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April 2, 2010 - Dear Future NCAA President ...

The Chronicle of Higher Education's Brad Wolverton recently posted a blog which asked several individuals what the hiring committee should be asking. He posted the following as best responses:

  • What would be your top three priorities as NCAA president? —Nathan Tublitz, past co-chair, Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics, and professor of biology, University of Oregon
  • What specific plans do you have for preserving or enhancing participation opportunities in college sports, specifically in Olympic and other nonrevenue sports?—R. Scott Kretchmar, professor of exercise and sport science, Pennsylvania State University
  • How would you address the tension between the increasing commercialization of college sports and the continued insistence that student-athletes are not allowed to generate revenue for themselves or receive direct benefits, … [even though] their athletic performances are ostensibly the product on offer for sponsors?—Dena Evans, former women's cross-country coach, Stanford University
  • What is the role of the NCAA in shaping financial affairs in member universities as they relate to athletics? —Peter W. Likins, former member, Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, and president emeritus, University of Arizona
  • If both the federal government and the NCAA do not intervene, how do you see the financial picture in intercollegiate athletics changing over the next five or 10 years? Can current trends continue? —Peter W. Likins
  • How do you see intercollegiate athletics becoming better partners with higher education’s primary academic missions and financial challenges? —Gerald S. Gurney, president-elect, National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics, and senior associate athletics director for academics and student life, University of Oklahoma
  • Should Division I pass legislation similar to the recently passed Division II reform aimed at reducing time away from classes as well as travel costs? In other words, should the length of playing seasons be reduced? —Todd A. Diacon, executive director of academic assessment, University of Tennessee
  • APR was a good first step to address issues of academic integrity. What next steps would you propose to improve student-athletes' academic achievement, especially for football and basketball players? —Jeffrey A. Hale, assistant dean, external relations, and director of liberal studies, Oregon State University
  • It is now 2020, and you have been NCAA president for 10 years. What accomplishments can you point to? —Nathan Tublitz
  • Finally, given the complexity of issues facing the NCAA, why the hell would you want the job? —Nathan Tublitz

Additional commentary and questions posted by Peter Likins in response to the blog, is below:

 

"We are in the middle of a transformation of the academic requirements for athletic teams in the NCAA, and the first requirement of a new NCAA president is a determination to stay the course, whatever the obstacles.  My first question would therefore be: (1) How do you see the academic requirements for athletic competition playing out over the next five years, and with what consequences?

The biggest threat to intercollegiate athletics relates to finances. Questions in this domain might include the following: (2) If athletics at the top of Division I continues to operate at an increasing scale and with increasing financial separation from its host university, at what point do you anticipate that the federal government would declare athletics to be an "unrelated business" of its host university, so its income would be taxed and gifts to the enterprise no longer exempt from taxation?  Alternatively, do you see the Congress granting the NCAA exemption from Sherman Antitrust constraints?

(3) Absent federal intervention, what is the role of the NCAA in shaping financial affairs in member universities as they relate to athletics?

(4) If both the federal government and the NCAA do not intervene, how do you see the financial picture in intercollegiate athletics changing over the next five or ten years?  Can current trends continue?

I would also expect an open-ended question designed to elicit from each candidate a personal statement of the value of athletic competition to the development of young people.. perhaps something like the following:  (5)  Athletics would seem to have a proper place in a college education only if athletic competition were to contribute to the development of the individual student-athlete.  How would you describe this development?”