Thursday, August 18, 2011

Washington Post column: Fixing college sports requires less talk, more action

Here is today's The Washington Post column on college sports. ---------

When Mark Emmert was named NCAA president in April 2010, the natural question to ask was this: Who will he choose to emulate in his new role?

We now know the answer. He is Don Vito Corleone.

Earlier this month, Emmert called for a meeting of the five families — also known as the 50 university presidents — to discuss the seemingly out-of-control cheating going on in college football. With both schools from last season’s championship football game (Auburn and Oregon) joining Ohio State, USC and North Carolina in running afoul of NCAA rules, it was time to put an end to this war.

One can almost see Emmert standing in the middle of a long table surrounded by the presidents with all their various functionaries sitting behind them.

“How did it all come to this?” Don Emmert undoubtedly asked. “We are all reasonable men (and a handful of women). It is time for us to make the peace.”

The upshot of the meeting was that the presidents were all shocked — shocked — to learn there was cheating going on, even as they were being presented with their winnings as they left. They also said academic standards needed to be tightened. Novel idea.

Then they went back to raiding each other’s conferences, all in pursuit of extra TV dollars.

Just to review in case you weren’t paying attention: Nebraska is now in the Big Ten, which has 12 teams. The Big 12 has 10 teams. Colorado and Utah are in the Pac-10, which at least had the decency to rename itself the Pac-12. Brigham Young is an independent.

Wait, there’s more: Texas A&M wants out of the Big 12 to join the SEC. The SEC says no thanks — for now. The SEC might recruit Florida State, Clemson and Missouri. Or it might not. If the ACC were to lose Florida State and Clemson, it would try to raid the Big East again — because that worked out so well last time.

Click here for the rest of the column:  Fixing college sports requires less talk, more action


ruffin said...

College athletics needs to governed by three separate organizations: one for football, one for men’s basketball, one for non-revenue sports.

College football and men’s basketball are multi-billion-dollar businesses being run as an illegal cartel. So don’t say Congress or the President shouldn’t be “wasting time” on sports.

Thank you very much.

And it's too bad the ACC can't shed a few more teams and become a good basketball conference with a fair, 8-team tournament again.

Anonymous said...

The Four Letter is well on its way to buying and running college football and basketball under its terms, traditional rivalries be damned. It's inevitable.

My one hope is that the top 4-5 SEC teams are finally forced to play late Fall games against worthy opponents in latitudes North of the Mason-Dixon line.

PeteWill said...

John, I agree with your conclusion. But the solution could be very difficult to achieve simply because of Title lX. My understanding is that, by and large, all athletes must be treated the same. Maybe at some point you could provide some clarity on this. I will look forward to seeing it.

Reed said...

John, splitting FB and BB off into completely seperate organizations would be great for those sports but an unmitigated disaster for the rest of college athletics (non-revenue D1 and all of D2 and D3). The men's basketball tournament is the source of virtually all revenue for the NCAA and pays for the postseason in every other sport. Splitting them off and removing that money from the equation would end that. The revenue from the BCS TV contracts already belongs to those schools and those schools alone. Split off basketball too and what's going to convince that org. to share the wealth? Nothing. So all other sports starve. I'm sure most people wouldn't care as long as those fall Saturdays aren't disturbed, but a swimmer like yourself should be troubled by this possibility.

Anonymous said...

John's basic point is dead right. As is always the case with excessively greedy people, they force actions that would not be necessary if they had shown a minimum of self-discipline.

The only way out now is for Congress to get involved (BTW, I hate Congress getting involved, it's barely higher than the NCAA on the corruption totem pole, but there's no real alternative and Congress is the only authority that can simultaneously make any confomring amendments to women's sports and rules to assure funding non-revenue sports).

Skip Smith said...

While reorganizing take the compliance departments out of the control of the schools. Keep them on campus but have them work for and report directly to the new governing body.

Sandra Welsh said...

Hi, John.

This from OLD Sandra Welsh formerly married to George Welsh.
I live on Nantucket now and am in DC visiting my son and daughter in law.
Just wanted you and The WASHINGTON POST EDITORS to know how true and timely your "tell it like it is " article on the NCAA is.I have been around the block in college football and could write my own book. Suffice it to say this article on he NCAA is profound. Now there needs to be a plan! the hard part.
On Nnantucket I miss your articles and museings.....but those Boston Globe guys are not bad.

Sandra Welsh

PS:Every time I hear the words "Scholar Athletes " I want to weep or throw up.

Now how to get rid of these

Bob from Bethesda said...

John, I'm afraid Villanova might get left out of a Big East shuffle. What about Nova joining ACC if ACC gets raided? Would ACC accept Nova's fb to Div 1? I think athletically and as important, academically, Nova would be a good fit - and Philly's south of Boston!

Anonymous said...

I like Navy football and GMU basketball.

We need to get college sports back to what it once was. Maybe not possible, but why don't pro basketball and football create minor leagues like baseball. Take the money away from colleges and see how much college presidents care about scholar athletes.