The smartest person working in collegiate sports?

Well, after reading all the chatter from movers and shakers in the wake of yesterday’s ratification of the NCAA’s new constitution, I know it’s not this guy.

In a study conducted by the NCAA, two-thirds of Power 5 executives believe a governance change is needed and suggestions include a Power 5 breakaway from D-I or an FBS breakaway from NCAA oversight. In fact, one anonymous SEC president wrote in the survey that the Power 5 “should be an organization unto itself” and leave the NCAA to manage everyone else.

“I think that would not be an ideal outcome,” says Jere Morehead, Georgia’s president, who sits on the transformation committee. “It’s possible we have a new subdivision,” he continues. “I will tell you that I don’t think it works well to have one D-I school with a budget of $10 million and another with a budget of $150 million and expect we can resolve those differences with some of the issues we have discussed.”

Gotta keep Emmert as a puppet head so nobody gets pissed at the folks pulling the strings, right, Jere?

Nah, I’m voting for Betsy Mitchell.  Who, you might ask?  She’s the athletic director at Cal Tech and with two quotes from yesterday showed she has an impressive intolerance for bullshit.

“Why are we still trying to stick together,” Betsy Mitchell, athletic director at CalTech.

Bingo!  Money is driving this particular train, so why should a place like CalTech seek common ground with a place like Georgia?  What’s the point?

If anyone knows the issues within the NCAA, it’s Betsy Mitchell.

She was an athlete at one of college athletics’ richest juggernauts, Texas, has been a coach at Division I’s lowest tier and now is the athletic director of one of the NCAA’s smallest schools, Division III Caltech. She intimately understands the disparities between the NCAA’s 1,000 member schools. And she’s got a suggestion to fix it.

“The commercial priorities of some members means they need to go do their own thing,” says Mitchell. “I kind of wish they would.”

As much as the Jere Moreheads of the college football world would like to pretend this is rocket science, it ain’t.  The real issue is that the Jere Moreheads of the college football world don’t want to admit how much commercial interests are at the heart of the NCAA’s current struggle.

College officials who spent the past few months collectively working to agree on a refined constitution say the most contentious of the issues centered, in no surprise, on money. Division I leaders decided to keep the amount of revenue it annually distributes to Division II and Division III despite the two lower tiers demanding a bigger cut. For years, they have split 8% of the revenue funds, roughly $80–100 million, mostly derived from the D-I men’s basketball tournament and used to operate D-II and D-III championships.

At times heated, the money debate was “the elephant in the room,” says ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, who is also a member of the NCAA’s constitution and transformation committees.

No matter how much they try to claim it’s all about the kids, it’s not.  And never will be.



Filed under The NCAA

9 responses to “The smartest person working in collegiate sports?

  1. It’s never been about the kids. College sports regardless of the level is about money, period. It’s just now the numbers at the top are mind-boggling. The Power 5 would leave the governance of the NCAA if they believed they could earn more from a slimmed-down men’s basketball tournament just like the NFL would form a minor league to compete with college football if they believed it would be profitable.


    • 79dawg

      Gotta disagree on never – the true obscene cash grab didn’t start until the late ’80s/early ’90s, and it took a while to filter down and through. Even living in McWhorter in the late ’90s, the athletes (i.e., football players) could still have a semi-normal college experience, which I don’t think any of them get today. Playing college football or basketball didn’t become a full-time job until then, IMO, and its been all downhill since….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gaskilldawg

        79, is that line of demarcation the University of Georgia and the University of Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling in the mid 1980s?


        • 79dawg

          That plus the rise of ESPN and its rapid expansion a short while later. We can quibble about chickens and eggs I suppose, but they are definitely mutually dependent and symbiotic.


  2. 79dawg

    In deep dark places they don’t talk about at cocktail parties, guys like Jere and Michael Adams, etc. ad nauseum secretly relish serving as GMs of semi-pro football and basketball teams – its a lot glitzier and easier than dealing with all that academic BS….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. atticus34

    Here’s my only issue, well one of my only. The coaches and players are getting more and more influence and in some cases its warranted. However, the fans are getting less and last I checked they are the ones footing the bill. That’s a problem. Similar thing happened to college basketball and now it sucks. If they don’t get a handle on how to manage all these issues with the portal and NIL and early signing day etc….I promise you the sport will suffer dramatically. It already has because the costs have skyrocketed exponentially for the fans, its not sustainable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s not that the college presidents are failing at managing this. It’s the incredible lack of self-awareness that they are utterly incapable of managing this that is astounding.


  5. poetdawg

    The mention of the Cal Tech AD reminded me of my days as an O-lineman for the Whittier College JV’s. We played the Cal Tech varsity and I remember looking up at the guy across from me and thinking that it would really suck if I gave this guy a concussion and he failed to discover a cure for cancer.

    The world of D-III and the world of D-I athletics is incredibly different; the Cal Tech AD is absolutely correct that they don’t have much in common. It always seemed to me that the NCAA was using D-III to pad its statistics on graduation and success rates.