Second Report Urges NCAA To Enact “Sweeping and Deep-Seated Reform’
Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 02:40PM in College, Knight Commission, NCAA, men's basketball

By Barry Janoff

May 9, 2018: The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, formed in October 1989 to promote reforms that support and strengthen the educational mission of college sports, has issued a report urging university presidents to “seize a rare moment of opportunity to reform not only men's basketball but the NCAA organization itself to restore public faith in the governing body's ability to oversee major revenue-producing college sports.”

The report comes on the heels of an extensive investigation into NCAA men’s hoops by the Commission on College Basketball, led by Condoleezza Rice, which called the sport “toxic” and “deeply troubled,” offering major suggestions and potential changes regarding coaches, players and universities.

“The levels of corruption and deception are now at a point that they threaten the very survival of the college game as we know it,” wrote the Commission on College Basketball in its report.

Both reports come as the FBI is in the midst of an investigation financial situations involving coaches, players and shoe companies, among other potentially damaging situations.

Knight Commission members said they endorsed many of the recommendations made by the Rice-led Commission, which the NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors accepted last week.

Seeking to go even farther, the Knight Commission called on the NCAA to make additional far-ranging changes to its governance beyond those recommended by the Commission on College Basketball.

"The Commission on College Basketball rightly emphasized that 'the NCAA administers what is effectively a public trust in the United States — athletic competition among college athletes," Arne Duncan, Knight Commission co-chair and former U.S. Secretary of Education, said in a statement.

"But it's an open question if the NCAA can restore public confidence in its ability to be stewards of big-money college sports. To do so, it will need to embrace far more sweeping and deep-seated reform than ever before."

In particular, the Knight Commission called for the NCAA to “enact a series of strict requirements on college basketball coaches and their schools to bolster financial transparency, particularly for income received from shoe and apparel companies.”

Regarding financial situations, the Knight Commission urged the adoption of several measures to create more financial transparency, including:

• No university can give the right to any employee to have a contract with shoe, equipment, and apparel companies that are expressly or indirectly contingent on players wearing or using the companies' equipment or products. Such contracts must be made only with the university.

• Adopting new restrictions and imposing financial disclosures on athletically-related outside income received by employees, and making a failure to comply with these new requirements subject to significant infractions penalties.”

Regarding student-athlete education and development, the Knight Commission called on the NCAA to “develop minimal professional standards that NCAA coaches will be required to meet to ensure they are prepared for their roles as educators and leaders in the development of student-athletes.”

The Knight Commission said the NCAA should shift its model from a membership association, with inherent conflicts of interest, to “being more of a leadership organization capable of propelling real change.”

"It's an open question if the NCAA can restore public confidence in its ability to be stewards of big-money college sports."

“That shift requires more independent leadership of the NCAA, including independent directors who can play an objective role in safeguarding college athletics, especially for revenue sports,” according to the Knight Commission.

Specifically, the Knight Commission expressed its support for changes that will “create a healthier summer recruiting environment for youth basketball.”

It also supported the Rice Commission proposal to change the NBA draft eligibility rule, but “cautioned that allowing students to turn pro without a high school diploma could have a corrosive effect on educational attainment.”

Commission On College Hoops Calls Sport ‘Toxic’

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