Don’t expect serious reforms from NCAA anytime soon


Still another wink and a nod …

Finally the NCAA has begun the process of considering whether college athletes will be allowed to be compensated for their names, images and likenesses. Several decades late but welcome to the real world and the issues engulfing collegiate sports.

The stated purpose of a “blue ribbon committee” is to determine whether athletes should be paid for the use of their talents and persona — as in advertising for commercial ventures and/or video games. That could ultimately be limited to a select number of athletes, or possibly allow all athletes to receive limited compensation.

Either approach would take some heat off the NCAA for taking advantage of the athletes, buying some time for the organization and the public to get used to the idea of compensating college athletes.

However, according to a statement issued by the NCAA Board of Governors, “the group will not consider any concepts that could be construed as payment for participation in college sports. The NCAA’s mission to provide opportunity for students to compete against other students prohibits any contemplation of pay-for-play.”

Apparently the organization is not ready to seriously address the recruiting scandals in college basketball. Everybody knows it has been going on for years, some schools having perfected the cheating process and seemingly beyond the NCAA’s reach.

Men’s basketball programs at Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Clemson, Creighton, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisville, LSU, Miami, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, South Carolina, TCU and USC have all been implicated in some way in current federal trials.

Equally interesting are some of the programs that have not been touched. Curious that the University of Kentucky, the leader in one-and-dones, rarely gets mentioned.  Duke, which somehow secured the services of Zion Williamson over alleged offers from other schools, is rarely mentioned.

Part of the dilemma is that the NCAA consists of and is overseen by member schools, many of which have participated in the hypocrisy for decades. Pretending that amateurism is the organization’s primary goal. Overlooking the obvious,  badly tarnishing the image of the organization and the schools.

Could the involvement of Congress be the answer to cleaning up the process? Don’t count on it. Getting non-partisan support for anything from the professional politicians these days is next to impossible.

Only when the universities themselves tire of the hypocrisy engulfing sports like basketball and football will they do anything to address the real problems. That’s not going to happen in the distant future.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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