An Opportunity To Rethink The Structure Of College Sports NCAA

Tragedy begets opportunity, calling to mind the old admonition to “never waste an honest crisis.” Educators and college athletic administrators should heed those words during this hiatus from competition and develop a plan to redirect college athletics toward academic integrity, financial sanity, and athlete well-being. we advise that such a plan should contain the following elements.


• Return the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to a one-member, one-vote structure, with all 1,100 member institutions promptly voting on the five-year reform program proposed below. Three principles should guide the vote: first, the NCAA should promote the economic interests of all its members, not just the athletically powerful; second, it should emphasize the health and well-being of the athletes; and third, it should protect the economic interests of all enrolled students whose tuition and mandatory athletics fees are subsidizing athletics programs.

Athlete Well-being

• Replace this faculty Football Playoff, which awards 75% of its proceeds to the flexibility Five conferences (65 schools) and 13% to the Group of 5 conferences (65 schools), with a 16-team NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) national championship structured similar to the prevailing NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national championship. The new structure would dedicate 100% of its media-rights proceeds to providing basic athletic-injury insurance, long-term welfare, and coverage for uninsured medical expenses to the 480,000 NCAA athletes of all 1,100 member institutions.

• Acknowledge the irreplaceable nature of the human brain and heed the teachings learned from concussion research. Change the foundations involved sports and sports during which athletes are prone to head trauma by requiring minimum-contact practices and ending, as an example, “checking” in a contact sport and “headers” in soccer.

• Allow college athletes to earn income from the use of their names, images, and likenesses and to interact in outside employment, like every other student. Deter abuses by enforcing academic restraints like prohibiting employment activities that end in missed classes, exams, or other class-related activities, prohibiting the use of institutional assets in an athlete’s commercial venture, and establishing other guardrails.

• Require future head coaches to possess a minimum of a master’s degree in education or a related discipline (e.g., exercise physiology) and to possess teaching experience at school settings. After all, if we wish athletes to be students, shouldn’t we require coaches to be teachers?

Athletics Facilities

• Prohibit the event of the latest facilities, hospitable varsity athletes, only. Dollars from students’ tuition and fee payments help to form these facilities so that they must be available to everyone.

Athletics Staff Salaries

• Ask Congress to enact a limited, conditional antitrust exemption that the NCAA can cap the salaries of coaches, athletics staff, and administrators. Their salaries shouldn't exceed that of the tenth-highest-paid academic or the school president, whichever is lower, and Congress should condition federal higher-education funding on compliance with this requirement. The responsibilities of running a university far exceed those of coaching; the relative salaries of presidents and coaches should reflect that reality.

Other Financial Reforms

• Prohibit off-campus, in-person recruiting by athletics personnel. Restrict communication with prospective college athletes to recorded electronic video/audio platforms. When campuses reopen, allow the institution to induce one on-campus visit and scholarship audition per prospect and strictly limit the value of on-campus meals and entertainment during that visit.

• Prohibit mandatory student fees that exceed the share of varsity athletes within the undergraduate student body; if varsity athletes are 5% of the scholar body, the share of the scholar activity fee allocated to athletics shouldn't exceed 5%. and also the quantity of the subsidy to athletics should be specified on a student’s bill.

• Prohibit the scheduling of non-conference away competitions in locations beyond the states that are contiguous to the state during which a member institution is found.

• Gradually innovate a requirement that 25% of any cash donation to a member institution’s athletic program or of any revenues derived from television rights fees be designated to support the institution’s academic enterprise.

The NCAA Board of Governors should seize the prospect of this shelter-in-place crisis to suspend normal operating rules and conduct a mail vote of the presidents of its member institutions on the plan presented here or identical. The Board encompasses a historic chance to demonstrate courage by promoting the health and well-being of 480,000 college athletes and also the financial best interests of all 1,100 members, instead of the narrow enrichment of the 130 members of the FBS.

If the NCAA fails to act, Congress could require the adoption of the plan presented here as a condition of institutions receiving activity Act funding. Alternatively, it could enact H.R. 5528, which could establish a bipartisan Congressional Advisory Commission to seem at these issues. Inaction by both the NCAA and Congress would squander a completely unique opportunity for urgently-needed reform.