"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
Recent reports have shown that the NCAA is unfair when it comes to some infraction findings and sanctions. An analysis of the root cause of these problems results in a list of eight solutions that would improve college sports, especially football.
These fixes would improve the reputation of the NCAA and lower administrative costs, significantly reduce costly major infractions and sanctions for member colleges, minimize punishments to the athletes who had nothing to do with violations, more fairly compensate athletes, and increase fan interest. Everyone wins!
Here are the related articles that give the basis for this report:
• Analyzing NCAA Hypocrisy – Root Cause and Solutions - examines the hypocrisy of the NCAA and how they "profit" at the expense of athletes, especially those from lower income families, and these archaic rules result in most major infractions.
• Is the NCAA Capable of Fair Treatment of Infractions and Sanctions? – identifies the reasons the NCAA is incapable of conducting fair evaluations of alleged infractions and sanctions. As of July 25, 2010, over 82% voted that the NCAA does not fairly evaluate alleged infractions and issue appropriate sanctions.
• 10 Reasons Why USC Football NCAA Sanctions are Not Fair – details the reasons that USC football NCAA sanctions were not fair including errors, convoluted logic, conflict of interests, NCAA failure to control sports agents/marketers, no precedent for several key football findings and sanctions, punished the wrong people, and the appeals process is designed to be unsuccessful.
While the recent USC case is used as an example in the above articles, many other colleges who receive NCAA sanctions believe they were unfairly treated. There have been 11 appeals decided since 2008 and only one was upheld. The fact that 151 division I colleges and one entire conference (as of June 18, 2010) have received NCAA sanctions at least once demonstrates that there is a systemic problem.
Most of the NCAA sanctions are a result of archaic “amateurism” rules that do not reflect the semi-pro nature of Division I college football (and some other sports). These rules are designed to maximize "profits" for the NCAA and its member institutions at the expense of the athletes who generate all the revenue. The Olympics solved similar problems over 20 years ago.
College football is much different than when the NCAA amateur rules were written—some head football coaches make over $4 million per year (more than the annual cost of all football scholarships at a college), some colleges bring in over $80 million per year in football revenues and many times that in related alumni donations, and the NCAA collects revenues over $700 million per year.
Congress has given the NCAA tax-exempt status which is hard to believe given the "profits" realized from TV revenues and the failure of the NCAA to govern fairly per its mission statement.
The athletes receive the same college scholarship that has been available for decades even though a recent study proved that it doesn't cover an average of $3,000 per year in education related expenses. The NCAA controls the number of scholarships available in various sports and they have been reduced in the past.
This is compounded by the fact that football athletes are deprived of their right to become professional for three years, and the NCAA does not allow them to have a job during the school year like other students. Most of the athletes who want to be NFL stars do not attend college for the education.
Other problems are caused by the NCAA’s failure to control sports agents/marketers, and lack of requirements for coaches and athletes to sign agreements that hold them financially responsible for NCAA violations even after they leave college.
The Jerry Tarkanian Supreme Court decision forced the NCAA to use due process for their handling of infractions. They also outlawed “hearsay” but the errors in the USC case have demonstrated that this still happens. There is no oversight of the NCAA infraction process to ensure fairness and consistency.
There are specific problems with the NCAA infraction review process that can be fixed so that the results are fair, and any appeals are handled impartially with rules that make sense. Many of these problems are documented in the above two articles: Is the NCAA Capable of Fair Treatment of Infractions and Sanctions? and 10 Reasons Why USC Football NCAA Sanctions are Not Fair.
The BCS fiasco is not addressed because the NCAA isn’t responsible for it.
Here are the eight solutions to fix the NCAA and improve Division I college football. Be sure to read the Overtime–Reader Solutions that has been added after Solution No. 8 to reflect B/R reader comments.
P.S. Or maybe it is time for Congress to fix these problems as discussed in the article: Going after the NCAA's 'underbelly'