Sunday, January 15, 2012

NCAA reforms ... the lastest

Where do we begin in noting all that came out of the NCAA’s annual convention, which concluded on Saturday?  NCAA president Mark Emmert is really shaking up things, especially in Division I college football, which might make you wonder how many toes he’s stepped on and thus how long his tenure will be. After all, the NCAA is made up of member organizations whose representatives hire the NCAA president. But Emmert’s original five-year contract was extended for an additional two years by a unanimous vote of the NCAA’s Executive Committee last week. That means he’ll be around until at least October 2017, which would seem to be enough time to push through quite a few needed reforms that he’s backing, with more to come, no doubt. So his extension might be the biggest single item to note in all of the news from last week.  Hmmm … will the NCAA’s big football powers try to deal with this within the organization, or will they think of pulling out of the NCAA and starting their own, separate association?  That’s a topic for another day.

For now, let’s take a look at some other big, recruiting-related, Division I items coming out of last week’s annual NCAA meeting:

·         The $2,000 stipend proposal seems to have strong support among the college presidents and chancellors who make up the Division I Board of Directors, although they sent the proposal to a committee (okay, a “working group”) to work out implementation details and come back with recommendations in April.  After any changes are made to the proposal at that point, the NCAA membership would then again have the opportunity to give it give a thumbs up or thumbs down.

This stipend was approved, for immediate implementation, by the NCAA Board of Directors last fall as a way to provide help full-ride scholarship athletes pay for miscellaneous costs – things like a movie, laundry, transportation, or meals out – beyond the tuition, fees, room, and board for which scholarships pay. Although the stipend wasn’t mandatory, 160 schools objected to the measure by December, which meant that it was suspended and had to go back to the Board last week for another look. Much of the opposition was based on the cost of the stipend to schools, and the limited resources with which many of them have to pay for it. And if they didn’t implement it, they felt – it would seem legitimately – that they would be at a competitive disadvantage when recruiting student-athletes.  Concerns about gender equity issues – since football programs put many more men, compared to women in other sports, on full scholarships at a given school.

It’s interesting to note, though, that the student-athletes who signed national letters of intent in November – and who were promised the stipend at that time, when it was in place – will still receive it. Students who signed after the measure was suspended in December will not.

·         Allowing schools to offer multi-year scholarships – instead of only year-to-year scholarships based on performance –  seems to be a done deal, pending a vote by the entire Division I membership in February. Although concerns about this measure were also voiced by schools in December, not enough of them objected to cause suspension, and the Board stood by it at the NCAA meeting last week.

·         Parents can now be considered agents. This measure would prevent parents from “shopping” their student-athlete children to schools. In other words, parents could no longer ask a school for money (something other than a scholarship) in return for their kids to sign with that school.

·         Proposals to limit the number of scholarships – by five in football – were defeated. It would seem that savings in this area would have provided money to fund the $2,000 stipend at many schools, but that analysis might be too simplistic and naïve, I realize. And, of course, a reduction in scholarships would eliminate opportunities for some student-athletes to play college football in roles other than walk-ons that pay their own way.  Bummer.
Comments?  Insights?

1 comment:

  1. What they really need to work on is rewarding the walk-ons who spend just as much time and effort as the scholarship guys with some sort of stipend to ease the burden of paying for school and student loans. Those on scholarship receive a sufficient amount of money as it is, it's simply a matter of being rational with how they spend it. (going out and buying $300 shoes every month)