Well, maybe not so much when it comes to pedophilia, but academics? Hells, yeah!
If you really want to get a handle on how cramped this approach is, check out this baby step:
McDavis said in a recent interview with The Associated Press the committee has already agreed that any time a coach or paid member of the school’s athletic staff is involved in an academic-misconduct case the NCAA should be involved.
Too bad nobody’s paying players to work hard in the classroom. The NCAA would be all over that shit in a New York minute.
It sounds like Jim Delany’s got some convincing to do.
Hard to argue with any of that. But if the Big Ten thinks it knows best, I’m sure Slive won’t object to that conference going its own way on the matter.
Kinda funny to hear that sort of defense from the NCAA after Mark Emmert moved heaven and earth to penalize Penn State.
Maybe freshman ineligibility will fix this.
Andy Staples tries to be fair-minded about Delany’s stance on freshman ineligibility, but here’s where the buck stops:
… Unfortunately for Delany, reality has shifted since 1966. Back then, college sports were a business but not a multibillion-dollar business. Coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners in the most powerful leagues made decent enough wages by the standard of the day, but nowhere near the megabucks they make now. No commissioner would have envisioned that he’d be the de facto head of a cable television network.
But that’s what Delany is now. He has made millions off college athletics. He created the Big Ten Network. He will be the one watching as ESPN and FOX trip over one another to throw money at the Big Ten when its first-tier media rights become available next year. In fact, it’s easy to argue no one is more responsible for turning college sports into the cutthroat business it is today than Delany. It also doesn’t help that Delany and his fellow commissioners needed a host of federal lawsuits to convince them to give the football and basketball players whose efforts produce all of the money their first raise—if you can call the cost-of-attendance stipends coming down the pipe a raise—since the 1940s. When an administrator suggests anything that appears to take something away from the athletes upon whom the business is built, he will be accused of having ulterior motives.
Particularly when said administrator has a track record of overstating his case. And when his latest stand is conveniently limited to the two sports which generate the main part of college athletics revenue, that doesn’t help.
Another thing Staples touches on that deserves more attention is what the end game of returning to a model where freshman football and men’s basketball student-athletes couldn’t see the field would look like.
… The idea is that players would have fewer responsibilities as freshmen and would have more time to acclimate to college life and college classes. The most pie-in-the-sky model would severely limit the amount of time the athletic programs could require of their freshmen. Yet the truth is no matter what the rules say coaches would still force players to do everything except play in the games. So, realistically, the players would miss out on the most fun part of being an athlete and only get a few hours back in return. That’s hardly a fair trade. Plus, most coaches would want to field freshman teams that would then play one another. That’s what happened before 1972, and it would probably happen again.
Given that we live in a world of “voluntary” summer practices and 20-hour per week limitations that are conveniently worked around, I think that’s spot on. Most of these kids aren’t enrolling at State U for the chance to become Rhodes Scholars, and their coaches aren’t expecting that either. They need those kids preparing for their sophomore years on the field. If all ineligibility boils down to is these kids having a few extra hours on their hands on a few Saturday afternoons in the fall, it’s hard to see how that magically translates into full-blown scholarhood. But maybe those of you who think Delany’s on to something here can explain how it would help more.
Maybe somebody at the NCAA can explain how this isn’t a textbook case of lack of institutional control, because, for the life of me, I sure as hell can’t. (h/t)
Boy, if you think I’m cynical about the “let’s do it for the kids’ academics” angle being pitched in some quarters as a justification for reinstating freshman ineligibility, I don’t hold a candle to what’s expressed in this piece. I bring that up because there’s a quote in it worth highlighting:
Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said he believes in the NCAA policy that prohibited freshmen participation before a 1972 reversal.
“I, for one ,as a Big Ten AD, am tired of being used as a minor league for professional sports,” Burke said. “What was right for the NCAA in the first 70 years of its history, maybe we ought to go back and say, ‘What’s changed?’”
Among Big Ten leaders, he said, a consensus exists to “get education back on the proper platform.”
For those of you who buy the sentiment, here’s a question. Prior to 1972, were student-athletes’ collegiate academic performances superior to what they are now?
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby made about $2.5 million in total compensation last year. The amount of money doesn’t really bother me; in the context of what CEOs make these days, that amount doesn’t strike me as being out of line for someone running an operation that’s returning almost $20 million a year to each of his bosses.
But I do have a question. What’s he being paid for? He’s running a sports league. His job requires that he manage the organization of the conference, but, let’s face it, what he’s being paid for is to maximize that revenue stream. That’s what the TV contracts, conference expansion and input into the CFP are all about (okay, maybe he didn’t do such a bang up job in the last department).
You know what Bowlsby isn’t paid for? He’s not paid for academics. He doesn’t teach. He doesn’t set curriculums. He doesn’t decide what priorities a given member school sets in how it allocates its academic budget, even. Nor does he lobby a state government or a board of regents for resources.
He runs a sports league. He cuts deals to make money. That’s basically it.
So why does anyone care what the likes of Bob Bowlsby or Jim Delany has to say about the academic experience of freshman athletes? The answer is, that’s only relevant in so far as how it affects their primary responsibility. It’s a means to an end, nothing more.