Friday, April 30, 2010

Can Emmert Bring Real Honesty and Integrity to the NCAA?

The NCAA has chosen its new leader: Mark Emmert. He’ll be faced with many issues in his job. Should there be a Division 1-A football playoff? Should the basketball tournament expand and by how much? These issues will resolve themselves if the NCAA school presidents commit to sports through honesty and integrity.


NCAA rules are based on athletics as an extracurricular activity. Let’s be honest. Football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, and lacrosse are not extracurricular activities; they are academic programs.

Kids go to college to become entertainers in many fields. Potential actors, singers, writers, and journalists can go to school and major in programs training them for their chosen profession. Potential professional athletes, however, are required to do a double major: football and business for example. Most of us wouldn’t do a double major, so why should athletes be required to?

Let’s stop squeaking athletes through programs they’re not interested in and shouldn’t pass through. Instead of worrying about a school’s graduation rate in second majors, just grade athletes in their chosen profession. Any football player that will be drafted by the NFL would receive an A level grade point average, a great success. Players who aren’t headed toward the NFL can transfer into other programs as they near graduation. Many players would make great teachers.


The NCAA supposedly exists for the student-athletes, yet the NCAA has allowed its Olympic sports programs to be decimated. I’ll use a program I’m familiar with as an example: Men’s Gymnastic has lost over ninety percent of its programs

Although the World’s toughest sport (World’s Toughest Sport, Men’s Fitness March 1996), ranking even above the Ironman Triathlon, Men’s Gymnastics has declined from over 200 teams in 1969 to just 17 in 2010. Only five teams exist west of the Mississippi. There are now less than 15 athletic scholarships available for gymnasts each year … nationwide. Only the very best get to compete in college. This costs the sport numerous quality coaches for junior programs even though more boys compete in gymnastics than ever before.

The NCAA just signed a new television contract for the NCAA basketball tournament for an estimated $11 billion. That’s plenty of money to support the nation’s Olympians.

The NCAA schools should meet their professed goals, acting with honesty and integrity. Convert professional sports to academic programs and develop Olympic sports programs around the country.

No comments: