The NCAA’s hypocrisy

Here’s a shocking bit of news: rather than go with calls for coaches to have their performance evaluations tied to the graduation rate of their players, the NCAA has opted for a metric that sounds valuable, but instead simply measures how good a school is at making sure its players stay eligible to play.

Which we probably don’t need to measure, because we can rest assured that no matter how ill-served some athletes are by the schools that claim to care for them, they will always by given every possible opportunity to help their teams win.

The NCAA claims it wants a “real-time” measure like this, rather than graduation rates, which have a six-year lag. This is silly on its face, given that little has been done for years about coaches like Bob Huggins, for example, who rarely graduates players. Former NCAA coach Kelvin Sampson didn’t graduate a single University of Oklahoma player for six years and received no scrutiny until he got tripped up by rules governing what money players can receive.

The NCAA has plenty of historical data, in other words, to indicate that some coaches (and their schools, and the governing trustees of those schools) are taking advantage of young people who might have a chance of earning degrees in places where sports are not the only priority. But these coaches win games, and these schools are powerhouses, and so none of us should hold our breath waiting for the NCAA to start behaving as if it cares about student athletes more than it cares about revenue.


  1. the gripping hand

    I went to a small college which participated in Division III sports – no athletic scholarships at all. We never had any problems with athletic eligibilities or boosters, yet we still have rabid fans who follow the team all over the midwest, and the alumni are every bit as proud of their college as any larger university.

    The real problem is not so much the constant cheating by schools, athletes and boosters. The problem is that the professional teams use the colleges as a minor league in both football and basketball. If that link can be broken, and all athletic scholarships banned, cheating would be a minor problem, easily policed. Kids who want to play ball can get drafted by major league teams and play in minor leagues, just like baseball.

    Of course, universities would be out the mega-bucks those programs bring in, so getting them to agree would be well-nigh impossible. I think it would do away with Title 9 suits, so it’s got that going for it.

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