Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another NCAA reform now in limbo ...

Uh-oh. For the second time in that number of weeks, enough NCAA schools have objected to an NCAA reform measure to throw it into limbo. This time, it's a provision adopted in October to allow multi-year Division I  football scholarships rather than the one-year renewable schollies now in place. Because at least 75 schools objected to the rule within 60 days, it will be reconsidered by the NCAA's Division I Board of Governors when it convenes in mid-January 2012.

Earlier this month, the NCAA suspended another new reform measure that would have allowed schools to provide an additional $2,000 stipend -- called a "miscellaneous expense allowance" -- to help some scholarship athletes pay for incidental costs they incur as college students (as noted in previous posts on this blog). It, too, will be reconsidered at the January Board of Governors meeting.

Both measures were initially adopted after NCAA President Mark Emmert called a retreat for college presidents to discuss ways to improve NCAA athletics. Notably, both of these measures are directed at improving conditions for NCAA student-athletes, whose welfare has not been much of a priority for the NCAA in the past.

Kudos to Emmert for pushing these and other proposals aimed at improving the lives of student-athletes. But after such wide and quick dissent among the NCAA member institutions, you have to wonder how much longer they will put up with him and his reform mindset. After all, they hired him and could fire him. Firing him would seem to be a tragedy, perhaps still another indication -- exemplified in the extreme by the very sad events over the past decade or so at Penn State -- that the institution of college football outweighs the welfare of the most-vulnerable and most-expendable people involved with it.

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