Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guard the Post: The Current (and Future) State of the NCAA

In today's (social) media landscape, stories travel faster than an Alabama fan leaving the Stadium in the 2nd quarter with the Tide up by 40. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been at the forefront of the sport conversation for weeks now, especially during this football season. From Schooled: The Price of College Sports to Arian Foster, and All Players United (APU) to the Ed O'Bannon case, the NCAA is an massive entity that is continuously being criticized by everyone across the country.

The two most current topics, and maybe most important, are the current governance structure of the NCAA and whether pay-for-play changes are coming. The NCAA hierarchy is currently led by Mark Emmert, President, and the Board of Trustees, which contains the Presidents of some of the largest universities in the country. There is unanimous calls for change, from Emmert down to the student-athletes, even at the Athletic Director level.

Purdue's AD Morgan Burke, a strong supporter of Emmert and President of the NCAA Division-I Athletic Director's Association, recognizes that change is coming. In Sport Business Daily, Burke said, "Dr. Emmert and the presidents have reached out and they’ve publicly said things need to change from the governance that was put into place in the 1990s. The times are right for change, and the devil will be in the details. But I’m optimistic." Burke, a major supporter and spokesman for amateurism, and a critic of pay-for-play, knows that change is in the cards of the next hand being dealt at the table of collegiate sport.

Athletic Director's call for a change of the collegiate sport structure will be answered sooner rather than later. The fact that the Board of Trustees for the governing body of college sports doesn't have a single AD on it is just another page in the book of the sad state of the NCAA today. Yes, college sports falls under the academic umbrella run by the President of the university, but honestly, that norm is changing. Just last week, following a meeting of Division-I AD's from around the country, a statement was made from those ADs that they decided it was time an AD took over a spot on the NCAA Board of Trustees. With that change would come a new wave of ideas and a closer look into what is happening at the athletic department level. Even the idea of supplementing the current scholarship for student-athletes is growing.

Supplemental funds, or a stipend, is not new. In the 1960s, before the creation of the NCAA, athletes received what was referred to as "laundry" money. The new age "laundry" money comes in the form of a $2,000 stipend to cover the extra costs of attended college today. Following a study completed by the NCPA and Drexel Sport Management (that I was lucky enough to be a part of), called "The $6 Billion Heist", the conversation of covering those costs escalated. Thanks to the explosion of media agreements, the funds are now there to make this happen.

Ironically, what many thought would be the end of the NCAA and amateurism may actually be what saves it. As a long-time doubter of the NCAA and supporter of the fight for college athlete welfare and economic equality, I thought that the NCAA was on its way down.  Burke, along with all of the other ADs at the Division-I level, has recognized that with the media pressure surrounding pay-for-play and the rights of college athletes growing, they need to get up with the times. The tides are changing for the NCAA, and I really think it is going in the right direction.

Kevin Murray is a Pre-Junior Sport Management Major at Drexel University, originally from Havertown, PA. He worked in the Drexel Sport Management Department as a Research Assistant focusing on the Penn State scandal, equity in collegiate sports, and Title IX.  He completed his first co-op last spring with Drexel Athletics External Relations Department, where he still works part-time. He is currently a Resident Assistant in University Crossings, a member of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, and Vice President of SMTSU.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinj_murray.

Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

No comments:

Post a Comment