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.