Coverage of the NCAA Convention and postseason football issues dominated the national college sports discussion for the week. Last Friday’s Enes Kanter decision attracted attention as well.
NCAA Convention. The NCAA conducted its 105th annual Convention this week in San Antonio. Media attention focused on NCAA President Mark Emmert, for whom this was the first Convention, and several major legislative issues in Division I.
Here’s a rundown on coverage from the event. Additional coverage (for all divisions, but especially for Divisions II and III) is also available on NCAA.org:
NCAA Convention to open in San Antonio today (San Antonio Express)
NCAA president speaks out against ‘threats’ to college sports (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Emmert has full plate at his 1st NCAA convention (Mike Marot, The Associated Press)
Emmert: Clearly stating his mission (Jeff Rabjohns, Indianapolis Star)
NCAA talks shady agent contact (San Antonio Express)
NCAA president sees more conference realignment on horizon (San Antonio Express)
Finally, some good news for the WAC: Proposal 2010-100 passes (San Antonio Express)
NCAA president: Tougher parent rules needed (The Associated Press)
NCAA president answers critics (David Moltz, Inside Higher Ed)
NCAA president doesn’t shy from controversy (San Antonio Express)
NCAA votes to keep status quo on rules (San Antonio Express)
NCAA balks at efforts to loosen restrictions on athletes’ images in ads (Chronicle of Higher Education)
At many colleges, no health insurance means no playing time (Chronicle of Higher Education)
By the way, props to the San Antonio Express, the local newspaper, for its coverage of the Convention.
Enes Kanter. Those who believed Kentucky basketball player Enes Kanter should be eligible to compete this year were disappointed in last Friday’s final ruling that he is permanently ineligible.
Those who disagree with the decision of the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee − among them Kentucky President Lee Todd, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and coach John Calipari – certainly are entitled to their opinions.
Todd, a member of the Division I Board of Directors, was especially blunt: “As an NCAA Board member, I continue to be puzzled and confused by the reasoning behind the decision, which seems to be an inconsistent and arbitrary application of the rules.”
NCAA President Mark Emmert saw it differently. Speaking to Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis, he said: “The facts are utterly unambiguous, the rule is utterly unambiguous and the intention of the membership is utterly unambiguous. The vast majority of people in collegiate basketball knew that this was an issue with Enes Kanter. Kentucky knew it. Everybody who talked with him knew it. So I’m amazed that people are shocked by the fact that he is ineligible.”
For my part, I’m going to put in a good word for the honorable individuals from the NCAA membership who volunteer their time to serve on the eligibility and infractions committees that are required to adjudicate matters such as this. The work is difficult and time-consuming. Abundant knowledge of NCAA regulations is required, along with good judgment and the ability to work with legal experts.
Occasionally, as with the Kanter case, the reward for service is a swirl of controversy. They deserve better, but I’m afraid that anger is going to be a constant companion for folks who serve in these roles.
Anyway, here’s a representative look at what was written in the wake of the Kanter decision:
NCAA president offers strong words on Enes Kanter (Sports Illustrated)
Kanter’s well-being foremost on Calipari’s mind (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Calipari, Todd and Barnhart ‘disappointed’ that NCAA denies Kanter’s appeal for eligibility (Lexington Herald-Leader)
Barnhart calls NCAA rules a ‘moving target’ (Lexington Herald-Leader)
NCAA rulings hardly consistent [Sam Ellis, Daily Tar Heel (student newspaper)]
No consistency in NCAA rulings (Dick Vitale, ESPN)
RIP, 2010 football season. Auburn defeated Oregon on Monday in one of the greatest national championship games ever, but the game itself didn’t necessarily dominate media space. Writers were seriously wound up about eligibility matters and the structure of the postseason.
Although writers flail at the NCAA for not conducting a major-college playoff, it’s worth saying again that the NCAA is a membership association and that championships can be established only by votes of the member colleges and universities. I know there are those out there who believe that if the NCAA really wanted a playoff to happen, it would. Such statements, however, reveal a lack of understanding of what the NCAA is and how the Association is governed.
Some chatter about a playoff:
BCS title game crowns a champion of a fraudulent system (Sally Jenkins, Washington Post)
College football playoff, not BCS, makes more dollars and sense (Monte Poole, San Jose Mercury-News)
NCAA won’t fix broken system (Lennox Rawlings, Winston Salem Journal)
Some other football issues:
It’s getting harder for college football to outrun its seamy side (Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Take a tip from Cecil Newton and pay the players (The Associated Press, Tim Dahlberg)
The next step: academics in the BCS? (Gregg Easterbrook, ESPN)
On eve of BCS championship, a call for the NCAA to reform college football (Sally Jenkins, Washington Post)
Political heavy hitters take on college bowls (New York Times)
Ahead Of BCS championship, amateurism considered (National Public Radio)
Potpourri. A few other interesting stories and columns from the week:
Lifetime chits would allow athletes to be students, too (Bruce Smith, Chronicle of Higher Education)
UNLV athletics working to be independent of state money (Las Vegas Sun)
Expansion crunch time: UCF is the best fit for Big East [Central Florida Future (student newspaper)]
Finally … Last week, I wrote about how it was inappropriate to compare modern-college athletics to 19th century plantations.
This week, the social-injustice comparison is sweatshops.
Is college athletics a sweatshop? (Bob Greene, CNN)
In a word, no.
Again, consider this an appeal to tone down the rhetoric. Just because a union boss says it, that doesn’t make it so. College athletics has nothing in common with sweatshops.