The NCAA Board of Governors called for a constitutional convention in November to consider dramatic reform of the role of the organization in college athletics. They expect action from the meeting to go into effect in January. Things are changing fast.
The NCAA has been under fire for several years now with how to govern college athletics. And recently the Supreme Court basically ruled that what the NCAA was doing to prevent athletes from earning money was illegal and that they needed to change their policies. That decision solidified athletes’ ability to earn money based on their name, image, and likeness.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said that he wants to align authority and responsibilities between school, conferences, and the NCAA. The issues here involve how athletes are ruled eligible and who will enforce rules violations.
I have argued for a while now that it’s time for each school to determine eligibility for its student athletes. Schools have different admission standards for their students. They have different values and focuses. Does this mean that some schools will never be able to compete against others? Yes. But that’s the case now. The Ivy League has a different agenda than Alabama. And that’s ok. That’s why conferences should contain schools with similar views on the role of athletics in college and, ideally, within a reasonable geographical region.
Emmert is talking about recreating the purpose and scope of the NCAA from scratch. Why would he propose this? Emmert is trying to save the NCAA. Instead of having Power 5 conferences just leave the NCAA as has been rumored for a few years now, Emmert would like to maintain a role and save his job and the jobs of others. When organizations are created, whether we are talking athletics or elsewhere, the primary goal of the organization is to survive. They won’t say that, but that’s absolutely their top priority whether they know it or not. After all, have you ever seen an organization recommend the elimination of their organization?
Emmert recently said that it was time to consider deregulation and decentralized control of college sports. The SEC immediately said that they were ready to take on that work. Shock! The SEC wants to set its own rules, or lack of rules. We will see how this plays out, but maybe, just maybe, name, image, and likeness will end up being a huge positive for college athletics when many thought it could cause its downfall.