Blog Entry

Meaningful college football reforms

Posted on: July 14, 2011 2:50 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 2:51 pm
 
As our five-part series ends, it's time for action. Our own. The following are meaningful and realistic reforms to clean up college football (and by extension college athletics).

Create a commissioner for college football: This is not an original thought. Our Mr. College Football, Tony Barnhart, suggested it in April. 

The sport suffers from too many competing views and constituencies. There needs to be a person with some sort of meaningful authority over the sport. A go-to guy (or girl) who could, for example, explain in plain English why those five Ohio State players were allowed to participate in the Sugar Bowl. An authority figure who could suspend a coach for a game or two for ripping officials. Someone who loves the game and has its best interests in mind.

An objective mind with enough respect to shake hands on press row, and enough of an iron fist to make the hard and fast decisions.

In all seriousness, I would nominate our Mr. College Football.


Quit sweating the small stuff: On Wednesday, our Bryan Fischer tweeted that the NCAA came down hard and banned media from filming involuntary offseason workouts. Brilliant. Meanwhile, players are partying on South Beach and making small fortunes selling their gear.

The best way for the NCAA to gain the trust of coaches and get the attention of players is to separate violations into another sub-category involving violations involving a competitive or recruiting advantage. Those are the violations that make a difference in the game. Those are the ones that piss off coaches the most.


"If you lump all violations of the law into one category, then all of us are guilty," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said.

Brett McMurphy pointed out this week that former Oklahoma State receiver Hart Lee Dykes put four schools on probation. Ohio State was able to win a Sugar Bowl and win a sixth consecutive Big Ten title because it fielded ineligible players. Concentrate on the major stuff. Everything else is details.


Call Spielman and Meyer for advice:
You knowingly cheat, you're gone. Six months, a year. Doesn't matter. Put it in the rules. Players and coaches alike. In fact, create a list of penalties equal to corresponding violations.

The infractions committee has leeway in assessing penalties on a case-by-case basis. Too much leeway. That has become a crutch when explaining why one school gets The Big Haircut, while another gets off. This is the No. 1 way the NCAA could gain the trust of the public, coaches and administrators. Moses had the Ten Commandments. Not too hard for humanity to follow for thousands of years.
The NCAA has a 434-page manual that is all over the place. It can't be that hard to tighten things up.


Call Warren Buffett for advice: Former Oregon AD Pat Kilkenny suggested a brilliant way to cut through the B.S. Get four or five power brokers in and outside college athletics and figure it out, or at least begin to figure it out.

Start with SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Big Ten commish Jim Delany. Throw in Phil Knight from Nike. Maybe Warren Buffett. The roster doesn't matter. Just make sure the participants are smart, powerful and willing.

Slive and Delany two of the most lucrative amateur entities in the country. Knight and Buffett are accomplished businessmen. I wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the room but I'll you a number familiar to Cecil Newton that these guys could come up with a way to save college athletics.

Whatever happens, please, no ... more ... committees. It's take for action.


Coaches must be removed from the player discipline process: Coaches are naturally prejudiced in favor of their players. That's not to say they can't be objective when the star quarterback gets a DUI, it means most of the time they won't be objective.

Coaches get paid to win. The best way to win is to have the best players on the field. The AD or a faculty committee should determine appropriate discipline. That would lessen the likelihood of player entitlement and or enabling by coaches. If that means one less Stephen Garcia on the field, so be it.


Make infractions committee hearing public: This was actually recommended by the Lee Commission in 1991. It has been stubbornly ignored since.

Twenty years ago, then-NCAA executive director Dick Schultz asked Ronald Reagan's Solicitor General Rex Lee to look into the enforcement process. Eleven of the commission's recommendations were adopted. Open hearings weren't.

NCAA types continue to argue that allowing the public into the process would keep witnesses from coming forward. Balanced against the NCAA accountability that would result from open hearings, the trade off would be worth it. For years, the accused have griped about "secret" nature of the proceedings. Now they know what the media feels like when practices are closed. Open 'em both up.


Give the infractions committee subpoena power: This has been suggested for years. The NCAA has no power to make people show up for hearings who are not under their jurisdiction. Think if they had the ability to compel Reggie Bush to testify.

There are all kinds of political and legal reasons not to compel witnesses to testify in an issue involving amateur sports. Few want more of Big Brother in our lives. But we're talking about rules-breaking here, not a murder trial.

The NCAA process resembles an administrative proceeding. Remember when O.J. was sued for monetary damages [and lost] after he [allegedly] killed two people? That's closer to the NCAA process than the trial that allowed The Juice to go free.

This one change has the chance of wiping out cheating as we know it. Picture a process where subpoenas could be issued and witnesses -- such as coaches who have left to school -- would have to testify under oath.

Read this transcript from a 2004 House Judiciary hearing for an entertaining and compelling argument both for and against NCAA subpoena power. 


Call 254-754-9000: That's the phone number of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in Waco, Texas.

Seriously, where is executive director Grant Teaff and his leadership as the worst of his Millionaire's Club members drag the profession down the drain? The NCAA can't be responsible for all the reforms.




Comments

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: July 20, 2011 5:57 am
 

Meaningful college football reforms

I don’t post that often but I think it is time to speak. I see a lot of bad mouthing the NCAA for what is going on. No big deal I am not a big fan but they are doing what needs to be done. They have let stuff slip and yes they are paying the price for it. They let stuff go and let it go and finally they have had enough I read the other day the gloves are off. Well they are NCAA looks like crap for letting everything they have worked for go to waste. No longer are they going turn the chic. They are just going back and trying to make things right in doing so it makes them look incredibly bad. Some are saying they shouldn’t be taking away from what other people have done (at the same time though if they would have acted when they were supposed to it wouldn’t be so severe). Well the things that happened shouldn’t have happened the players that played shouldn’t have played because they should not have been eligible at the time. So in their eyes they feel justified in being so harsh. In our eyes not so much because it does take away from the rest of what the team did. They don’t care at this point they have been kicked and kicked they are not going to take it anymore. Anyone and everyone that didn’t not follow the rules they are going after because they have to be equal or it looks like they are picking favorites. Favorites or money take your pick may have been the case for a long period of time on the reason they didn’t act. Well it is too public now they have to protect the institution. Well they are calling in the artillery and air support folks. It is not a matter of what sport it is simple. Follow the rules or I am coming after you no matter who is in the way you are going to pay. You can only kick a dog so much before it starts to fight for its life. NCAA my friends is fighting for its life and they don’t care about collateral damage at this point it is fix it now and sorry if I hurt your feeling but it is time to lay down the law.





Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Meaningful college football reforms

If a coach, ad or school employee cheats or covers up cheating then ban them from coaching or working in NCAA athletics for an appropriate number of years depending on the number and magnitude of the violations. The school may also be punished.
Player and alumni violations of course should result in penalties for the school and player and maybe the Alumni association.





Since: Jul 8, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Meaningful college football reforms

What is ironic is that you said don't focus on the little stuff (i.e. OSU players selling jeresys) and focus on the big stuff (i.e. the competitive advantage that arose from the little stuff you told us not to care so much about.)



Since: Jul 8, 2011
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Meaningful college football reforms

What is ironic is that you said don't focus on the little stuff (i.e. OSU players selling jeresys) and focus on the big stuff (i.e. the competitive advantage that arose from the little stuff you told us not to care so much about.)



Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Meaningful college football reforms

Dennis Dodd writes:

Ohio State was able to win a Sugar Bowl and win a sixth consecutive Big Ten title because it fielded ineligible players. Concentrate on the major stuff.


Nice assumption, Mr. Dodd, but you are assuming that there is no way OSU could have won the Big Ten without the Tat-5.  In truth, there is no way anyone could know for sure whether or not OSU could have pulled that off.  Keep in mind that if Tressel had reported the issues when he found out about them in April, chances are the Tat-5 would have been suspended for the first 5 games last season.  Considering who OSU played during the first 5 games of last season (Marshall, Miami, Ohio U, E Michigan, and @ Illinois).  It is entirely possible, if not probable, that OSU would have won all 5 of these games anyway.  The only two that would have been contests were the Miami and Illinois games, and the Miami game had no bearing on the Big Ten race. Not only is it a good possibility that OSU could have won a share of the Big Ten title last season, it is also a good possibility that OSU could have still pulled in a BCS bowl bid.  So, Mr. Dodd, if you had written that 'Ohio State was able to win a Sugar Bowl and win a sixth consecutive Big Ten title in part because it fielded ineligible players.' you would have been correct.  As it is, you are way off base.  Maybe you should concentrate on the correct stuff.

One additional point:  People rag on OSU for vacating all 12 of it's victories from last season as being insufficient punishment.  Yet practically no one ever mentions that had Tressel done what he was supposed to do, the rule breaking players would have likely had a 5 game suspension.  As it is, OSU fielded ineligible players for those 5 games.  So OSU vacated all 12 victories despite the likelihood that only 5 were tainted.  Couple that with OSU's decision to force Tressel into retirement, and it appears that OSU's self punishment might not be all that far off of the mark.  Just ask Stewart Mandel.



Since: Apr 16, 2009
Posted on: July 18, 2011 5:38 pm
 

Meaningful college football reforms

Are you kidding me? Florida? Where do you think Cam Newton started out? How about all the academic issues placed against the university recently? What a fraud keeping stupid people eligible to play football.  Florida doesn't cheat. What planet do you live on? Freak
 



Since: Jul 1, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 5:14 pm
 

Meaningful college football reforms

Florida has not had NCAA sanctions of any type in 20 years. We run as clean a program as anyone can in the modern era. I suggest instead of talking out of your, ummm, backside you think about what you are posting and at least offer something up with a little evidence first before spweing.




Since: Jul 1, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 5:07 pm
 

Meaningful college football reforms

Florida has not had NCAA sanctions of any type in 20 years. We run as clean a program as anyone can in the modern era. I suggest instead of talking out of your, ummm, backside you think about what you are posting and at least offer something up with a little evidence first before spweing.



Since: Dec 1, 2010
Posted on: July 18, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Meaningful college football reforms

I agree ask Urban,  who better than Satan himself to tell ya about Sin.  UF players took a 15% pay cut when he bailed.  Dodd you need to step back,  take a deep breathe and really look at who's who and what's what.



Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: July 18, 2011 2:04 pm
 

Let the players take money

The NCAA should come down hard on THE Ohio State University, Oregon, Auburn, and UNC because they broke the current rules that everyone else had to play under and gained an unfair competitive advantage.  After that, though, their next order of business should be to throw out 95 percent of the rule book.  They can solve the entire debate about paying the players by simply allowing players to take outside income from wherever they want.  It doesn't become an employer-employee relationship, and Title IX doesn't come into play.  Some say the rich will get richer, but the rich already are richer.  
 
If there's one thing that is becoming obvious to all, it's that shamateurism in its current form isn't working.  The only people being hurt by shamateurism are the players.  The concept of amateurs is really outdated, anyway.  All it is now is a tool by which the people who do the work on the field or thye court and entertain us are the only ones who don't get any of the money we pay for that entertainment.
 
As for allowing Knight and Silve on this "committee:" that is like hiring snakes to teach your child not to bite the other kids.


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