Reform in College Athletics Is it possible, and how do we do it? Michael Wood
Agenda• What‟s wrong with college sports?• What is the NCAA doing wrong?• Added benefits for athletes o Education & Graduation Rates o Facilities, Training, Tutoring• Financing big-time college athletics• Scandals & Investigations o Major Violations o Others receiving sanctions• What‟s the common denominator?• Can it be fixed? o Benefits to NCAA, member institutions, college sports
What’s wrong with college sports?• In short, a lot. o Recruiting violations abound o Scholarships & graduation rates skewed o Sexual abuse/assault o Athletes accepting illegal benefits o Allocation of university funds o Revenue streams - no royalties to athletes o Major scandals are increasing o Scheduling issues (BCS)• Has skyrocketed in last decade o Over 20 different institutions have received sanctions since „00• NCAA serves as feeder program for pros
What is the NCAA doing wrong? • Hasn‟t evolved quick enough • Governing body? • Power hungry + bottom line based o Myles Brand - $900,000 tax-exempt o Mark Emmert – Base: $620,000….. Wash. Severance - $906,500 • Failure to adequately punish programs who are repeat offenders o Lack of control – pushover parent
Education & Graduation• Disappearance of the“Student-athlete”and emergence of the“Athlete-student”• “Clustering” places athletes in several cupcake classes in areas useless towards a degree o “Majoring in eligibility”• The GSR put forth by the NCAA shows a higher graduation rate, but data is skewed and incorrect• NCAA‟s 40-60-80 rule doesn‟t allow students to change majors/minors o 40% after 4 semesters, 60% after 6, 80% after 8
Facilities, Training, Tutoring • Disparity between students and athletes • Tutoring and training facilities are often exclusive to athletes • Most facilities are built on tuition money collected from average students
Other things to consider• “Special studies” as a major o Soc, psych, comm, org. leadership, underwater movement• Individual tutors for “special” athletes• Pressure on faculty to pass star players• What exactly is the role of an academic tutor??• Consider this: David Ridpath - Ohio University, "The big problem with these academic centers for me is very clear . . . The goal is to keep the kids eligible so the school benefits financially, and theres a big difference between keeping kids eligible and helping them get a viable college education."
• Why are athletes so much more deserving than students?
Scandals & Investigations In last 20 years… (20+ since 2001)• Alabama (3) • North Carolina• Arizona • Ohio State (2)• Auburn • Penn State• Baylor • SMU• Colorado (2) • South Carolina (2)• Duke• Florida State (2) • Syracuse (2)• Hawaii • Tennessee (2)• Kentucky (3) • Texas Tech• Louisville • UCLA• Memphis • USC (4)• Miami (4) • Uconn (2)• Michigan (2) • UMass
Major Violations• SMU (1986) – The only NCAA Death Penalty case in history. For 10 years, paid athletes to come play for SMU. Other recruiting violations.• Miami (’89-’93; ‘11) – Advisors falsifying Pell grants led to over $200,000 wrongly awarded to football players; illegal benefits, money, recruiting violations• USC (‘04) – Forced to vacate BCS title and revenues, given 3-yr probation + loss of scholarships because tailback Reggie Bush accepted $300,000 in benefits from agents, faculty and tutors
Major Violations• Florida State (‘08) – 61 players across 10 different sports received answers to tests or had tutors take them. NCAA forced FSU to vacate the ‟06 and ‟07 seasons and pay back royalties owed.• Memphis (‘08) – Forced to vacate championship appearance and pay back $500,000 in tournament revenues after falsifying athlete SAT scores• Ohio State (‘10) – Stripped of 5 scholarships and fired coach Jim Tressel for „Failure to monitor‟• Alabama (‘11) – self-imposed impermissible benefits, memorabilia scandal
Others Receiving Sanctions• Colorado football (’97-’-3) – rape, illegal recruiting• Baylor basketball (‘03) - murder• Duke lacrosse (‘06) – rape, sexual abuse• Louisville basketball (‘09) – rape, sexual assault• Michigan football (‘10) – failure to promote atmosphere of compliance• Texas Tech football (‘10) – illegal use of closet• Auburn football (‘10) – illegal recruiting• Penn State (‘11) – alleged sexual abuse• Syracuse (‘11) – alleged sexual abuse• Hawaii (‘11) – point-shaving
What’s the common denominator? LACK OFINSTITUTIONAL CONTROL Because of the $ at stake...
Privatize College Athletics• Move college sport into the public sector o Taxable, can be sued, all the characteristics of major corp. o Athletes are employees, can be paid; coaches too o Frees all parties from worrying about “amateurism” o Equals playing field – no “leeching” by low-revenue schools• License trademarks/logos out to subsidiaries o Pay a licensing fee to univ. for naming rights, logos etc. o School keeps profits from fees, no penalty for shortfalls• CEO of Athletics – like an AD, with power o Function is to ensure program is self-sustaining
What Changes Here?• Athletic depts. get to act like money machines• No need to try to coexist with academics o Funding + spending can remain separate for each o Let athletes be athletes, students be students o Both would improve w/greater attention to their needs• Athletes who aren‟t in school for school don‟t have to worry about studying• Athletes are employees – eligible for taxes, royalties, worker‟s compensation, agency representation• Unions o Players Union of College Sports
What about the NCAA?• Effectively eliminates the NCAA altogether o Hasn‟t proven it can evolve fast enough to keep up• Alternatively, scrap the NCAA rulebook, govern club and non-revenue generating sport• TREAT ATHLETICS LIKE A BUSINESS o Texas, OSU, Florida all generated over $100 million revenue in ‟09
Ethical Considerations• Is this the “right” thing to do? o Hard to say• It does however seem like one of the only ways to “fix” majority of the problems in college sport.