Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
Friends, I was legitimately excited to read that the NCAA will hold a Constitutional Convention in November. Virtually everybody agrees, from fans to lawmakers to athletes to athletic departments and coaches, …the current NCAA governance system just isn't working. The rulebook makes the Old Testament look like a Post-It note. The organizational structure is a tangled web of subcommittee that slows down even the most banal decision-making processes.
Trying to tinker around the edges just hasn't been effective. The termites have reached the foundation. The only sensible thing to do is knock the whole dang thing down, draw up a new blueprint, and rebuilt it, perhaps free from the vestige of any old assumptions we had from 1914. Deciding to actually do that is a powerful first step!
But then the NCAA announced who was actually going to be on that committee. And friends, I'm a lot less excited now.
There are no academics on this committee, no faculty athletic advisors, no sports management professors, nothing. There are no coaches, no lawyers, and almost no, you know, athletes. The bulk of the membership comes from university presidents and conference commissioners, with a few athletic directors.
Here's another way of showing how really insidery this group is:
I understand that building a truly representative body would be almost impossible, given how many stakeholders fall under the NCAA umbrella…but this isn't even close. And this isn't a complaint I'm just hearing from my Drake Group -type friends. I'm hearing this from other conference commissioners and athletic directors.
Let's put it this way. The charge of this committee is to ultimately completely reassess almost every assumption the NCAA holds about college sports. How can we trust people who have built and maintained the current system for decades to be the ones to break it? How can a committee almost entirely made up of the most Inside of Inside Baseball types be trusted to truly understand the problems that got us to this point?
It's not that I think these committee members are dumb. Many of them are really smart and thoughtful! I'm sure all of their hearts are in the right place. I'm just doubtful that enough outside voices and outside ideas will be heard.
Why don't we help them?
Perhaps the single most gratifying thing about launching Extra Points has been that it has introduced me to so many kinds of people who really, truly, care about making college athletics better.
That's included a lot of conference leaders and athletic directors. I am grateful that so many of them read this newsletter. That also includes many faculty members, folks who study athletic administration, or study how athletics intersects with other disciplines, from economics to history to sociology. It includes coaches, athletes, consultants, lawyers, accountants, and thousands of regular ol' fans who just want the best for the players and schools they love.
I want to hear what YOU would change about the NCAA. I want to know what YOU would suggest to the committee. I want YOUR ideas.
I've set up this Google Form with a very quick survey, and I'd love if you could fill it out. And if you want to share this form (and newsletter) with the folks in your life who really care about college sports, that'd be even better.
I'll also be interviewing and reaching out to a variety of voices over the next month, and I plan to highlight their perspectives on college athletics reform right here in this newsletter.
I'll be happy to publish the results of the survey on Extra Points, and I will also plan to share some of the best ideas with members of the committee.
I really do think a better college athletics world is possible. Let's see if we can help make that happen.
In uh, less dramatic news, I also want to point out that the latest episode of Going For Two has published, which you can listen to wherever you get your podcasts.
In this episode, Bryan and I chat with Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports and The Athletic, as we break down the Pac-12 conference. Specifically, we discuss:
- What do coaches and administrators think of new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff?
- Do we expect any membership changes in the Pac-12 over the next five years?
- Why the key to the Pac-12's stability and strength still sits with USC.
- What on earth is going on at Washington State?
- How much does the proverbial revenue gap REALLY matter?
- Should we burn the tape from the 2020 Pac-12 football season, or are there meaningful insights to be had from that limited sample size?
We'll continue our State of the Conference podcasts next week, with the Big Ten, G5, and Big 12 coming soon.
If you enjoy Going For Two, please consider leaving a nice review, smashing that subscribe button, and telling your friends. It's a free podcast, and the more folks listen and download, the easier it is for us to produce podcasts more often, and make other investments in audio content.
This newsletter is supported by Playbook Products.
You all know I'm an absolute sucker for vintage college sports stuff. My office is absolutely plastered with dozens of vintage college pennants, from Cleveland State to Columbia to Cal. I've got a blueprint of the Rose Bowl hanging up on my back wall. The coasters on my desk? They're full of classic Ohio State plays.
Those come from Playbook Products, who have turned some of the greatest plays in sports history into high quality coasters, posters and more. They're the perfect gift for the sports devotee in your life.
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