NCAA Changes Seek To Open Doors For Student-Athletes, Close Them For Violators
Thursday, August 9, 2018 at 08:55AM
NYSportsJournalism.com in College, NBA, NCAA, college basketball, student-athletes

By Barry Janoff

August 8, 2018: In May, The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, formed in October 1989 to promote reforms that support and strengthen the educational mission of college sports, issued a report urging university presidents to “seize a rare moment of opportunity to reform not only men's basketball but the NCAA organization itself to restore public faith in the governing body's ability to oversee major revenue-producing college sports.”

The report came on the heels of an extensive investigation into NCAA men’s hoops by the Independent Commission on College Basketball, led by Condoleezza Rice, which called the sport “toxic” and “deeply troubled,” offering major suggestions and potential changes regarding coaches, players and universities.

“The levels of corruption and deception are now at a point that they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it,” wrote the Commission on College Basketball in its report.

Both reports arrived as the FBI was in the midst of an investigation financial situations involving coaches, players and shoe companies, among other potentially damaging situations.

Now, the NCAA said that “in response to the recommendations issues,” it has “delivered on a promise made just months ago to make profound and meaningful changes to college basketball.

“Ultimately, these decisions will support the success of student-athletes both on and off the court,” said the NCAA.

According to the NCAA, the changes approved will:

• Provide college basketball players more freedom and flexibility to decide their future.

• Minimize the leverage of outside influences on high school recruits and college athletes.

• Add fresh perspective and independent judgment to NCAA decision-making at the highest level of policymaking and in investigations and case resolution.

• Strengthen accountability and deter future rule-breaking with harsher penalties for those who break the rules. Specifically, “Those who break rules face stronger penalties, including longer post-season bans, longer head coach suspensions, increased recruiting restrictions and additional fines.”

“The NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors adopted a series of significant policy and legislative changes, setting in motion actions to change the structure of the NCAA fundamentally,” the NCAA wrote in a statement.

“These changes will promote integrity in the game, strengthen accountability and prioritize the interests of student-athletes over every other factor."

The problem is deep-rooted, according to the Independent Commission on College Basketball, which in its report called the environment surrounding college basketball is “a toxic mix of perverse incentives to cheat.”

“Millions of dollars are now generated by television contracts and apparel sponsorship for the NCAA, universities and coaches,” according to the report. “The financial stake in success has grown exponentially; and thus, there is an arms race to recruit the best talent — and if you are a coach — to keep your job.

“Future stars and their families know their value — and can be tempted to monetize their worth as soon as possible since they will not be compensated in college. Some agents, summer coaches and other third parties act as intermediaries and facilitators.”

This week, 13 members of the University of North Carolina football team were suspended for selling their limited-edition, team-issued Air Jordan shoes.

New policies, per the NCAA, allow student-athletes to be able to participate in the NBA draft and return to school if undrafted, pending future action from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

Currently, college athletes who are interested in going pro can declare for the draft and attend the NBA combine, but must withdraw no more than ten days after the combine to stay eligible.”

In addition, Division I schools will be required to pay for tuition, fees and books for men’s and women’s basketball players who left school and returned later to the same school to earn their degree. The NCAA is establishing a fund for schools who are otherwise unable to provide this aid.

Elite high school basketball recruits and college players can be represented by an agent who can help them make informed decisions about going pro. Agents must be certified by an NCAA program with standards for behavior and consequences for violations.

Coaches and athletics staff must report athletics-related income from any source outside their school, such as an apparel company.

The NCAA said it is pursuing an agreement with apparel companies on expectations for accountability and transparency regarding their involvement in youth basketball.

“The NCAA and its member schools are part of the broader higher education community, and today’s actions renew our commitment to our core purpose — preparing students for a lifetime of opportunity,” according to the NCAA.

“Change doesn’t end here. We will continue to work in all of these areas and continue to pursue collaboration with outside organizations, including the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association, apparel companies and USA Basketball.

“If they are unwilling or unable to act, we will consider additional changes that will support the success of student-athletes. It’s on us to restore the integrity of college basketball and continue to improve the interests of all student-athletes. They deserve nothing less.”

Rice-Led Commission: College Hoops ‘Toxic Mix Of Perverse Incentives To Cheat

Second Report Urges NCAA To Enact ‘Sweeping And Deep-Seated Reform'

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