of athletes being able to cash in once the various legal issues are resolved. But she maintains that the NCAA cannot do this while a pair of ongoing cases are pending.

“I think people may have looked at the fact that we said there’s a legal framework to be developed and said, ‘Oh, well, maybe they’re punting on this.’ Nobody was intending to punt on it.”

Yes, there’s some bullshit in that.  The commission tabled the question of adopting an Olympic model for player compensation because of current court cases, so there was no statement from them that students should benefit from same.  Condi’s being a little bit dodgy there.  But even if you accept her explanation, the litigation excuse is weak sauce.  There is nothing stopping the NCAA from changing the current prohibition against compensation for NLIs today — indeed, as Rice notes, part of her frustration lies in the exceptions already squeezing through that have no logical consistency.

“There is a legal framework that has to be determined, but name, image and likeness –athletes are going to have to be able to benefit from it,” she said. “I think everybody can see that. Exactly what that’s going to look like, I don’t think that we could design it. I don’t think that today the NCAA could design it because the legal framework still has to be developed. But when I see policies that are as confused as the NCAA’s policies on this, I think, ‘Why haven’t you gone and looked at this before?’ It’s really time to come to terms with name, image and likeness.”

The current NCAA rules, she said, “(are) just incomprehensible. And sometimes when something’s incomprehensible, you have to go ahead and say, ‘This is incomprehensible,’ which means it probably isn’t right. And I thought that in the report, we were pretty clear, that we think the framework doesn’t work.”

Rice is not alone. There are currently mixed signals about who can get paid as an athlete and who cannot. While Olympic swimming star Katie Ledecky of Stanford is one of the most recent to have to stop competing collegiately in order to start earning money, Notre Dame basketball star Arike Ogunbowale recently received a waiver from the NCAA that allowed her to make money as a participant on Dancing with the Stars. The NCAA said it was granting the waiver because the show was unrelated to her basketball abilities.

Rice isn’t buying it.

“I couldn’t for the life of me understand the explanation,” she said, “because obviously she’s there because she hit two winning shots in two basketball games (in the women’s Final Four), so that’s the connection.”

I do give her credit for being forthright about her frustration there.  And especially with this:

“I would hope that what the NCAA is going to do is they’re going to take this moment, once they know what the legal framework is, and they are going to recognize that this has got to benefit athletes. Here I really stand with the athletes on this. It makes sense for the NCAA to have a legally justifiable framework that works, and currently the framework doesn’t work.”

That being said — and this is the part that the cynic in me expects to hear at any moment — she’s just tossed a lifeline to Emmert’s crew with that phony excuse.  The NCAA will be happy to take the stance that its heart is in the right place, but until those awful lawsuits are resolved, its poor ol’ hands are tied.  Hey, kids, if you want to blame somebody, blame those damned lawyers you hired.  In the meantime, pay no attention to how much the schools are raking in without sharing.

These people suck.

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23 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

23 responses to “Condi reconsiders.

  1. Got Cowdog

    I don’t know …….
    What was CR’s background in athletics before she was appointed to this commission? Any at all? The bits and pieces of this that I see (almost all in these posts) make it seem like she’s trying to get her head around it and not liking the picture she’s seeing. What authority does her commission have to force change in NCAA policy if any?

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    • None, but I think the Senator’s point is that she’s part of the establishment in that she’s a former provost and current faculty member and has been a CFP committee member. Not exactly free of conflicts of interest.

      I know a number of commenters appear to hate her because of her politics, but she is the epitome of the American Dream raised in the segregated south to become provost of one of America’s great universities to become the first black woman to be SecState … and one of the first women admitted to ANGC (I’m jealous).

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      • Got Cowdog

        Thanks for filling in the blanks on her background. Not exactly free of COI, to be sure, but also speaks the language. I’ve kind of been a fan of hers for the reasons you gave and would like to see her remain a “good guy”.

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    • GC, I think it’s pretty clear Emmert thought he was getting window dressing to take the steps he wants to take in response to the criminal investigation of CBB.

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      • Got Cowdog

        I agree, but I also hope “thought he was getting” is operative here.

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      • David Chadwick

        She is admitting the current sisuation is a total mess and wrong. Think Emmert or his cronies would ever do that? She also realises turning a battleship takes time. I think that’s part of her reasoning for the soft-pedaling. She knows if it were up to Indy nothing would change unless the litigation forced it.

        She’s on the right track and that means she’s not on the same page with Emmert. That’s a good thing.

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        • Emmert’s admitting the current situation is a mess.

          Recognizing that isn’t the heavy lifting here. It’s proposing solutions that fit the real world that is.

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          • David Chadwick

            I think the difference is it’s lip-service with Emmert and he has no intention of promoting change until the gun is held to his head. In his universe things are as they should be, until the pistol is cocked. I feel Rice is getting her bearings and looking with objectivity of some measure after her recent statements.

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        • An alternate theory: maybe Condi wants Emmert’s job?

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          • Got Cowdog

            If that’s the case, maybe the difference is that Emmert admits the current situation is a mess, but he’s not making any effort to change it because it benefits he and his cronies. Maybe Rice will be the crusader who does the “heavy lifting”. It would certainly be a big bright feather in her cap if she does.

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          • Argondawg

            She is eminently more competent than he is. Her in that chair is preferable to him. She is not totally on the side of the athletes but she is a helluva lot farther down the tracks than most of the NCAA.

            Liked by 1 person

          • David Chadwick

            I could see that. I’d like think she couldn ‘t be worse, but I know better.

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            • Got Cowdog

              Emmert as the NCAA is a pidgeon for the conferences. IMO, if he was replaced by someone with a more liberal bent in the context of who gets paid, its not likely that person will be successful at instituting significant change without some sort of “legal framework” with which to support it. Hence the use of the canard the Senator mentions below. Until the cases are settled it’s easy for the NCAA to shrug and say “We don’t need to do anything until these dispositions provide direction”.
              I think I’ve managed to answer my original question with a no. Condoleeza Rice does not have the juice to make the NCAA change policy from where she sits and the NCAA isn’t going to share their golden eggs unless someone makes them. They sure as hell don’t want a crusader like Rice (if she is one) running the show so even if she did want Emmert’s job they’d never let her have it.

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  2. Comin' Down The Track

    Call me selfish, but I just want this all to get resolved with the endgame of me being able to play EA Sports NCAA Football for Playstation® again someday. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    She thinks there needs to be a ‘legal framework’ in order for name, image and likeness rules to devised where they are not ‘incomprehensible’. Sounds reasonable, but here is where the weak sauce is exposed: there are two legal cases pending and that is a perfect situation for the NCAA to negotiate settlements and negotiate the very framework she thinks is needed. She should have said that.

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    • There is literally nothing stopping the NCAA and schools from changing the amateurism rules this very moment. The legal framework excuse is a canard.

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      • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

        Sure, but my point was that even if they think they need a legal framework, this is the perfect opportunity get one and to have some input on how the framework is made. It’s stupid not to settle.

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      • ASEF

        Slightly disagree.

        If you reduce it to a binary – 1. Multiple layers of universities fighting over uniform policy changes or 2. Let the courts impose policy for you – then I wonder if some within the NCAA actually see the legal process as the easier of the two paths.

        Not saying that’s the best way of looking at it or even a bright way of looking at it, but a big reason the NCAA is so incoherent is because its membership is so incoherent: (Short-sighted + Everyone pulling in a different direction)Greedy

        How do you bring coherency, much less fairness, to that?

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