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  • Stephen Thompson

Overhauling the NCAA

Updated: Jun 3

It's disgusting. They take these student-athletes and purposely load them down with more than they could ever think about studying, and I guess what they want to do is make them feel dirty--isn't nice to think about people who want you to feel dirty? What we have in America is the perfect opportunity to have all students feel like students--because he is enrolled in one class. One class. What should the NCAA be doing with their money? Checking classes and study hall. What is the solution for the cash cow--college football--and all the rest of it? What matters? I'll tell you what matters. What matters is when your 10-year old asks you at homecoming what this game is about versus the big Eagles game coming up on Sunday. (Nothing against the big Eagles game.) What are we doing here? What we're doing is watching a college football game because what we know about these people is that they attend "college" so it's "college" football. Glamourized amateurism is dead. I repeat glamourized amateurism is dead.


I have been told the distribution centers are doing well. People are taking care of one another. I have been told the kiosks are doing well. The federal government has had great leadership on those kiosks from day one. Every campus should have a distribution center(s) and kiosks nearby. We start to have a foundation for a "life in study" for the regular student. (People who know my policies know that I'm also on the other end of the issue. I'm pushing for a University of Iowa that is willing to promise and deliver on teaching someone exactly how to be a working farmer. Contacts. Where to look for information after graduation. The whole nine yards guaranteed. A pragmatism never seen by universities.)


I propose NCAA monitored study hall six nights a week for 25-30 minutes. If your average attendance for the classes you're taking falls below 55% for the semester or quarter with a system for excused absences, you're immediately suspended by the NCAA until your average meets the requirement. An unexcused absence from study hall means a one-game suspension by the NCAA. My greatest objective for a student-athlete is for her to feel like a student while her professor simultaneously views her as an actual student--zero dirty.


Goodbye any extra benefits rules. The PSA that I want to run is that the NCAA and member institutions tell the students to feel free to lie to people. The NCAA should not listen to complaints of any sort. The NCAA monitors everything in this area. I knew an academic star whose collegiate scholarship had a substantial amount of extra benefits. However, I do believe in a max deal concept. I believe that Miami of Ohio should be able to compete with every school in FBS; the solution is found in candidate Obama's Presidential campaign when they thrived with the individual's eight-dollar contribution via the internet. Those contributions will need to be to the athletics program as a whole. I see no reason why colleges should separate the individual from the market in a market economy. I also believe that the very basics of the scholarship are always "until a 65-years old retirement" complete with a retirement situation. What we will have, if there is such a concept in competition, is an across the board excellent product. The feel of that across the board concept is cleaner to me. No more restrictions on the number of years of eligibility--more continuity. No restrictions on the size of rosters. However, I think to conveniently use American football as a barometer the scholarship maximum is set at 175 people at the same time; an individual counts against your maximum number until she is 36 years of age. With someone older than 36, the mentality is that they're sort of a free commodity in this area. A member institution can always shift a person down to a minimum status at any time which means he does not count against the 175 scholarship number.


What we would have in college athletics is a date certain for every sport where an individual is expected during that 24-hour window to make a commitment for the year to come. Tough love--if you want to transfer, it means you're out of the post-season for the year. I don't want to exclude someone from the togetherness of the experience, but in terms of the program . . . Simplicity all the way around. An entire 180-degree change with enforcement at an absolute premium. The NCAA keeps the financial books for the programs of the institutions that involve players. There should be no more mention of anything untoward in so many areas of collegiate athletics; it's an environment where the cultural expectation is that the NCAA will find a way to enforce these rules.


It's time for the NCAA to take a bath. (I need to state now that the NCAA stole coaches' poll national championship rings from the 2004 University of Oklahoma football team in a plot that feels too elaborate to me. Too planned. For those who know the arena, it's truly an easy plot to unfold. They used publicity associated with what was mostly a University of Alabama women's soccer case. Time lapse was a big part of the strategy. Do you remember about when they started to insinuate that Southern California would have problems with the NCAA under Coach Carroll? Have you ever thought about that and the time it took for an NCAA adjudication? Suddenly, the NCAA was using vacated wins instead of forfeits--publicized that is. The only thing college football had with the BCS was a formula that guaranteed us a one versus two in the coaches' poll with a winner that was guaranteed the coaches' poll national championship. In 2003 and 2004, AP broke with the coaches' poll in college football. The NCAA was facing a guaranteed Oklahoma Sooners coaches' poll national championship complete with the great trophy on campus in Norman, and they decided to hatch a plan to steal it. A forfeited game always has a winner and a loser. Obviously, a vacated win does not. As fruit of the poisonous tree for the NCAA, I am also arguing that Michigan Men's Basketball be rightfully awarded an NCAA Championship for the situation with Louisville. I should note that the NCAA was fully prepared to steal those rings from another school. But I must say in this situation that Oklahoma's identity probably at least played a role.)


In conclusion, it's time for the NCAA to chart an entirely different path.



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