Knight Commission co-chair William "Brit" Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, was interviewed by FoxBusiness.com in relation to the unsustainable cost of college sports.
Knight Commission co-chair William "Brit" Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, was interviewed by FoxBusiness.com in relation to the unsustainable cost of college sports.
Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star wrote an article that questioned the recently published data which highlighted the inequities of graduation rates of black and white basketball players at NCAA Division I institutions. Whitlock questioned whether the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate and the recent graduation rates published by the The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida accurately portrayed an issue where black athletes were actually graduating at rates greater than black non-athletes. The article notes that issue may be more primarily directed at how many athletes admitted to an institution based on athletic excellence, yet are "at-risk" academically. He points to parental responsibility as an issue to be concerned about as much, or moreso, than institutional responsibility.
Richard Lapchick, who directed the study at the University of Central Florida, was quoted by Miller-McCune Magazine: "If we only bring them to college campuses and don't expect them to perform academically, we're not really delivering on the promise we make to those student-athletes. And if more white students are doing better than African-Americans, then we're not delivering on the promise of equality."
Graduate Fellow – Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
Kareem McKenzie, Pennsylvania State U. graduate and current player, New York Giants
(On the message he tries to give to high school players, particularly regarding steroid use) “It takes hard work. There are shortcuts. Don’t be stupid and don’t put yourself in a situation where you can harm yourself.”
“None of that stuff matters now—how big your weight room is, how many practice fields you have. It’s how hard you work in the environment you have.”
“No one tells these students that the average NFL career lasts three to four years. No one says that every Tuesday, on your day off, they bring anybody and everybody in to take your position.”
“When you look at the violence factor, football is a very violent sport. It’s man against man. The more violent you are, the more coveted you are as a player. Sometimes players can’t separate from that when they get off the field.”
Joanne Belknap, professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Colorado at Boulder
(On issues involving athletes and assault, especially sexual assault and harassment) “Climate matters, and the good news is that we can change the climate.”
“Alcohol and drugs do not cause sexual abuse. People’s basic values don’t change when they are high.”
“To me, one of the biggest problems is how isolated and insulated athletics departments are. Faculty, staff, and non-athlete students feel like they are excluded from that, and it’s difficult to have what should be a community to discuss what the issues are.”
Don McPherson, director of the Sports Leadership Institute, Adelphi University
“If a journalism student writes a scathing racist commentary in the school newspaper, it’s not an indictment of journalism department. If a chemistry student builds a bomb or an exploding toilet, there’s not an indictment of the chemistry department. But if a student-athlete does something wrong, the athletics department, the coaches are blamed.”
Regarding the messages students get about violence, respecting women, and using alcohol and drugs: “We don’t talk to them honestly, yet we expect them to make good decisions with no information, and we expect them to ignore the culture from which they come, especially the culture that is wrapped around the industry of sports.”
Jemalle Cornelius, current student at the University of Florida and member of the football team
(Regarding the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program) “The program was effective because it was clear-cut. I don’t think student-athletes need to be hit with statistics. It’s real-life situations, and that’s exactly what the program did. They told us what battery is, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and said if you do this, you will get arrested.”
“Just looking at it, with Coach Urban Meyer and his philosophy, he talks a lot about core values. One of his core values is treating women with respect. Universities need to pay attention to coaches a lot more. When I was getting recruiting, I didn’t see it, but the coach becomes your father away from home. Coaches need to have core values and incorporate them within their programs. Without that, problems will continue and athletes will fail and make wrong choices.”
“I don’t think a lot of programs are focused on choices and values. They’re focused on scoring touchdowns.”
“I don’t think student-athletes want to go to a party, get in a fight, and get on the cover of Sports Illustrated for doing something stupid.”
Dan Wetzel, columnist, Yahoo.com and author of Glory Road
“Right now, so many kids are getting hurt in this. Kids are getting steered in the wrong direction, and they have one shot. If that goes wrong, they’re done. They can’t get back to the NBA or to a college scholarship. There has to be more accountability.”
“It’s awful tough [to maintain integrity] in basketball, because LeBron James is worth a billion dollars. It’s hard to keep people from wanting to be his agent because the money’s so big.”
“Nobody with good parents goes to six different high schools.”
Myron Rolle, graduate of the Hun School (Princeton, N.J.) and prospective football player at Florida State U.
“Committing early was so important to me. I had 83 offers, even after I had a list of my top 6 schools [published]. Committing in September allowed me to focus on my senior year and football and just be positive about the experience.”
(On coaches disparaging other colleges in the recruiting process) “Negative recruiting reflects poorly on person doing the negative recruiting.”
“I wasn’t trained formally on any of the rules. It wasn’t done at my high school or any of the camps I went to. Some of the drastic [recruiting inducements], like money or having females in your room, that’s just common sense.”
“Being a football player, websites like Rivals.com and Scout.com, the amount of access they have to student-athletes is amazing. They can call you on your cell phone seven times a night and you’re like, ‘didn’t I give you an interview two minutes ago?’ That can be overwhelming.”
Scottie Reynolds, senior at Herndon (Va.) High School and prospective basketball player at the U. of Oklahoma
(Answering a question about whether athletes are aware of recruiting rules) “One school sent me a packet and some books. I read like two pages and I got tired. It’s so much, so much about what you’ve got to do, what all the dates are, I’ve got other stuff to study than a rulebook. I know other players, and their backgrounds are much tougher than mine, and they really don’t care. They’ll look at that packet and just push it away. They’ve got other priorities to focus on.”
(On coaches disparaging other colleges in the recruiting process) “Recruiting is a game, and any way you can put your foot in front of the other school, that’s what you’re going to do. You do whatever it takes to get your school on top.”
Peter Roby, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society
(Referring to Myron Rolle’s mention of a communication from Gov. Jeb Bush) “If the governor of the state of Florida is text-messaging or calling a recruit, what is he saying? He’s saying I’m going to take time out of managing the state to call you.”
(Referring to coaches) “If you’ve got the championship ring or the thousand-dollar suit, you go into most kids’ homes, they’ll be influenced by that.”
Tye Gunn, recent graduate and former football player, Texas Christian University
(Regarding the fact that scholarships are given to athletes on only a one-year basis) “I think it’s really unfair for us to sign a scholarship and be expected to stay four or five years, and they can turn around and take that from you. Coaches can leave whenever they want. If we were given that opportunity, that would give us a little more pull.”
Ian Gray, graduate student and former track athlete, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
(Answering a question about a coach who kicked an athlete off a team for participating in a study-abroad trip) “The student-athlete is there to get an education. We’re student-athletes. I think that the coach was lacking information about why the student-athlete was there.”
Ruth Riley, graduate of the University of Notre Dame and basketball player for the Detroit Shock:
“Commercialization in women’s basketball has been good for the growth of the sport.”
Mike Aguirre, graduate and former football player, Arizona State University:
“Once you put something on Facebook, I’m not sure how much of it is your private business. Every action has a consequence, and it’s up to us to own the decisions we make.”
Knight Commission Poll Finds Americans Are Concerned
About College Sports
Professionalism in college sports, among topics at Washington, D.C. Summit
(WASHINGTON, JAN. 30)-- Americans are deeply concerned about the professionalization of college sports, according to a new poll conducted for the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. Concerns about how the increasing pressure to win and generate revenue impacts the athletes’ recruitment and subsequent experience prompted the commission to sponsor the first-ever Summit on the Collegiate Athlete Experience today at The George Washington University.
In addition to the live presentation, the summit will be webcast free of charge from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at www.knightcommission.org. The webcast is the keynote for the launch of the Knight Commission’s redesigned website.
At the summit, Knight Commission members, as well as students, athletics administrators and faculty, will hear from current and former college athletes about topics such as recruiting, the use of performance-enhancing substances, academics, and the role of athletes to impact policy changes.
Among the panelists are current and former college stars, many of whom have gone on to professional careers. Among them are former pro football player Don McPherson, now at Adelphi University; Ruth Riley of the University of Notre Dame and the Detroit Shock of the Women’s National Basketball Association and Kareem McKenzie of Pennsylvania State University and the NFL New York Giants; current standouts like Jemalle Cornelius of the University of Florida and Tye Gunn of Texas Christian University; top-ranked recruits Scottie Reynolds of Herndon (Va.) High School and Myron Rolle of The Hun School in Princeton, N.J.; and former athletes who chaired the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“Americans have strong views about college sports and the welfare of student-athletes,” said former Michigan State University president Clifton R. Wharton Jr., vice chairman of the commission. “They believe that college sports are becoming overtly professionalized. We look forward to hearing directly from the athletes about their experiences, and allowing them an opportunity to share their opinion on these important issues.”
R. Gerald Turner, Southern Methodist University’s president and also vice chairman of the commission, said that the poll “provides a good starting point for the conversation about the welfare of college athletes. Its findings should not be seen as conclusive, but they do suggest that Americans have widely differing views on intercollegiate athletics.”
The Census-balanced and representative telephone poll of 502 American adults was conducted for the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics by Widmeyer Research and Polling of Washington, D.C. in mid-December 2005.
A full list of participants in today’s summit and an executive summary of the poll are attached.
The Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 in response to more than a decade of highly visible scandals in college sports. The goal of the Commission was to recommend a reform agenda that emphasized academic values in an arena where commercialization of college sports often overshadowed the underlying goals of higher education.
The Commission, which presented a series of recommendations in its groundbreaking 1991 report, Keeping Faith with the Student-Athlete, and again in 2001 in A Call to Action, reconvened in November 2003 to continue its work with a specific effort to involve athletes and other students in discussions about college sports. More information about the commission is available at www.knightcommission.org.
The cover story in the Feb. 6 issue of USA Today tackles specific problems faced by female athletes--depression, eating disorders, and the pressure to lead “perfect lives.”
The Sports Economist has a summary of a scary story: life expectancy of NFL players.
A report out from a group sponsored by the University of Maryland says that young people (i.e., high schoolers) who are involved in sports are more likely to vote, be registered to vote, and follow the news closely than their peers. A full copy of the report in pdf format is available at the group’s website.
Campus student-athlete advisory committees (SAACs) were mandated by NCAA legislation in 1995 to represent the voices of student-athletes on issues affecting their collegiate experience. Lately, we hear more about SAACs organizing visits to local hospitals than in taking on difficult topics with athletics administrators. At the January Summit on the Collegiate Athlete Experience, a number of topics affecting the student-athlete experience were discussed as needing attention. How is your SAAC representing your needs and teammates’ voices of concern to your athletics administration?
According to a story on ESPN.com, three former Division I athletes are suing the NCAA because of its rules limiting scholarships to tuition, room, board, books, and fees. The lawsuit alleges that the NCAA’s limits violate federal antitrust laws.
"The Knight Commission has long advocated that teams be required to meet minimum academic standards to participate in championship competition. The latest data on academic progress rates and the determination of team penalties is a positive step in necessary reform. Nevertheless, it is too early to tell if the possible penalties will change recruiting behavior and lift the priority of academic success of athletes. The fact that 40 percent of all football, basketball and baseball teams could be penalized if performance doesn’t change in two years, when the squad size adjustments are eliminated, shows that there is still much work to be done. The NCAA needs to hold firm on the current benchmarks, and assess penalties when the standards are not met. Institutions must understand that there are real consequences if they fail to improve the academic success of their student athletes.”
The citizens of the ‘blogosphere’ also have taken note of academic issues for the first time. Here are some of the comments they’ve posted:
A story making its way around print and online media concerns a tennis player at Tennessee State University whose scholarship was revoked after she attended a journalism conference instead of practice. She was also kicked off the team. Meleny Whiting says it’s unfair to force her to choose between the conference and practice; the university says the conference did not have an explicitly academic purpose.
On March 31, 2006, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer cited the 2004 Knight Commission report, “Challenging the Myth” in arguing that George Mason’s entry to the Final Four probably won’t lead to greater long-term alumni contributions. Additionally, in an April 2, 2006, op-ed article in the Indianapolis Star, Knight Commission vice chairmen R. Gerald Turner and Clifton Wharton have called on the NCAA to take a closer look at how the welfare of college athletes is affected by allowing athletes to appear in promotional features sponsored by commercial entities.
A new law in North Carolina will require taxpayers in the state of North Carolina to pay the difference in tuition between in-state and out-of-state college student athletes. A 2005 state law allows the University of North Carolina system to treat the cost of a full scholarship for an out-of- state student at the lower in-state tuition rate. William Friday, former chancellor of the UNC system and a Knight Commission member stated: “With the pressures on the public to build more schools and hospitals, why should we put money into underwriting athletic programs?’’ says Friday, 85. ``Athletics programs are building bigger facilities, paying coaches enormous salaries, and when the bills get too large for them to handle, the taxpayer is stuck with the bill.’’
More women than ever before are participating in college athletics. But, the percentage of women coaching college teams for women has dropped to its lowest point ever. Researchers Linda Jean Carpenter and R. Vivian Acosta, professors at Brooklyn College, looked at the data for college sports across all three NCAA divisions. In their 2006 update of their study “Women in Intercollegiate Sport: A Longitudinal, National Study,” they found only 42.4 percent of women’s college teams are coached by a woman and less than 2 percent of men’s teams are coached by a woman. When Title IX was enacted in 1972, more than 90 percent of head coaches for women’s teams (and 2 percent for men’s teams) were women.
Additionally, the study found a continued decrease in the number of women who run athletic programs. In 1972 more than 90 percent of women’s college sports programs were run by women. In 2006, only 18.6 percent of athletic directors of women’s programs are female. In 14.5 percent of schools there is no female athletic administrator at all. In support staff findings, while nearly all schools (97.5 percent) had a full-time athletic trainer only 27.4 percent had a woman as the head athletic trainer. Similar statistics were found in sports information where 98 percent of schools had a full-time sports information director but only 12.1 percent were women.
While fewer women are in coaching and administration, many more are on the playing field. The study finds there were 8.45 teams for women per school and 8,702 women’s teams total in the country, the most ever. There are 300 more teams than in 2004. In 1970, two years before Title IX was enacted, there were approximately 2.5 teams per school and 16,000 athletes. In the NCAA’s participation rates information released in February, there were 8,016 men’s teams, though there were more male athletes (219,744) than female athletes (164,998) for the 2004-05 academic year.
Athletic department budgets that are growing three to four times as fast as overall university budgets and escalating coaches’ salaries have drawn the attention of NCAA officials and federal lawmakers, who are reviewing the current tax-exempt status of college athletics. Aides for the House Committee on Ways and Means are asking questions about potential tax abuses in college sports. The concern is that big-time sports programs are becoming more about entertainment and losing an already tenuous connection to the tax- exempt purposes of higher education. One question being asked is whether college athletics donors should be allowed to take tax deductions for making contributions that not only supplement coaches’ salaries, but pay for perks such as luxury suites and access to better season- ticket packages.
Big East university presidents voted 13-3 in November to stop enrolling first-year athletes who do not meet the NCAA’s initial eligibility standards coming out of high school. There are no exceptions, which is a major change from Big East guidelines issued a year ago. The Big East became the fourth Bowl Championship Series league to stop enrolling non-qualifiers, joining the Pacific-10, the Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Big Ten has no league-wide rule keeping non-qualifiers out. The Southeastern Conference allows for a limited number of exceptions spread across all teams at an institution.
Earlier football commitments
College football coaching staffs are offering and accepting commitments from high school football prospects earlier and earlier in the recruiting process. “I worry about the early commitments,” Florida head coach Urban Meyer told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “But we are guilty as well. I worry about it with respect to their high school careers. The story is, once he committed to Florida, he decommitted from the high school. That is, the parents and the way they look at it sometimes is, ‘Oh he got a scholarship. Why continue to have a great high school career?’
“Also, we are judged on the character and the behavior of our players --- and taking a commitment from a guy you have met one time, that is hard to do. But we do it.”
Longer season impacts freshmen
More Division I-A football freshmen will see increased playing time in the future simply because there will be more games. The college football schedule is set to grow to 12 games next season. Coaches’ apprehensions will grow along with it. “They are making it more difficult on football players every year,” Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Coaches are afraid not only of losing — an additional game provides the chance to do just that — but also of losing key players because of the extra game, thus forcing younger ones, who might have redshirted and developed further physically in the past, into the game.
“You are going to have injuries more,” Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer said. “And if you don’t [play everybody], you are going to be very fortunate to make it through the season with just the guys that start the season.”
The driving force behind playing 12 games is pure economics. Athletic departments need more money. In Division I-A, 40 percent of athletic departments reported a profit in fiscal 2005, according to the NCAA. Football, more so than any other sport, has the earning potential to bring programs into the black.
“I can understand we need to raise more money. We are all for that,” Tuberville said. “It will add some pretty good nonconference games.”
That last statement is up for debate. Concern has grown that schedules will become watered down with I-AA opponents. In the Pac-10, that concern has led to boosting the conference schedule from eight to nine games. The Big 12 also has debated such a move. In the SEC, seven programs have a I-AA opponent for next season. That’s a presumptive a win and a financial windfall courtesy ticket sales, potential television money and concession revenue.
George Washington University coaches will have to fill out reports on recruits who come from unaccredited high schools, according to a May 11 article in The Washington Post. GWU had several players who went to schools labeled as “diploma mills” in earlier reports in the Post and The New York Times.
The NCAA is telling Division I baseball teams to come up with a plan to improve academic performance or face a substantial cutback in games. As a group, Baseball’s graduation rates and Academic Progress scores are the third-worst, ahead of only football and men’s basketball, and the sport’s graduation rate is second-worst to men’s basketball among college sports.
Correspondence Courses Spell Concern
A number of schools are currently under NCAA investigation for allowing student-athletes to use an inordinate amount of correspondence courses (courses by Internet or mail) in their course loads.
According to a special report in the Salt Lake Tribune, Brigham Young University’s independent study program has been employed by coaches and athletes—including football recruits from the University of Kansas, and more than two dozen football and basketball players from Nicholls State University in Louisiana —to improperly gain or maintain athletic eligibility at other schools. The case that tipped off the investigation focused on Ricky Clemons, a basketball player from the University of Missouri.
Wayne Baker, the executive director of the National Junior College Athletic Association, told the Tribune: “For the last two or three years, we have seen a number of transcripts with one hour or two hours or three hours from BYU correspondence courses.”
BYU’s enormous correspondence program has 28,358 students enrolled in so-called “distance learning” courses in 2005, one of the largest in America.
“There is clearly a rapidly moving coaches’ grapevine,” said David Price, the NCAA’s vice president for enforcement services.
According to the Tribune, it is not clear how widespread the problem is. Price would not reveal to the Tribune how many investigations his office is actively pursuing involving online courses, but admitted there were “a lot more than I thought there would be. The state of technology has made it much more common.”
While men’s collegiate sports programs are being trimmed for budgetary reasons - such as tennis at Colorado - women’s sports are added as universities keep pace with Title IX compliance. Athletic directors are looking to fulfill complicated compliance formulas, involving everything from scholarships and “proportionality” mirroring the male-female student enrollment ratio, at a minimum of cost. All Division I schools must sponsor at least 16 sports and a minimum of six for men and women.
Colorado State University’s women’s water polo team competes in the all- California Western Water Polo Association instead of the Mountain West Conference, as it does in other sports. When the NCAA mandated Division I football schools offer 16 sports, Colorado State announced the addition of water polo in 2003 as the 16th sport—instead of soccer. CSU is the only MWC school not to offer soccer, and the sport is second only to basketball in girls participation in Colorado high schools.
CSU coach John Mattos told the Denver Post that adding water polo was much cheaper than women’s soccer. It cost CSU less than $100,000 as an initial investment while soccer would have been much higher, Mattos said. The team’s budget is now about $35,000 for travel, pool rental and equipment, exclusive of paid staff. Although a maximum of eight scholarships are permitted in water polo, CSU started with three and increases to five next season. Scholarships are split among several players, similar to what most schools do in track and softball.
CSU is far from alone in adding otherwise unusual sports in order to fulfill legal requirements. Sports that feature large rosters, such as rowing (an average of 60 participants), soccer (a 25-player average) or equestrian (45) became instant Title IX cures for some universities. Nebraska, which made the club sport of women’s bowling a varsity sport in 2003-4, has since won two NCAA titles.
“More and more schools need to find a way to comply with the law, whether it’s to demonstrate continuing expansion of a program or the proportionality of the institution,” Missouri State senior women’s administrator Darlene Bailey told the Denver Post. Bailey is also chair of the NCAA committee on Women in Athletics.
And, yes, she has heard the blame heaped on Title IX for cutbacks in men’s programs. “It’s a matter of institutional choice whether to cut any sport,” Bailey said. “If a cut is budget-based because of limited resources, the pie is only so big and the choice is how to cut the pie.”Rather than eliminate programs, Bailey points to the rapid escalation of football and men’s basketball budgets and asks why schools don’t move some of that money over to save nonrevenue men’s sports programs.
Whether it’s a good idea would be debated vigorously if the proposal reaches the NCAA football rules committee, the first step in creating legislation. It has been kicked around for a while now; Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany said he first remembers hearing of it 20 years ago, and Gophers coach Glen Mason thinks it was even longer ago. “There are much more people for it than against it,” Mason said of his fellow coaches. “I’m not against it; I just haven’t thought it all through yet.”
With a maximum of only 85 players allowed on scholarship in a season, and the NCAA’s new 12-game schedule, many teams find themselves going deep into their bench late in a season when injuries pile up. With fewer scholarships and more games, “We definitely continue to sail uncharted waters,” Mason told the Pioneer Press.
The deadline for proposing legislation for the NCAA’s January convention is in mid-July; that’s an unlikely timetable. But the AFCA, with help from the NCAA, is getting ready to survey member schools on the issue. NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said that includes “helping to design the survey instrument and helping to analyze the data.” The rule must be officially proposed by a conference.
Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi said one must keep in mind that many in college athletics believe the NCAA should go back to making all freshmen ineligible for competition, as the situation was before the early 1970s. That change led to the limit on football scholarships.Mason said he falls into the camp that would prefer all freshmen are ineligible because it’s a tough transition for students, and most aren’t ready to play anyway. That said, in the current climate, he said a fifth year of eligibility isn’t a bad idea.
WASHINGTON—The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics today named R. Gerald Turner and Clifton R. Wharton Jr. co-chairmen. Wharton was a member of the Commission at its founding in 1989 and Turner joined in 1991. Both men have been leaders in the effort to ensure that college athletics programs are conducted according to the educational missions of American universities. Turner is president of Southern Methodist University and Wharton is president emeritus of Michigan State University.
“Gerald Turner and Clifton Wharton are models of excellence and respected by their peers,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the commission’s sponsor. “It’s essential for the Knight Commission that its leaders be principled and knowledgeable, as well as insightful and fair-minded. Gerald and Clif have all of these qualities, and so it is great news for intercollegiate athletics that they have agreed to take on these co-chair positions.”
“We are at a time when the lines between collegiate and professional sports are being blurred as never before,” Wharton said. “The Knight Commission has always believed that college sports need to be linked tightly with the educational mission of American colleges and universities, and the trend toward the professionalization of college sports threatens this vital linkage. ”
Turner added that “college presidents, as well as trustees and faculty members, have the responsibility to make sure that we manage athletics programs in a way that allows the athletes involved to get the same quality of educational experience as all other students.”
The commission also announced William E. (Brit) Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and former president of The Ohio State University and the University of Maryland at College Park, as a new member. All three attended their first commission meeting in their new roles today in Washington.
Turner and Wharton are succeeding Thomas K. Hearn Jr., president emeritus of Wake Forest University, who agreed to assume the role of chairman in March 2005 but has decided to step down for health reasons. Hearn will remain with the commission as chairman emeritus.
Turner (bio) has been president of Southern Methodist since 1995, and served as chancellor of the University of Mississippi from 1984-95. He has served in a number of NCAA leadership positions. Currently, he is chairman of the subcommittee on presidential leadership of internal and external constituencies for the NCAA’s Presidential Task Force on the Future of Division I Athletics. The subcommittee is charged with examining the relationship between college presidents and their trustees concerning athletics issues. Turner also was the founding chairman of the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification. He played basketball at Lubbock Christian Junior College.
Wharton (bio) served as president of Michigan State from 1970-78, becoming the first African-American to head a predominantly white major university. He also served as chancellor of the State University of New York system from 1978-87. He is a former chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, which provides retirement and mutual funds for academic and non-profit institutions. A former chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, Wharton ran track as an undergraduate at Harvard University.
Kirwan (bio) served a term as chairman of the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors from 2000 to 2003. He has also served as chairman of the boards of the American Council on Education and the National Association of State Land-Grant Colleges and Universities. Kirwan played football as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky.
ABOUT THE KNIGHT COMMISSION ON INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS
The Knight Commission was formed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in October 1989 in response to more than a decade of highly visible scandals in college sports. The goal of the commission was to recommend a reform agenda that emphasized academic values in an arena where commercialization of college sports often overshadowed the underlying goals of higher education. The commission has had a major impact on the conduct of college sports through its reports, Keeping Faith with the Student-Athlete (1991) and A Call to Action (2001). The commission will continue to monitor and report on progress in presidential control, academic integrity, financial integrity and independent certification of athletics programs. More information can be found at http://www.knightcommission.org.
ABOUT THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities. More information can be found at http://www.knightfdn.org.
Under NCAA rules, text messages to recruits are considered to be more like letters than phone calls. That is, coaches can send unlimited messages to high school seniors they are trying to recruit, and some messages to juniors. And they can respond to any message from a recruit at any time. According to an ESPN report, that is creating abuses. “The concern is about the intrusiveness to the prospect,” ACC associate commissioner Shane Lyons told the network. “You know, the timing. Some of these e-mails, or text messages, are being sent during academic class time, during the school day hours.” Lyons chairs the NCAA’s Recruiting Committee on Academics, Eligibility, and Compliance, a group charged with reviewing recruiting regulations.
But the NCAA may have bigger concerns than the excessive number of text messages some prospects are receiving on a daily basis. Under NCAA rules, college coaches cannot initiate contact of any kind with high school freshmen and sophomores, and are extremely limited in the amount of times they can phone high school players before their senior season. But under the current regulations, text messaging is not considered a phone call.
Coaches can text message juniors as many times as they want. ESPN also found evidence of coaches using text messages as a loophole to get around the restrictions on calling recruits. Coaches are essentially using text messages to lure recruits into calling them. While coaches are extremely limited in the amount of times they can call high school recruits there’s no limit to the number of times high school recruits can phone college coaches.
Lyons said the NCAA must find a delicate balance between limiting intrusive contact and allowing coaches to pursue their top recruits. “What is too much? What’s not enough?” Lyons said. “We want to give our coaches the opportunity to recruit the right type of athlete for their program, for that institution, allow them to get to know the individual, not only as an athlete but as a person. But there’s a balance there as well.”
An NCAA subcommittee is scheduled to meet June 13-14 in Indianapolis where it will review feedback on the topic from conferences and coaches associations. By the end of the meeting members will know if the subcommittee will sponsor legislation lobbying to limit text messaging for next year’s legislative cycle. Proposed legislation must be submitted by July 15, and schools and conferences will then vote on the legislation. The earliest any change could take effect would be January of 2007.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports (registration required) that most colleges lack policies for athletes who become pregnant. Tara Brady, a student at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, sued her former basketball coach for discrimination, claiming that she was told to “go home . . . because her pregnancy would be a ‘distraction’ to the team.” She requested a ‘medical redshirt,’ giving her a chance to forego eligibility for a year, but sued after her claim was rejected. The university settled with Ms. Brady for an unspecified sum.
The article suggests that athletes who become pregnant fear the effect their status will have on their scholarships, and as a result hide their pregnancies (and fail to seek prenatal care), or seek abortions.
Elizabeth Sorenson, faculty athletic representative at Wright State University in Dayton, has proposed the NCAA develop a pregnancy policy. The on-line discussion of the issue is available by linking here. The WSU policy calls on athletes to notify their coaches of pregnancy status, to refrain from withdrawing from their sport, and establishes a support group to counsel a pregnant athlete and oversee continued participation.
However, the NCAA has yet to discuss “maternity-leave”-like policies for pregnant college athletes. Among the questions posed by The Chronicle story are the following:* Should athletes be required to notify their athletics department if they get pregnant?
* Should they be allowed to play while pregnant?
* Should the NCAA change its bylaws to treat pregnancy as a protected medical condition for which a scholarship should not be revoked?
* What programs should colleges establish to help athletes who become pregnant? To help athletes who have had their babies?
Probably the major issue involving college athletes in the news right now is hazing, and specifically the pictures that have emerged of team-bonding nights at Northwestern University, the Catholic University of America. Now, someone identified as a former University at Albany compliance officer has posted a blog about hazing, calling on the NCAA to pass emergency legislation to ban the practice. Many athletes, of course, see nothing wrong with a team party that involves a few people being silly--even if they’re the freshmen being tied up, drawn upon, and forced to do skits, shots, or other things. This was a major issue at the Knight Commission’s Summit on the Collegiate Athlete Experience.
The NCAA recently passed a rule allowing student-athletes to transfer to any college after graduating if they still have eligibility remaining without sitting out a year, as required of other student-athlete transfers. The rule, which passed without fanfare, recently drew the ire of coaches from the Southeastern Conference (SEC), who are worried that star players already on college teams will be recruited to spend a year or two at a new college. Florida coach Urban Meyer was quoted in the Athens Banner Herald: “That’s a loophole that will be closed up. I’m convinced that we’ll eventually shut that one down.” The SEC, though, amended its rules to allow teams to accept incoming transfers with one season of eligibility left.
A good document on the governance of intercollegiate athletics for trustees and other interested parties was published by the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities in 2004.
The movement of college football games to fit television schedules can create difficulties for athletes. Recently, Texas Christian University and Baylor University moving their game ahead a day to Sunday, Sept. 3, at 4:30 p.m. and will be carried by Fox Sports Net nationally. ESPN is televising a college football doubleheader the same day, with the University of Memphis travelling to the University of Mississippi for a 3:30 pm kickoff, followed by a U. of Kentucky-U. of Louisville matchup at 8 p.m. Memphis players will play twice on Sunday this fall, with their Nov. 4 game against the University of Southern Mississippi now moved to Sunday, Nov. 5 to accommodate an ESPN national television audience at 7 p.m. And, the University of Michigan recently had a pair of Saturday football games (September 30 at University of Minnesota and October 14 at Penn State University) moved to 8 p.m. to accomodate television, to the chagrin of its head coach, Lloyd Carr.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram ( link here ) asked TCU head coach Gary Patterson and Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw about their thoughts of the game change. “[National TV] is why we would switch a game, for recruiting purposes and the exposure you get,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Also for the polls. If you’re a part of them and you’re playing well [on national TV], it can help you.” According to McCaw: “It’s a creative way to get a great deal of exposure for the game and for the schools. It’s a really unique opportunity, and we feel like, with it being Labor Day weekend, it will work out well for us.”
The Louisville Courier Journal ( link here ) inquired about the schedule change with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich. “The national exposure is great for both teams and for football in the state of Kentucky,” Jurich said. “That’s our hope every season, that the game be given a national spotlight.”
The Memphis Commercial Appeal ( link here ) asked Memphis athletic director R. C. Johnson about the movement of games to Sunday, as well as ESPN spokesman Michael Humes. “In the past, I would lobby the television guys to put one of our games on,” said Johnson. “Now they are calling us. It tells me how far we’ve come as a program and what a great job Tommy has done. It’s terrific. “Last year we got a lot of (national television exposure) because of DeAngelo. Good programs get on national television because they are good programs.” Humes stated: “For years we had NFL Sunday Night Football within that particular time slot. We felt there was an opportunity to schedule a Sunday night football game when it became available. College football is one of our most popular properties, and it has performed well in non-traditional time slots.”
Carr told the Detroit News ( link here ) “The student-athlete will get home from the visiting team at three or four o’clock in the morning, or later, depending where you’re playing. And they wait and they lay around a hotel room all day long. “I think we’ve gone down that road [of television controlling football scheduling] and there never will be a return unfortunately. I think the 12th game was just the first of what’s going to be a continued growth … we’re turning into a professional sport.” Carr also voiced concern about the Alamo Bowl moving to January 6. “Carr is hardly amused by the potential for the Alamo Bowl game, traditionally a pre-New Year’s bowl, moving to Jan. 7, a day before the new BCS national title game. That would ensure a prime-time slot for the Alamo, as opposed to shifting to a late afternoon game from what had been a prime-time start. The new International Bowl in Toronto will be played Jan. 6. “We need to get some bowl games played in February, so we can make more money,” Carr said. “That’s the thing we need to do.”
A new reality show on ESPNU has an interesting premise. On July 25, ESPNU will debut a new reality show, “Summer House,” featuring six incoming freshmen college football players in a house for a week. According to a report in Broadcast & Cable (link here), the show will feature players competing in various non-football challenges, include non-football competitions such as performing a dance routine during halftime of a women’s professional basketball game. ESPN college football analyst Chris Spielman will serve as the “house dad” on the show, and ESPNU anchor Mike Hall and ESPN college football analyst Bob Davie will also have roles.
This may be a fun and exciting exercise for these students, but it raises several concerns:
The show, filmed in Chicago, will air Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. ET.
According to the Huntsville Times (link here), Gundlach said that as many as 152 directed study students at one time were taking courses from department head Tom Petee by the spring semester of 2005. Gundlach told the Huntsville Times that even five directed study students would be a heavy load. The report stated that Petee stopped the practice after Gundlach discussed the issue at a faculty meeting.
Gundlach provided his own research to demonstrate that the course was intended as a method of providing preferential treatment to football players. As printed in the Columbus Ledger Enquirer (link here), Gundlach alleged Petee gave high grades to athletes for little or no work. Gundlach confirmed to the Ledger-Enquirer that, in 2004, 18 members of Auburn’s football team took a combined 97 hours of classes from Petee. At the time, the football team was undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the nation. His research also showed grade inflation for athletes: players received 81.1 percent A’s and 16.8 percent B’s, but those numbers changed to 40.9 percent A’s and 51.7 percent B’s after his confrontation with Petee. Gundlach said the players received an average grade point average of 3.31 in Petee’s classes, compared to 2.14 in all their other credit hours. Gundlach said he compiled his information by cross-referencing Petee’s student list with a list of athletes receiving varsity sports credits during a two-year period.
Petee has denied all allegations of academic misconduct. Several players who took the course denied preferential treatment and told the Hunstville Times (link here or link here) they completed the work that was required, and received legitimate grades.
Auburn University officials told the Huntsville Times (link here) that Gundlach brought the issue to light because he was passed over for promotion in 2002. However, Gundlach told the Columbus Ledger Enquirer, “"Somebody has to protect the students’ degrees and what they mean. I’d like to be seen as someone preserving the value of my work instead of cheapening it to keep football players on the field.”
On June 5, the provost of Auburn University set up a committee to investigate the matter, but there has been no discussion of when the findings will be reported.
The new policy will begin in the 2007-2008 academic year and the first four-year period measured would be from 2003-4 to 2006-7. Currently, teams with an APR below 925 in any year can lose up to 10 percent of the scholarships they may award.A team can remove itself from consideration of historical penalties by improving its APR, if the academic performance is favorable compared to non-athletes at the same institution, or if an institution’s per-capita educational expenses are significantly lower than those of other institutions in Division I.
Walter Harrison, president of the University of Hartford and chairman of the NCAA’s Committee on Academic Progress, told the Chronicle of Higher Education (link here), “These are the most severe penalties that institutions and teams can incur. These are penalties for the worst of the worst.” And, NCAA president Myles Brand noted that the new penalties were being implemented to “accurately identify those teams that are consistently underperforming and prompts them to attain a higher level of academic achievement.
Former Wake Forest basketball star was a three-time Academic All-America honoree
“I see this recognition as a validation of the Knight Commission’s contributions to college sports,” Perko said. “I’ve been fortunate to work with so many outstanding leaders dedicated to preserving the balance between academics and athletics. In receiving this honor, I must recognize Maureen Devlin, the commission’s former executive director, for her unwavering commitment to the commission’s work and for allowing me to become involved in this effort. I also must thank Bill Friday, president emeritus at the University of North Carolina and Thomas Hearn, president emeritus at Wake Forest, for their guidance and support. Both have made significant contributions to improving college sports so that the programs remain connected to the educational mission of universities.”
Prominent sportscaster Dick Enberg, who presented Perko with each of her three Academic All-America awards in ‘85, ‘86 and ‘87, notified the Deacon great of her selection for induction.
“When I got the phone call from Dick Enberg, I was floored,” Perko said. “I knew Wake Forest had nominated me but I did not expect to be selected. I was really surprised and obviously very honored to be included with this group. To be selected for the Hall of Fame for this particular award is very meaningful.”
Perko, who graduated from Wake Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 1987, was a three-time Academic All-America selection as well as a two-time All-ACC performer on the hardwood. She was inducted into the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Kannapolis, N.C. native ranks among Wake Forest’s top ten all-time in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Perko was also a William Louis Poteat scholar at Wake.
Perko won Wake’s Female Athlete of the Year award for the 1986-87 season and was chosen as the recipient of the 1987 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Perko continued her studies at the University of Richmond, where she received her master’s degree in sports management.
An active member of the Fayetteville community, Perko served as President of the Board of Directors for the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County, an organization that focuses on early childhood development and education. She continues to serve on the organization’s Board of Directors. Over the past several years, Perko has served on the coordinating committee for a community-wide basketball league and has coached girls’ basketball teams in the area.
Amy and her husband, Rick, are the parents of two daughters: Anna and Kate.
“My life experience has been that discipline, focus and determination help you succeed in academics and athletics,” Perko added. “I’ve been blessed to have great teachers, mentors and teammates who really share in this recognition.”
Photo: Amy Perko (center) receiving the award at her induction to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
Ms. Stoll ‘s research, in which she has measured the moral-reasoning abilities of more than 70,000 college athletes, has found that the competitive sports environment leads to significantly lower moral reasoning skills than the general student population. Her reasoning is based upon a history of athletics from early childhood in which opponents are viewed as obstacles instead of honorable individuals, a sense of entitlement, and not facing consequences for poor behavior. Furthermore, according to Ms. Stoll, individual sports have demonstrated much better moral-reasoning skills than team sports, primarily because “team-sport athletes do not make as many decisions during games.”
While the curriculum developed by Ms. Stoll may not be the panacea for improved moral reasoning for all athletes, Mark Richt, the football coach for the University of Georgia, has stated that the character training curriculum has helped his team. Three U. of Georgia football players have been arrested in the past year for driving under the influence, theft, and giving false information to the police. Yet, the team is in its fourth year of the curriculum, and Mr. Richt reported to the Chronicle that it has helped most of the players make the right decisions off the field.
However, new University of California-Berkley offensive guard Tyler Krieg admitted that his transfer from Duke University had as much to do with football as academics. Krieg told the Contra Costa Times (link here), “I came from a place where there was no respect, the bottom of the barrel. There is a lot of hype around Cal.” After redshirting and playing for three years at Duke, Krieg graduted in May and then transfered to Cal.
According to the article, Krieg had not planned on returning to play for Duke with his final year of eligibility until he learned of the rule because of Duke’s lack of success. Part of the intent of the rule is to allow players to attend a graduate program that fulfills their personal requirements. “Personally, I think it is a good rule,” he told the Contra Costa Times.
“I’m OK with the rule,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “If we had a fifth-year guy who wasn’t completely happy, I would be OK with him transferring. Of course, you would hope that a guy in his fifth year would have an investment in the program.”
The NCAA national office has received 44 requests from the Division I membership for an override vote on the proposal. At its August 3 meeting, the Board of Directors stated their support of the proposal in a press release: “citing academic primacy as the basis for their decision. The presidents acknowledged the possibility of a “free agency” market with this new pool of student-athletes but agreed that the legislation correctly assumes that graduates will make their decisions based on where they want to attend school, not on where they want to play games.” (link here). An override vote of Division I members will take place at the 2007 NCAA Convention.
The Philadelphia Daily News reports on the love affair college coaches are conducting with their Blackberrys and other hand-held messaging devices. Recruits report getting as many as 14 messages a day from the same institution, and regularly receive 15-20 messages total. How much can recruits actually learn about a college from their cell phones, and how much can coaches learn about a recruit? The NCAA is considering new regulations.
The NCAA limits how much face-to-face contact college coaches can have with high school recruits, but doesn’t regulate text messaging, emails, or many other forms of contact. Coaches can text-message high school kids without limits, but can only visit just once a week during specific times. Yet, many argue that it is the direct personal relationships between coaches and potential players that create the best, and most positive, relationship for both. It may be even more important for the smaller football schools in Division I-A which require more transfer students to compete at the highest level.
According to the Birmingham News (link here), Troy University football transfers Chris Bradwell and Nikko Doyle were arrested last week, along with returning backup Maurice Coleman, in connection with a burglary at an apartment complex. While nothing has been proven in a court of law, Troy head coach Larry Blakeney told the paper he wished he had an opportunity to get to know the recruits better: “The rules really prohibit you from getting to know them,” the coach said. “When I was being recruited, shoot, I saw somebody from Auburn every week. They knew about my family. They knew everything about me. It’s changed, totally.”
According to the paper, when asked if there were any red flags in the report submitted by the reviewer, UW senior associate athletic director Vince Sweeney said: “Your idea of a red flag and my idea of a red flag might be different. I’ll leave it at that.”
Major college athletic departments have taken great interest in these interactive social clubs because some content - namely lewd pictures, profanity and personal threats - can be construed as embarrassing to the school.
Earlier this spring, several members of the Northwestern University field hockey team posted on Facebook.com photos demonstrating questionable behavior and unethical conduct. As a result of the photos being made public, the program was temporarily suspended, several players quit, and the head coach resigned. However, Northwestern is not alone. As reported by the Montgomery Advisor (link here), many other unethical photos and messages involving athletes, or from people pretending to be athletes, have been posted on social networking websites like Facebook.com or MySpace.com.As a result Loyola University of Chicago and Kent State University (Newhouse News Service, link here) have limited their athletes from creating profiles and using social networking websites. Such a response, however, has consequences which impact the First Amendment rights of athletes to free speech.
On August 23, the Raleigh News and Observer (link here) published an editorial in support of the Knight Commission’s efforts to reform college athletics through more intense oversight efforts. The editorial references a review of the University of North Carolina system by the nonprofit, nonpartistan Center for Public Policy Research. The Center’s review supports the work by the Knight Commission and William Friday, founding president of the University of North Carolina system and former co-chair of the Knight Commission. As stated in the editorial, the Commission recommends rules to prohibit teams with graduation rates under 50 percent from participating in post-season tournaments and the like; to prohibit corporate logos on uniforms; and, to treat athletes more like regular students.
The San Jose Mercury News (link here) recently set out to learn if the cost of a college scholarship for a high-profile college football player was fair compensation. The paper created an economic model to determine what junior Marshawn Lynch, a tailback for the University of California, would be worth this season if college football were subject to the open market, similar to the National Football League. After examining Cal’s finances and interviewing economists familiar with college athletics, the Mercury News calculated Lynch’s worth to be $800,000. Yet, according to the paper, Lynch will instead receive a scholarship worth $16,800, plus the cost of books.
Jeff Tedford, head football coach at the University of California, told the Mercury News that a scholarship doesn’t cover the full cost of attending college, and in certain cases he supports giving players money for incidentals. The paper noted that Lynch has never requested any additional benefits. Tedford requested the paper not name his players in the story and the NCAA declined to comment. The Mercury News stated the lack of responsiveness was due to Tedford’s concerns for the players because of the sensitivity of the issue, and the NCAA’s role as defendant in an antitrust lawsuit in which former athletes are demanding scholarship limits be removed.
Based upon the data reflected in Lynch’s worth on the market, the Mercury News concluded that elite athletes in revenue-producing sports receive only a fraction of what they bring in. During the 2006-07 academic year, the Cal football program is projected to generate approximately $25 million in revenue and $10 million to $12 million in profit. To determine Lynch’s worth of $800,000, the paper looked at the revenue sources for the University of California (ticket sales, donations, television, corporate sponsorhips) and the NFL’s market forces in which the top running backs receive approximately eight percent of the teams’ salary pool.
“This is an exploitive system,’’ said Ellen Staurowsky, a sports management professor at Ithaca College and founding member of the Drake Group, a college sports watchdog.
However, the Mercury News said that revenue provided by football helps fund scholarships in other sports at the University of California, including volleyball, tennis and water polo. The revenue also helps pay the salaries of coaches and administrators and other incidental expenses. Athletic Director Sandy Barbour told the paper she is opposed to paying players but agrees changes should be made to improve the system. She suggested providing additional support to athletes in need, beyond funding for emergency travel, summer school, computers, and clothes. “We need to continue to enlarge the ways we can help needy students,’’ Barbour said.
The NCAA recently denied a sixth year of eligibility to former Kansas defensive lineman Eric Butler, who requested a a sixth season of eligibility based on the pregnancy waiver. According to USA Today (link here), Butler argued that the NCAA’s pregnancy waiver, which allows female athletes a one-year extension of eligibility for “reasons of pregnancy,” should apply to males in helping to care for their newborns.
The NCAA’s rule was developed to assist female athletes with physical changes from pregnancy that prevent them from playing during their sports season. Butler has filed suit in federal court with the argument that under Title IX, the same rules should also apply to fathers. Butler also argues that the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 should apply to NCAA athletes. The Act provides men working at companies with 50 employees or more the right to as many as 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave. “It’s kinda like a job; it’s almost like a 40-hour week being a college athlete,” Butler told the paper. “They should give college athletes the same opportunities that people in the normal workplace have. I think that’s the way society is moving.”
Supporting Butler’s argument is Jocelyn Samuels, senior vice president at the National Women’s Law Center. She told USA Today, “if athletic programs allow women to be redshirted for a period of child raising, then that is treatment that should also be extended to male team members who take leave from school for the same reason. As a matter of social policy, that is a direction that the NCAA may want to consider. As a matter of social policy, to ensure that people can fulfill both their academic and their parental responsibilities would be a good thing.”
A colleague of Samuel’s, NWLC lawyer Neena Chaudhry, pointed out that “you would want a separate rule for an athlete who is actually pregnant and going through the physical demands of a pregnancy vs. a more general provision. Pregnancy does provide its own physical limitations.”
Once again, photos of hazing by members of an intercollegiate athletic team have become the focus of a school investigation. According to an article in the Wilmington News Journal (link here), photos from an August 2005 party hosted by members of the University of Deleware men’s soccer team displayed shirtless freshman players wearing outfits resembling diapers fastened with duct tape. The photos, published on the Internet, also reportedly showed players with what appeared to be alcoholic beverages.
UD officials characterize the case as hazing, and cited a 1999 Alfred University study that defined hazing as “any activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.” The university’s office of judicial affairs is investigating the matter, with suspensions possible.
The relevation caps a summer with many other publicized cases in college athletics where photos involving hazing were published on the Internet, including Northwestern University’s women’s soccer team. That team has since been suspended, and its coach has resigned.
The paper cited the Alfred University study with data which demonstrated that hazing is commonplace among NCAA athletes. Of 325,000 NCAA student-athletes in 1998-99, more than 250,000 experienced some form of hazing, the survey determined.
Ian Hennessy, the coach of the UD men’s soccer team, told the paper the incident has provided an additional forum in which to stress a stronger value system. “It cut at many different levels, not just the team level and university level, but the kids. ... I feel bad for them,” Hennessy said. “In this day and age, there’s no escaping the Internet and, for years to come, it could haunt them. Probably the greatest shame for me is they’re good kids and they made a silly decision. ... There are very, very strong life lessons to be learned here. I think it’s a good topic that you can open things up and say, ‘Listen, let’s grow from this, let’s learn from this, let’s have a discussion about why this was not a good idea, and move on.’ “
Opposing viewpoints raise questions on how the NCAA raises awareness to reduce hazing among athletic teams. Norm Pollard, an Alfred official who helped with the university’s study, told the paper the NCAA has been instrumental in helping to raise awareness of hazing. According to Pollard, potential victims have become less tolerant of hazing and more willing to speak up. However, William Schut, of ncaahazing.com and a former University at Albany assistant athletic director for NCAA compliance, believes the NCAA doesn’t do enough to curb hazing. “We’re trying to force the NCAA to act on hazing, which they’re not doing,” Schut told the paper. “There’s nothing in any NCAA legislation that even mentions hazing. Their view is that hazing is an institutional issue.”
1) Collegiate ideal and institutional culture. The symbolism that is expressed through a school’s football team, such as mascots, logos, school colors, a school “fight song,” and other narratives and practices all help to define the unique culture of any particular institution.
"We’re on the same page as the NCAA,” said Robert Walker, sports book director at MGM Mirage. “The integrity of the game is paramount. Who’s going to bet if they think there’s anything wrong with it?” Rachel Newman-Baker of the NCAA told the media outlet: “I think we wouldn’t be reaching out to them if we didn’t think they had something that they could bring to the table. I do believe that they come across information that we might not hear. That’s something that we should be open to in terms of us sitting down with them and discussing it.”
According to Scripps Howard, a 2003 poll of 2,132 Division I-A football players revealed that 102 (4.8 percent) “either took money to directly affect the outcome of a game, were aware that a teammate had done the same, were threatened or harmed due to sports wagering or had been contacted by an outside source to provide inside information about a game.”
While the amount of this gambling in casinos is unknown, more than $2 billion in legal sports bets are made in Nevada annually. Scripps Howard also reported that online sports betting generated $4.29 billion in revenue in 2005. An anonymous former athlete at Northwestern University, involved in a significant gambling scandal at the school in the early 1990s, told the service: “I would hypothesize that today’s athlete is in quite a more dangerous situation with the Internet. I would assume that since betting is more easily accessible, the temptation would be that much greater.”
When the paper originally published the story on August 19, many people contacted the paper and Clemson’s athletic department with offers of assistance. However, Clemson compliance director Stephanie Ellison stated the Atlantic Coast Conference initially told the school that McElrathbey was prohibited from receiving any sort of monetary assistance. Ellison said the only option was filing a waiver with the NCAA that would allow for athletic department members and their families to assist McElrathbey by helping with day care, rides to and from school, and other non-monetary support. Such a waiver had only been previously made for athletes involving family deaths. Clemson and the ACC sent the waiver request to the NCAA last week.
The paper reports that the NCAA has approved a waiver that “will allow for a trust fund covering his brother’s normal living expenses.” and that McElrathbey will also be able to take advantage of “university staff and family” to provide transportation and child care for Fahmarr, who is in sixth grade. The NCAA and the ACC were both criticized after the conference initially ruled out the trust fund. Although NCAA rules prohibit athletes from receiving “extra benefits,” it has relaxed its rules to accomodate for McElrathbey’s request.
When McElrathbey learned he had been granted the waiver, he stated, “I knew with all the publicity about it that something had to be done, or it was going to cause some real bad vibes with people,” McElrathbey said Monday night. “Thank God it worked out.”
That paper reported that Paul Haagen, head of Duke’s Academic Council and a law professor who teaches sports law, will propose the idea to the Academic Council on September 21. “Duke invests a lot in athletics,” Haagen said. “It’s probably a good idea if you know about athletics.” Kerstin Kimel, coach of the women’s lacrosse team, supported the idea. “There isn’t a real tremendous understanding from a faculty standpoint about what our athletes and coaches do day to day,” Kimel said. “There’s been a continuous drumbeat to divide these two groups,” she said. “There’s just a lot of misperception.”
Although Haagen told the paper that about 80 faculty members have expressed interest, other faculty members have expressed reservations at the proposal. Several professors think Duke should de-emphasize sports in the aftermath of a scandal involving the men’s lacrosse team earlier this season. Paula McClain, a professor of political science, told the paper, “people are just aghast that it’s being considered.”
When the NCAA was considering adding the 12th game, Paterno publicly declared his concerns to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (link here): “I think the athletic directors and the people who are on the Management Council have to decide whether we’re in this to educate kids or whether we’re in the business that these kids are going to be used to make money. And if you look at some of the graduation rates from around the country, you wonder. Now we’re going to play a 12th game? It’s going to be like basketball. None of these kids will go to school, if we’re not careful. I think we have to sit down and be reasonable about what we ask of kids.” Earlier this year, Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr told the Detroit News (link here) “I think the 12th game was just the first of what’s going to be a continued growth … we’re turning into a professional sport.”
According to the Washington Times (link here), Middle Tennessee State University was paid $500,000 for its football team to play to the University of Maryland last weekend, and lost 27-10. Troy University will receive $750,000 for its football team to compete against Nebraska on September 23. And, Florida Atlantic Universtiy will receive a total of $1.8 million for its football team to play Clemson, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and South Carolina this fall (the first three games resulted in a combined 147-14 score in three losses).
Many coaches see the added game as a benefit to their program. “It is a great thing for us financially, but even if that reward was not there, it would still be very important,” Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger told the Times. “With tongue in cheek, I have said time and time again that we would pay for the opportunity to play them.” Paul Wulff, head coach of the Eastern Washington University football team told the paper after his team lost, 52-3, to West Virginia University: “My No. 1 goal was to not get anyone seriously hurt. The [$450,000] gives us renovations in our locker room and coaches offices, video equipment and things for our weight room.”
CBSSportsline.com (link here) reported NCAA president Myles Brand supported the effort because the extra revenue from an additional game could also be used to help fund athletic departments that are losing money. The NCAA’s own blog, The Double-A-Zone (link here), mentions the monetary benefit to some schools and the poor competition from scheduling a 12th game, but fails to mention the impact on athletes’ study time and other campus opportunities.
"I was devastated,” said Wright, who told the paper. “My family tried to talk to (Alvarez) and get him to step in on my behalf, but he made it seem like it was entirely out of his control. ... If (Wisconsin) didn’t want me, that’s fine, but they should have let me know a lot earlier so I could have signed somewhere else. I committed early because I wanted to play it safe, and they repaid me by hanging me out to dry.” Wright’s mother, Cheryl Wright, was also upset by the situation. “I’m fighting back tears now just thinking about it,” she said. “I just encourage other families (with Division I-caliber athletes) to be wary of what universities promise your children.
Wright declined a grey-shirt offer that could have have put him on scholarship at Wisconsin immediately after the 2006 football season. Wisconsin sports information director Justin M. Doherty told the paper, “there is nothing legally binding when it comes to verbal commitments. They are really nothing more than a handshake… Wisconsin has lost recruits in the past that have backed out from their verbal contracts at the last minute.”
In another reneged scholarship, current West Virginia University sophomore running back Steve Slaton made a verbal commitment to the University Maryland as a junior in high school, but the Terrapins later rescinded their offer. “I think (problems that arise because of verbal commitments) may be a bigger issue,” Doherty said. “They may need to be brought up with the NCAA.”
USF coach Jim Leavitt would rather play on Saturday. “High school football, I think, should have Fridays,” Leavitt said. “But we’re going to [play on Friday]. We’re fortunate to be able to play on TV… That’s the positive part of it all, but I’ve always been a big proponent of high school football and coaches, and you hate.. I think television hates getting in that situation also. It is what it is, I guess. High school football means a lot to me, but how often do you play on TV?”
Hillsborough High football coach Earl Garcia, a USF alum, told the paper: “I don’t like it a darn bit. It’s biting the hand that feeds you. If USF draws 35,000 - and I hope they draw 100,000 - somewhere in there will be football fans that would have seen their high school play. It’s frustrating for us. Our kids are the ones supplying the colleges. We need the money, too.”
In 2001, the NCAA removed its national ban for playing on Friday nights. The USF contest against Rutgers is its third home Friday night game in the past four seasons.
“I assume by going on TV they’re going to make a lot of money,” Hillsborough County Athletic Director Vernon Korhn said. “We wish they wouldn’t play on Fridays. It will hurt our games at some of the local high schools.”
“I don’t like a darn thing about it,” Garcia said. “It’s disrespectful for colleges to play on Fridays. I don’t see any positive out of it.”
The report noted that the school has shortened library hours, reduced staff, and canceled classes. Rutgers will also eliminate six sports including crew, fencing, and swimming to save $1.2 million. ‘’One of the saddest parts,’’ said Norman Levitt, a math professor, ‘’is that some of the people getting hurt the most are the student athletes--and I’m talking about the student who gets up at 3 a.m. to row.” However, the football program plans to expand regardless of the fact that the Scarlet Knights lost at least $3 million on football last year—including $1.2 million spent for the salary of the football coach, Greg Schiano. ‘’Rutgers,’’ Levitt added, ‘’is turning into a standard-issue football factory.’`
Rutgers is among nearly all Division I-A athletic departments which have budgets that are in the red. Football is viewed by many—both inside and outside of higher education institutions— as a major promotional tool for a university. In addition, successful football programs provide rich athletic supporters a “winner’s identity.” Supporters are lavished with business perks and luxury amenities to help improve donations. The paper reported the fund-raising arm of Rutgers’ athletic program collected a record $5.8 million in donations for the athletic program last year. “I would rather say it’s a rallying point, not a branding tool, for us,’’ said Rutgers athletic director Robert E. Mulcahy III. “We’re a research university that stands on its own as an academic institution.’`
Yet, the New York Times argues that football has put the academic identity of Rutgers at risk. Campus computer labs shut down early to conserve money and Rutgers has reduced their recruiting money for academically distinguished students. ‘’It’s demoralizing to the faculty,’’ Levitt said.‘’Everybody has to decide what’s important,’’ Mulcahy said. ‘’Just because we have budgetary concerns doesn’t mean we have to stop having a vision for the future.’`
In his letter, Thomas states the NCAA’s status with the Internal Revenue Service contradicts its operations. According to the IRS, the NCAA claims its primary purpose is to “maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the educational program and the athlete as an integral part of the student body.” But, Thomas cited corporate sponsorships and television revenues, as well as commentary from faculty, as more closely resembling commercialism and contrary to its stated mission. “How does playing major college football or men’s basketball in a highly commercialized, profit-seeking, entertainment environment further the educational purpose of your member institutions?” he asked. “Paying coaches excessive compensation also makes less revenue available for other sports, causes many athletic departments to operate at a net loss, and may call into question the priorities of educational institutions,” he said.
NCAA spokesman, Erik Christianson, told the AP that athletics is a part of higher education. “We educate student-athletes; they are students first,” he said.
Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist told the paper that a change in the tax-exempt status of college athletics would have significant ramifications on the revenues raised within the college athletic community. “College sports has grown into a standard commercial enterprise — with only a tip of the hat to the academic environment they exist in,” stated Zimbalist.Thomas included the NCAA as part of an ongoing investigation of the tax-exempt status of the non-profit sector, including non-profit hospitals and credit unions.
According to the JMU student newspaper, The Breeze (link here), the elimination will affect 144 athletes on the teams, including eight scholarship players costing the department $13,500 annually. The three full-time coaches and eight part-time coaches will lose their jobs, but will be granted full severance pay. The decision will afford women’s golf, women’s tennis and women’s swimming and diving full scholarships. Men’s golf and men’s tennis will be granted partial scholarships until 2011, when they will be fully funded.
The decision to reduce the number of intercollegiate-sponsored sports had been in discussion for the past 18 months. “I felt like I have been eating and breathing this decision,” JMU athletic director Jeff Bourne said. “It is the hardest decision I’ve made in 20 years.”
In order comply with Title IX, universities receiving any federal funding are required for their athletic programs to reflect the male-to-female ratio of the student body. At JMU, the enrollment is 61 percent female and 39 percent male. The sports teams are 50.7 percent female and 49.3 percent male.
In response to the announcement, many affected athletes began a campaign to force JMU to reconsider its decision (link here). On October 2, senior runner Jennifer Chapman proposed a “Save Our Sports” campaign to a public crowd of 250. “It’s kind of like that ‘all together one’ thing,” said senior siwmmer Mitch Dalton. “It doesn’t have to be athletics, it can be students, sororities, fraternities — we just want to get everyone.” Dalton and the men’s swimming team will bring S.O.S. campaign to the campus commons on Oct. 27 to boost student involvement. They will also be hosting a rally Nov. 1.
Hwever, the Cavalier Daily, student newspaper of the University of Virginia, issued an editorial (link here) in support of the decision by JMU: “Certainly men and women deserve equal opportunities to play sports and receive scholarships. One of the problems with proving equal opportunities in many collegiate athletics programs is the dominance of football, which uses a large number of players, coaches and scholarships and has no female equivalent. Still, the fact that football teams generate a lot of revenue and support can’t be used as an excuse not to devote athletics resources to less popular women’s teams. Title IX is a reasonable expectation of equal opportunity, especially considering the new policy of allowing surveys to demonstrate demand for athletic programs and comply with the law. If JMU was not even able to meet that criterion, it shows that the athletics programs JMU were offering was truly out of step with their student body.”
WKU President Gary Ransdell supports the proposal that it is in WKU’s best interests, including an opportunity to raise its national profile and to bring football in line with 18 other WKU sports which already compete in the Sun Belt. Ransdell stated that the athletic program was not in federal Title IX compliance in which it must provide equal opportunities for men and women. Because female athletes received 7.5 percent more in scholarship funds than male athletes for the 2004-05 academic year, the movement to I-A football would lead to an improved balance between men and women’s sports.
On the other side of the argument, faculty regent Robert Dietl argued that the I-A move does nothing for the academic mission of the university, and that the added cost will be passed on to students and will affect the academic budget. According to the report, Western’s annual football budget would increase from $2.36 million currently to $5.33 million by the third full year of I-A football. A significant concern is the proposal for the university to generate the money in part from a tuition increase of $70 per student per semester, which would account for $2.18 million a year.
“We’ve spent a lot of money solving a lot of problems and addressing a lot of needs,” Ransdell told the paper. “I would much rather spend this money on other things. As soon as this decision is made I’ll turn my attention to other things. This is just an item on a long list of needs and opportunities. It doesn’t mean it’s any more or less important. It’s just the timing is now to deal with this.”
Jeanette Ward, coach of the the Edmonds Community College women’s soccer team told the paper of her tireless efforts to improve her roster from six to 14, but that just five players have soccer experience. “I don’t know if it’s just a gender thing,” Ward said. “But there’s got to be (a reason) because it’s so obvious.”
The shortage of women players “is the biggest mystery in the world to me,” said Brandi Prince, the women’s soccer coach for Everett Community College. Prince, a third-year coach. “From what I can gather, (many former high school players) think they’re done playing soccer. A lot of times they have other priorities, like jobs. Jobs are a big conflict. But my question is, why is this not an issue for the guys?”
“With the guys, maybe it’s just the love of the game,” said Everett Community College athletic director Larry Walker. “The gals, a lot of them have to work. But my personal opinion is that it’s just a matter of priorities. I don’t know if (women) make it as high a priority” to continue playing, compared to the men.”The current scholarship for a Washington community college athlete is roughly one-fourth of tuition. Oregon’s women’s sports teams typically have better numbers than their Washington counterparts, primarily due to a full tuition waiver in that state.
WASHINGTON—Following a working meeting here, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics announced that John J. DeGioia has joined the Commission. President of Georgetown for the past five years, DeGioia has been an administrator and professor at the Washington, D.C., institution since his graduation in 1979.
Fifteen years after the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics initial report (click on “reports” above for a copy), the Kansas City Star took a look at the state of presidential control of intercollegiate athletics. The results, according to reporter Blair Kerkhoff, are mixed.
How does the academic support athletes receive differ from that available to the general student body? That is a question recently asked in a recent article by the New York Times (link here, subscription required). The article notes that many of the nation’s top athletic programs have recently invested significant funds in their athletic-academic programs. Louisiana State University spent $15 million to build an academic center for athletes, for example, and the University of Georgia built a new facility for $7 million. Temple University, increased the academic support budget for athletes by 34 percent after poor academic performance led to scholarship losses imposed by the NCAA.
Increased funding includes not only bricks and mortar, but also investment in tutoring staff, computers, and other academic equipment. The Times reported that the University of Southern California spends $1.5 million annually on tutors and other academic support for its student athletes, more than most programs. The university has 14½ staff positions in its Student Athlete Academic Services Department to serve its 550 athletes. Similarly, the University of Georgia has a $1.3 million budget with 17 full-time staff members and more than 60 tutors for 600 athletes.
Chris McFoy, a senior wide receiver at the University of Southern California, told the paper that during his freshman season, he met weekly with four tutors, one for each of his classes, as well as a learning specialist who composed “action plans” to organize his schedule and help him plan for tests and papers. “There’s no way that you should do bad,” said McFoy. “You have to really not care about your grades, or your life in general, to mess up.”
Bigger stadiums and better training facilities are no longer enough to attract some of the most talented football prospects. The competition to create a top athletic program now extends to efforts that help ensure that players survive in class. “We’re looking for every opportunity to get ahead,” said Pete Carroll, the football coach at the University of Southern California. “It’s getting competitive — that’s one of the reasons why we have this center,” said Becky Galvin, an academic counselor and tutorial coordinator at the University of Georgia. “The coaches started hearing from kids that so-and-so had a nicer academic center. We had a good academic program, but we didn’t have all the bells and whistles.”
Pressure for schools to increase academic support for their athletes also comes from the NCAA. Its rules can reduce the number of scholarships for colleges whose athletes do not meet minimum academic standards. Such rules have helped to fuel the building boom and budget increases for academic centers.
While college officials say these programs are necessary because athletes must devote so much time to their sports, few other students whose time is consumed by jobs or activities receive as much assistance. Another issue is oversight: The educational support centers often report to the athletic director, who has an interest in keeping athletes eligible to compete, instead of to the academic leadership. The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics has recommended that academic advising for athletes be kept in line with the academic advising for non-athletes, including funding, staff, and time devoted to tutoring. In a response to the recent NCAA Presidential Task Force on the Future of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics, the Commission stated: “athletics programs should be held to the same standards, norms, requirements and lines of reporting as all other aspects of the academic enterprise. This includes budgeting, recruiting, admissions, academic advising, and expectations for athletes’ behavior.”
Jim Delany, the commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, agreed with the Knight Commission’s recommendation. He told the New York Times, “I think that the people who work in [athletic academic support services] should be working for the provost.”
Most, if not all, colleges admit athletes who either a) have lesser academic credentials than other students or b) would not have been admitted had it not been for their athletic abilities. Recent articles compared this practice for athletes to other specially talented students, with controversial conclusions. The San Diego Union-Tribune (link here) reported that 70% of scholarship athletes at the University of California at Los Angeles and 64.5% to scholarship athletes at San Diego State University were “special admits.” In comparison, at UCLA, only 3% of non-athletic students were given special admits, while 20% of those at SDSU were not athletes.
“In order to be competitive in Division I-A athletics, you’re going to have to have some flexibility compared to your normal admission policy,” UCLA Assistant Vice Chancellor Tom Lifka told the paper. “We need those students if we’re going to be competitive in certain sports.”
Amy Perko of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics said the Commission has “consistently recommended that athletes be mainstreamed into the same academic requirements other students are subject to, so that athletes be subject to the same admission policy and criteria as other students.” The Knight Commission recently discussed this recommendation in a response (link here in PDF) to the NCAA’s 2006 Presidential Task Force Report. The Presidential Task Force report (link here) called upon changes to the special admission process “to alleviate suspicion that athlete admission is based more on the need to recruit winning teams than on academic integrity.”
All incoming athletes are required to meet minimum academic criteria set by the NCAA and individual institution admission standards. The NCAA’s Division I Committee on Athletic Certification also has ruled that special admission policies should be consistent for both athletes and students in general. But each institution has its own admissions policies, leading to a wide variety of standards and expectations.
Most requests for special admission are submitted by an institution’s athletic department. According to SDSU’s Sandra Cook, executive director of enrollment services, “the expectation is that they believe that student has every capability of succeeding with the study hall and tutors.” She also told the paper that many athletes are denied, much to the chagrin of the athletic department. However, there is concern that many “special admits” are not adequately prepared for the rigors of the academic work required of college, and many do not graduate. This prompted passage of a California State Law, the “Student Athlete Fair Opportunity Act,” which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law last year. The new law requires California state schools to provide academic support to ensure athletes are given a fair opportunity to earn a degree.
At the University of Georgia, there does not seem to be a disproportionate level of specially admitted athletes failing when compared to the student body. According to the Athens Banner Herald (link here, subscription required), at the University of Georgia, 18% of athletes who rwere admitted under alternate processes. This rate was identical to the 4,400 members of the student body admitted in the same time frame. Georgia President Michael Adams told the paper: “"Both the athletic director and I have said we are disappointed that the numbers are not better than they are,” but he expected changes in the athletics staff would improve the results.
In addition to the new state law in California, the NCAA’s Academic Percentage Rate (APR), which measures the academic eligibility and retention of athletes, provides incentives for schools to improve grades among its athletes. Those athletic teams which fail to meet minimum APR standards can lose scholarships. Notably, SDSU lost four football scholarships in 2006 due to low APR scores. As for the APR, Perko told the paper: “The key question for every institution that allows for special admissions is whether those students are capable of achieving a degree. Those consequences are being implemented into the NCAA academic performance (APR) program.”
Last week, a hearing of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee discussed numerous financial issues in higher education, including tax
James J. Duderstadt, a former president of the University of Michigan, also testified against tax incentives relating to intercollegiate athletics. Duderstadt told the committee that the incentives “drifted rather far from the tax-exempt purposes of education and scholarship. Tax policy, to some degree, is fueling an arms race in stadium construction, coaching salaries, and indeed even in student exploitation in big-time sports programs such as college football and basketball.”
The Finance Committee’s hearing adds to pressure earlier this fall from Congressman Bill Thomas, chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thomas sent a letter to the NCAA requesting clarification on the tax-exempt status of intercollegiate athletic programs, and specifically singling out the financial revenue to the NCAA and its member institutions received from television contracts, stadiums, and other commercialism. Rep. Thomas also noted the ever-increasing salaries to Division I head coaches and several academic concerns involving athletes as reasons to investigate the tax-exempt status of college sports.
NCAA president Myles Brand issued a response to the letter (link here), in which he stated “The fact that some intercollegiate athletics programs at some schools generate revenues in excess of expenses is not inconsistent with the fact that such programs contribute to the schools’ overall educational programs. The modern comprehensive university and, indeed, American higher education would not exist without the ability of some disciplines and activities to generate income that helps pay for other disciplines and activities.
Brand also stated, “Those who represent the federal taxpayer, members of Congress, have long recognized the educational value of athletics competition at the college or university level, and that income derived from intercollegiate athletics competition is substantially related to the educational functions of colleges and universities.”
Yet, the questioning by Congress has certainly raised the issue of tax-exempt status of intercollegiate athletics within in the larger context of higher education. Welch Suggs, Associate Director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, told Newsday.org (link here): “it’s tough to see this is an educational enterprise and not a business. We’ve always believed that college sports has a place in higher education. It’s clear, though, that the missions of athletic departments have deviated, which is why we try to lessen that deviation through the reports we put out.”
As the NCAA debates skyrocketing costs of college athletics programs at its annual convention this week, the public is left to ponder: how much is too much? Two recent headliners demonstrate the issue: the recent $32 million contract from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa to Nick Saban to coach its football team; and, the approved $40 million expansion to the yet-to-be-built $288 million TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota.
The “arms race” has come under increased scrutiny after the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives requested (link here) a response from the NCAA on the tax-exempt status of intercollegiate athletics programs. Myles Brand, president of the NCAA, responded that while coaches’ salaries are market-driven, there needs to be moderation in the growth rate of athletics budgets. The recent NCAA Presidential Task Force Report (link here) endorses the Knight Commission’s recommendation for presidents and faculty to take the lead and become more diligent in dealing with the funding spent on athletics.
University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks told the St. Paul Pioneer Press (link here) that he will push to reduce the ever-increasing costs of college athletics when he joins the NCAA’s Presidents Council in 2007. “I am concerned about this. And I’m going to be one of the voices for reform.” he said.
Notably, three college football coaches now make at least $3 million a year: University of Southern California coach Pete Carroll, University of Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, and now University of Alabama coach Nick Saban. Many individuals raising the concern of excessive salaries in college athletics compare coaches salaries to that of university presidents, of which no public or private college president in America makes as much. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education (link here, subscription required), the highest paid college presidents are E. Gordon Gee at the private Vanderbilt University ($1.2 million per year) and David Roselle’s $980,000 at the public University of Delaware.
The University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education convened a roundtable of college administrators, coaches, and faculty members to discuss the recruiting process in August 2006. The group did not make specific policy recommendations, but instead suggested general principles of transparency and campuswide involvement in recruiting athletes. An essay generated from the group’s conversation is available here.
Greetings! This page will be devoted to Knight Commission reports, white papers and news releases as well as scholarly resources on intercollegiate athletics. We will be developing these offerings over the course of 2006, and we welcome input and suggestions.
Below is a catalogue of the Knight Commission’s own publications, all of which are available as Portable Document Format (pdf) files on the website, along with links to external reports prepared for the commission.
Click here to add your name and email address to be notified as new material is added to this page, and feel free to contact us with any ideas, questions, or concerns about the Knight Commission and college sports.
Keeping Faith with the Student Athlete: The Knight Commission’s groundbreaking 2001 report and subsequent interim reports.
A Call to Action: The commission’s follow-up report, published in 2001.
Division I-A Postseason History and Status: A 2004 report on the framework and economics of postseason football at the highest level.
Challenging the Myth: A report by the Cornell University economist Robert Frank about the economic literature proving that athletic success does not correlate with higher institutional fund-raising, more student applications, more applications from better students, or other commonly-proposed benefits of intercollegiate athletics.
FOR RELEASE—May 14, 2008.
Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Paul Hewitt and University of Hartford President Walt Harrison to discuss the academic challenges in men’s basketball and the impact of academic reforms
Who: R. Gerald Turner, President of Southern Methodist University and Co-Chairman of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics
What: Knight Commission meeting to discuss the NCAA Academic Performance Program; recommendations to improve the academic performance of basketball players; and, trends in NCAA violations and recommendations to revise the penalties for major rules violations (agenda below)
When: Tuesday, June 17, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST
The NCAA recently announced that 218 teams at 123 institutions will be sanctioned for failing to meet minimum academic benchmarks established as part of the Academic Performance Program. In 2001, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics advocated that teams be ineligible for postseason competition if they failed to graduate at least 50 percent of their athletes. Although the current benchmarks are lower than those advocated by the Commission, the Commission has supported the full implementation of the NCAA’s program since its adoption in 2004.
During this meeting, the Knight Commission will receive a report on the program’s administration and impact. Of particular interest to the Commission is the process that allowed nearly 70 percent of teams with scores under the minimum benchmark to avoid penalties. Also, the Commission will consider academic enhancement proposals from a group of basketball coaches and administrators.
The Commission will also hear a report from current members of the Division I Committee on Infractions on trends in major rules violations and possible changes to the penalty structure.
The Knight Commission will welcome three new members at this meeting.
Sarah Lowe graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Florida in May 2006. Lowe was a leader on the women’s basketball team serving as team captain three of her four years. Following her graduation, she studied in Costa Rica as a Fulbright Scholar. She received numerous awards for her academic and athletics excellence including the Arthur Ashe, Jr. 2006 Female Sport Scholar of the Year.
Sonja Steptoe serves as client development manager at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, an international law firm based in Los Angeles. Prior to joining O’Melveny in 2007, Steptoe served as a senior correspondent and deputy news director for Time Magazine for five years following a successful career in sports journalism. Steptoe reported and wrote for CNNSI sports network, HBO’s RealSports with Bryant Gumbel and Sports Illustrated. Her investigation of East Germany’s systematic doping of Olympic athletes earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Journalism. Steptoe earned degrees in economics and journalism at the University of Missouri. She received a law degree from Duke University.
The meeting sessions will be accessible via podcast on the website after the conclusion of the event. The Commission will meet again in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Oct. 27, 2008.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Tuesday, June 17 – Salon II, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd St., Washington D.C.
8:30 – 10:15 a.m. Academic Integrity: Report on the NCAA Academic Performance Program and the recommendations to improve the academic performance of basketball players
Walter Harrison, President, University of Hartford, and Chairman, NCAA Committee on Academic Performance
Paul Hewitt, Head Basketball Coach, Georgia Institute of Technology
Kevin Lennon, Vice President for Membership Services, NCAA
Mike Glazier, Attorney, Bond, Schoeneck & King
Gene Marsh, James M. Kidd Professor of Law, The University of Alabama Law School, and NCAA Committee on Infractions member
Chad E. McEvoy, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Recreation and Coordinator of the Sport Management Program, Illinois State University
Josephine “Jo” Potuto, Richard H. Larson Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Nebraska School of Law; chair, NCAA Committee on Infractions; and Nebraska’s Faculty Athletics Representative
The Indianapolis Star published an article on September 16 which highlights a discussion at the Knight Commission’s June meeting about the purpose and outcomes of self-monitoring practices by NCAA institutions. With a September 17 deadline for Indiana University to respond to NCAA charges of its “failure to monitor” its men’s basketball program, reporter Mike Alesia asks whether or not institutions should receive credit for reporting their own NCAA rules violations. The article notes that the NCAA does not have the manpower to watch every institution, and thus relies upon self-policing as an obligation of membership. “But the reality, in my mind, in my world, is that not everyone self-reports,” said attorney Michael Glazier in June at a meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. “And more times than not, those who do not self-report do not get caught.” Glazier is representing Indiana University former men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson. An audio recording and links to several news articles about the June meeting is available here.
The article notes that an NCAA subcommittee is currently examining two specific questions about NCAA infractions: 1) Should schools get explicit credit for turning themselves in, as IU did? and, 2) should punishments be tougher, and focus more on coaches or boosters who get programs into trouble, rather than the programs themselves?
University Professor of Leadership and Public Policy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Hodding Carter III was president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation from February 1998 until his retirement in July 2005. He is now on faculty as University Professor of leadership and public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Spokesman, Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and Trustee, University of Miami
Nick Buoniconti is a National Football League Hall of Fame linebacker and a member of the Miami Dolphins teams that won the 1972 and 1973 Super Bowl championships.