What an NCAA Overhaul Should Look Like
NCAA: What a Governing Body Should Look Like
The NCAA as the governing body of college sports is as broken as it possibly can be. If you have read any of my previous anti-NCAA articles in the past then you know my deep hatred for everything they stand for. Between their own unethical behavior being investigated while calling a child unethical to holding no accountability for their own actions -- everything about the NCAA is backwards and broken.
While I have done plenty of bashing about the NCAA, I have also done very little in the way of providing solid ways to fix it. My only suggestion that holds any merit is a complete overhaul of the entire way it is structured. To completely wipe nearly every employee of consequence out and replace them with people who have far less direct ties to universities and care much more about the idea of what the NCAA was meant to be, protecting student-athletes and the product of the competitions.
Setting aside the fact that amateurism in its purist form is dead, we aren't going to look at the idea of whether or not paying student-athletes is okay or not -- that is another column for a much smarter person. However, this is going to be a half-hearted look at a dream team of sorts. A group of people who could be put in place of the current people within the NCAA infrastructure.
Keep in mind that my job is that of a college basketball writer, so obviously the people I am putting in place are heavily basketball people. I am also not a lawyer, I don't even play one on TV, so don't come trolling me about the legalities surrounding the whole spiel. Trust me, I understand that something like this is far too complicated for someone as simple-minded as I to understand.
Also, if my ideas were somehow to be stupidly adopted, all of these people would have to give up their careers -- something that is unlikely. This is just a simple, light idea of a way to help fix the NCAA. Mainly by putting people who actually care about college sports, student-athletes, and the overall product of college sports more than the money it generates and the ego that comes with it.
One more quick thing, the infrastructure I am putting in place is not the exact way the NCAA has it currently set-up. I am doing a much smaller scaled-version of what would actually need to be put in place. So with all of my disclaimers out-of-the-way...
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone
The Management Council
The Management Council is also being lumped in with General Committees and their sub-sets. For the sake of this ill-fated idea, the Management Council is the first line of the new NCAA's defense. Their defense is to be offensive and aggressive. Instead of waiting for infractions to happen and for misguided justice to be wielded, the Management Council's primary objective is to be a think-tank. To come up with ways to fix all that is wrong with the NCAA and college sports overall.
The following people are a group of guys who I wouldn't mind seeing take on this capacity. They have been selected is for various reasons. Some of it being just their obvious pure love for college sports, previous coverage of NCAA missteps, and just in general some folks that I think can help come up with ways to better the NCAA.
You might know some of them or you might not. Some of them are not national names but that isn't a requirement. The Management Council needs to be MUCH larger than this, but for now we just needed a starting point. And again, I am a basketball writer so I am sorry to the football people who are wondering where some SEC beat writer is.
Board of Directors
I didn't want this group of people to include anymore than five "experts". The Board of Directors is the second line of the new NCAA's management. Their goal is to vote on everything that has gotten past the Management Council. While I hold the Management Council dear to my heart, they are just a think-thank type of the idea and much less of a decision part of the process. Their ideas and such will go to these people -- who will then vote and decide what is what.
One of the following names will surprise you, but do not be alarmed, he was chosen because of his experience of dealing with the NCAA as it is now and not for him being extra-grumpy lately: Marc Isenberg, Dana O’Neil, Jeff Goodman, Pat Forde, and yes -- Jim Boeheim.
These are a group of people who are either highly educated or have directly dealt with everything that is wrong with the NCAA as it is now. I also think that these five people hold the idea of what the NCAA should be, deep in their hearts. And yes, I know, Boeheim seems like a strange selection(I don't even like him).
Executive of Enforcement
The following three selections were tough. I needed to put in place people who I really felt could do the job and not just folks who I think Tweet awesome zingers towards the NCAA. For the Executive of Enforcement I selected Pete Thamel. For those who haven't read any of his stuff, Thamel has been nominated for a Pulitzer for uncovering diploma mills. Any one that could do that kind of detective work, but hold a level of objectivity, needs to hold this position.
An Executive of Enforcement would be in charge of punishing those who violate the rules. Thamel seems like a guy who is not only familiar with the rules but has an idea of how justice should be brought upon those who break them.
These two people could be interchangeable, but I put Dan Wetzel as my fictional VP of the NCAA. Wetzel wrote a glorious book that destroyed everything that the BCS stood for. Clearly he is a man who can help fix all that is wrong in the NCAA. This should also help all the football junkies by getting one of their people in the mix. However, Wetzel is about as diverse a sports writer as there is in the country. Obviously it would be hard to convince him to leave a job where there isn't a handful of people better than him, but you never know.
It also helps that he is very articulate in everything he does. That is something that the NCAA lacks. Perceiving an organization is a joke is almost the same thing as it being one -- Wetzel's voice can help curb that.
President of the NCAA
I am a basketball writer, so obviously my choice is Jay Bilas. Before he tells you why it would never happen (Remember, I already put the idea of paying players to the side for this topic) let me tell you why he is qualified. Bilas joins the group of everyone mentioned who clearly cares about what the NCAA should be. He also has the Wetzel ability to articulate what he says, and when it comes to the NCAA nobody does it any better. Not to mention that he has a background as a lawyer. I don't know about you, but I would like the leader of a tax-exempt, non-profit organization to know the law-of-the-land.
The idea with Bilas, and all involved really, is that these people care more about the integrity of the college experience/product -- or however you want to brand -- it more than universities making sure their wallets stay full with money. I have always found it strange that an organization that is run by people who have direct-ties to universities who benefit from it, would be allowed to run a non-profit, tax-exempt organization.
I also do realize that Bilas, as well as some of the others, have direct ties to universities. But hey, I can't be employing high school dropouts in my fictional infrastructure of the NCAA.