Archive for January, 2012

Peter’s Points

Posted: January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Peter Roby, Director of Athletics for Northeastern University, to discuss his take on NCAA reform and the different legislations around stipends. Roby is on the Administrative Cabinet for the NCAA and will be meeting with the committee in San Antonio, Texas in February. I wanted some first hand opinions on the topic and I figured, what better way to go about this than asking Peter himself. Here’s how it went:

DI: So how does the committee you’re on work and how is it involved in NCAA reform?

PR: One of its major responsibilities is that it approves the appointments of members to other committees within the NCAA structure and it has some juice to it which is good. You can say in some ways it has some impact on reform because you want to make sure there is a representative cross section of the membership that’s sitting on these committees that is reflective of the bodies in all ways. I think the other thing you can’t lose sight of is that by being a member in a conference you have a voice as well in respect to reform. So typically when there is legislation that is being considered they ask all the members through their conference office to weigh in with what they feel about that legislation before it even gets put for vote to the full body. So there’s a period of time where you get to weigh in with comment and that’s why people were as upset as they were with the stipend legislation because the process was different than usual. The president of the NCAA called for a retreat last summer and brought together a number of college presidents, commissioners and athletic directors to have discussions about these issues. They made recommendations that went right to the Division 1 Board of Directors without it going through the typical vetting process of the legislation that usually happens. So when these things got fast tracked people were saying, “Wow, there’s a lot of implications here”. So the good news is there is a mechanism in place to override it and we did.

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Show Me The Money

Posted: January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

The NCAA released their first package of reforms which include differences in scholarship opportunities as well as eligibility requirements. Now that we know the basics of the first package, we should take a step back and look at why reform is so appealing. “Let’s Start Paying College Athletes” is a great article written by Joe Nocera of The New York Times. His insight and reasoning for reform make it nearly impossible to disagree.

Nocera’s five elements are his idea of a “realistic plan” to reform the thought-to-be hypocritical makeup of the NCAA. The first element—a modified free market approach to recruiting college players—is his more professional way of saying, “Just pay the athletes already!” Having a salary cap as his second element offers the idea that coaches can strategize their recruiting tactics in a way to bait the star players to sign a bigger contract. Nocera’s third element? An old fashion incentive. If an athlete stays in school for four years he gets an additional two-year scholarship to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The fourth element—lifetime health insurance for each player—makes a ton of sense if you’re a current athlete. But what about former athletes who graduated 1, 3, or 10 years ago? Makes for an interesting conversation over a beer with your buddy, right? And finally, the fifth element. Nocera believes an organization should be created to represent current and former college athletes. Perhaps Nocera bit off a little more than he could chew with this one. Or maybe, he just might be on to something: something that will change the NCAA as we’ve known it.

Another article controlling the conversation about NCAA reform right now is Taylor Branch‘s “The Shame of College Sports”. This article in Atlantic Magazine focuses on different scandals that have occurred within college sports over the years and why a change is necessary to stop such corruption.

Branch fights the familiar definition of “amateurism” throughout the article and opens reader’s eyes to the common myths and mentalities that float throughout the NCAA. How exactly can we define a “student-athlete”? For most big level sports institutions the term should undoubtedly be “athlete-student”. But that term would go against what the NCAA has tried to establish throughout its long legacy of rules and regulations. The big question remains: should this reform push for a more professional style to college athletics?

Reform…Re-think?

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Rules are rules.

In today’s society, there are rules about rules and everyone always has an opinion. So when the rules just don’t seem to work anymore, what better way to fix a situation than change them? For the NCAA, changing the regulations that every athlete and coach has abided by for years will stir up some controversy without a doubt. The ultimate goal is to benefit all affiliates of the NCAA, but what exactly is changing?

Most fans of college sports know the rules to the game. So no, I don’t have to paint my entire body in school colors and parade around campus with a giant foam finger to know the basics of the NCAA handbook. It’s plain common sense to know that I can’t accept a new pair of kicks from a team donor without being suspended. So here’s a message to the NCAA: Show me what’s changing and why and leave the nonsense for the foam finger fans.

So here it is, the first package of reforms that were put together by the Division 1 Board of Directors as from the NCAA website:

1. Conferences can vote to add $2,000 in “full cost-of-attendance” money to scholarship offers.

2. Individual schools can choose to award multiyear scholarships. Scholarships may not be revoked based on athletic performance.

3. Schools that fail to meet the Academic Progress Rate cutline will be ineligible for postseason play, including bowl games. The cutline will be increased from the current 900 to 930 in four years.

4. Eligibility requirements increased from a 2.0 GPA to 2.3 for incoming freshman and 2.5 for junior college transfers.

5. For basketball recruiting, coaches added four evaluation days in April, previously a dead period, but went from 20 days to 12 in July. Coaches can make unlimited calls or send unlimited texts to prep recruits after June 15 at the end of their sophomore year.

Pros? Cons? Let the controversy begin.

NCAA Reform: To be or not to be.

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

The recent talk about NCAA reform and stipends in college sports has started to really make waves with many universities. Why is this issue so important? It is because there are so many stances athletic departments in universities can take in regards to how important yet controversial this reform may be. The opinions are endless. First we have the big “sports schools” who feel that stipends would be a great advantage because these programs are sports factories generating so much money from their teams. However, another argument from these same schools may be that a small stipend of $2000 is “chump change” and would ultimately be useless in the grand scheme of things. Then there are the smaller “mid-major” schools that feel that $2000 would put an athletic department away because they simply cannot afford it. What about how college coaches have the ability to deny an athlete from playing at another university if the student wants to transfer? The NCAA currently makes it possible for coaches to refuse to allow a student athlete to play at any other university but the coach’s own. When push comes to shove, the NCAA must take a step back and realize, what is the best option?

This blog will cover the many details that go into NCAA reform as well as the different options and stances universities throughout the country will take. I may not accomplish much on a large scale, but I can hope that people will take a deeper look at all options and broaden their knowledge in terms of college athletics.