At the end of a few tumultuous months, the NCAA announced that it would grip a exceptional constitutional convention in November to address loopholes in its rules created by three things: June NCAA v. Alston’s ruling from the Supreme Court, the massive change wrought by state legislatures across the country in names, photos, and likes, and the rapidly changing scene in Section One.
“It’s not about modifying the model we have now,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a press release. “This is about overall transformation so that we can set a sustainable course for college sports for decades to come. We need to focus on the most significant thing – helping students be as thriving as they can be students and athletes.”
To say the NCAA as an organization has been on its heels for most of the former two years would be an understatement. Hoping to overcome some legal challenges by aggressively lobbying Congress to mitigate antitrust concerns, the NCAA “misjudged their efforts” to secure the exemption, McCann Delrahim, a previous Trump administration assistant attorney general, told me in an podcast.
It became clear from some of the judges’ approvals that the NCAA could become more floundering; They are no longer allowed to establish a national rule regulating educational benefits for athletes. Instead, these will now be monitored by each conference.
Complicating matters further, the situation is more straightforward: the board is likely to confront additional charges of collusion thanks to a legal ruling in favor of top-tier athletes Sedona Prince and Grant House. Prince and House argue that athletes should receive a part of the broadcast revenue the organization receives each year from media contracts. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and can be tripled if found in violation of antitrust laws.
Robert Gates, previous president of Texas A&M, explained: “Under the current structure, the expectations for the association greatly exceed its capabilities. The NCAA has distinguished responsibility but little authority to meet these responsibilities. The broader association cannot move quickly. And the authority is diffuse.”
“Until we can better align the mission of the federation with its authority, the NCAA will not be competent to play the role it should be playing in college sports management. We can’t move forward as we are.”
The working group of 22 presidents, commissioners, athletic directors and athletes from all departments will define the “fundamental principles that define college sports.” The NCAA explained that the purpose of the recommendations is to establish “appropriate responsibility at the school and conference level.”
It is worth noting the arduous tasks assigned to this committee by the NCAA. They are charged with:
Gather input from higher education and college athletics stakeholders, particularly student-athletes, to identify the core principles of college sports that will provide further information to the role of the National Association, member conferences and schools, and review following member bylaws with respect to the following:
- Membership criteria.
- School accountability in meeting membership criteria.
- Academic success.
- Health and safety.
- Eligibility and employment.
- Inclusion and fairness.
- Resource allocation.
- Sustainability of sports participation.
- Championship chances.
- Playing rules.
- Areas that have not yet been identified
- Propose a system for applying the rules that takes into account the role of the National Assembly and places appropriate responsibility at the school or conference level.
- Drafting constitutional articles that address current loopholes and deficiencies in the organization’s management of NCAA athletics and align authority and responsibility in college sports that are aligned with the established principles, and that would inform members on how to proceed with the revision of the Bylaws following the principles have been rewritten and adopted.”
The NCAA also requires the committee to “recognize and adhere to deliberations and recommendations that represent the best interests of college athletics and not on the basis of self-interest, employment interest, or interests of affiliations.”
This may be the biggest challenge in asking members to act on behalf of everyone’s collective interests. Of all the flaws in college sports, this may be the biggest challenge. Creating a “level playing field” is critical to improving the shared experiences of all athletes and requires distinguished attention to the survival of other schools besides yours.
As University of Texas President Jay Hartzel told his board of governors when they voted to accept an invitation to join the Securities and Exchange Commission: “Collective athletics is changing rapidly whether any of us want it or not. This is evidenced by a critical Supreme Court decision and historic legislation from several states across the globe. across the country Issues such as name, image and similarity Declining cable TV subscriptions Expanding the college football game Portal Transfer The impact of the global pandemic on sport, to name a few, has demonstrated that a transformation in collegiate athletics is happening all around us.”
This will be a vast task.