If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the NCAA is starting to feel a little bit of heat.
The NCAA president and Board of Governors appointed a working group today to examine issues highlighted in recently proposed federal and state legislation related to student-athlete name, image and likeness.
Of course, there’s no more tried and true method of putting things off than forming a working group. And in any event, this sounds like a tough barrier to surmount.
According to the board, the group will not consider any concepts that could be construed as payment for participation in college sports. The NCAA’s mission to provide opportunity for students to compete against other students prohibits any contemplation of pay-for-play.
“While the formation of this group is an important step to confirming what we believe as an association, the group’s work will not result in paying students as employees,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State senior vice president and athletics director and working group co-chair. “That structure is contrary to the NCAA’s educational mission and will not be a part of this discussion.”
As part of its efforts, the working group will study modifications of current rules, policies and practices. In particular, it will focus on solutions that tie any changes to education; maintain the clear demarcation between professional and college sports; and further align student-athletes with the general student body.
Not sure that’s gonna mollify many politicians, but then again, the word salad may be for the NCAA’s benefit if it’s forced to cave sometime down the line. One thing you can tell from that language is that the NCAA is deathly afraid of ceding an inch on non-educational compensation in the NLI arena because it might be the precursor to letting the direct school pay to play camel into the tent.
By the way, note that Morehead’s included in the working group. Todd Gurley just shook his head a little.