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NCAA Reform Faces Another Roadblock

Just when it seemed like the NCAA was getting with the times, along comes another challenge to recent reform. More than 75 member NCAA institutions want to revisit the multi-year scholarship guarantee which was approved after an NCAA presidential summit in August. http://tinyurl.com/bpx4mhp

As one BCS conference basketball coach told me, “We have to provide the 5-year guarantee in order to compete in recruiting.” 

This formula appears to be working in the favor of the major DI conferences.  But keep in mind, about half of DI football, and 75% of the DI basketball programs come from mid-major conferences.  Mid-major conferences don’t generate the same level of athletic income as the major conferences.  Thus, this scholarship guarantee appears to be further widening the competitive recruiting gap between the haves and the have-nots. Hence, more than 75 schools are now objecting to this reform, saying it economically doesn’t make sense.

And, while NCAA institutions speak of (title IX aside) not being able to afford to provide for the majority of their interscholastic athletic teams, let’s put the “cost of doing business” in perspective.  Just a couple of years ago Americans lost their minds when the price of gasoline eclipsed $3 a gallon, peaking in some parts of the country at $5 a gallon. Today, prices have “settled” to the previously unacceptable level of about $3 a gallon, and no one is complaining anymore. Point being, NCAA institutions should accept the fact that the cost of multi-year scholarships and $2,000 annual stipends is their equivalent to $3 gas.  Accept it, adjust and move on.

Despite varying levels of resources, businesses and people set priorities every day and are willing to spend money on what they deem to be important. For the athletic departments at NCAA institutions, what’s more important than the student-athletes? 

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