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May
23
2017

Is it time to blow up the NCAA?

Zach-Maynard-california-2012

Hey there ACC fans. Over the last few days I have been thinking long and hard about what to do with the way intercollegiate sports is run. When I have been reading and discussing with people all of the news coming out of college sports I have come to this conclusion… The current model that the NCAA is operating under does not work any longer and needs to be replaced! I don’t say this as a “hot take.” I see the landscape of college sports, a landscape that I love by the way, and see the ineptitude of the NCAA. I must say this, I AM NOT COMPARING THE ALLEGATIONS that I reference, just pointing out the NCAA does not have rules against these situations.

If you follow Andy Staples (if you love college sports you actually should) you have seen over the last few weeks what I am talking about. Mr. Staples, in his last few articles, points out that the NCAA does not have any rules against football players committing sexual assaults. There are no rules that dictate what should happen in these cases, and allow the individual institutions to handle these situations. Which, in normal circumstances would be prudent… However, the situation at Baylor is anything but normal. The NCAA, according to a brief back and forth I had with him on Twitter, does not have any rules regarding this. The NCAA could not have foreseen the situation at Baylor. How could they?

No one would think that the behavior of some of the players on the Baylor football team would be so, questionable (I say this because to date only 1 player has been found guilty of sexual assault Sam Ukwuachu, and another Shawn Oakman is awaiting trial).

Baylor isn’t the only institution that is facing a sexual assault accusation. If you haven’t heard about Michigan State and what is happening with their gymnastics team, please go ahead and google Dr. Larry Nassar and Michigan State gymnastics. What you will read will shock you! The accusations of what Dr. Nassar did to gymnasts under his care is sickening. The idea that Michigan State told gymnasts not to speak to investigators is worse! But again, Michigan State will slide because there isn’t a rule.

Secondly, there is the situation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Now, when you look at the allegations made by the NCAA against UNC, one would think that it is an open and shut case. One would think that the NCAA has rules regarding academic dishonesty.

One would think that if players of any sport are funneled into “paper classes,” that would constitute a violation of NCAA rules. Well, things aren’t always that simple! When you dive deeper into the alleged violations at UNC you see that there aren’t any rules governing academic dishonesty. Now, before UNC fans get riled up, let me tell you this. The fact that UNC engaged in academic dishonesty is not in debate. UNC admits that there was academic dishonesty and UNC was actually placed on probation by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The NCAA, in this case is trying to get around the academic dishonesty part by arguing that UNC provided an extra benefit. UNC’s defense is that due to these classes being offered to anyone on campus, that is not an extra benefit. So yes, academic dishonesty is not against NCAA rules.

If you have been following news out of college basketball, and listening to the All Sports Discussion ACC podcast (which you should!) you have heard about Cam Johnson and transferring. It is true that Cam Johnson has fulfilled his academic responsibilities at Pitt. It is true that he can transfer. The issue is, Pitt (or Kevin Stallings) doesn’t want Johnson to transfer within the ACC. I understand this, doesn’t make it right or wrong, but I do get it. You don’t want a player, who developed at your school, go to another school that you have to play.

However, Mr. Johnson did graduate from Pitt and should be free to transfer to wherever he chooses. But the NCAA has stated that Pitt is allowed to restrict Johnson from going to another ACC school (this comes off as small minded and petty by the way).

Finally, there is the money that is flowing all through college sports. Let’s not miss that fact! Now, we can debate if the players are compensated enough for the amount of revenue that is being generated by athletic departments. In my opinion, they are not being compensated enough and should be able to get paid. The NCAA made $989 million in 2014. 81% of that money came from television contracts. This doesn’t include the College Football Playoff or Bowl games. Let’s not act like all Division 1 schools are treated the same way either!

You have the Power 5 versus the Group of 5. The amount of money generated there is staggering! But players aren’t seeing a dime! A player cannot sell memorabilia that they have, or profit from public appearances but the NCAA and conferences can?

The NCAA needs to overhaul the entire system. There needs to be a revenue sharing system in place that lessens the gap between the Power 5 schools and everyone else! There needs to be a system where players can benefit, in a small way, their celebrity in these college towns. There needs to be rules in place if and when a program goes off the rails with sexual assault and academic dishonesty. These rules need to be adopted, because the current model is outdated and doesn’t work anymore…..

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