Pac-12 university presidents call for change in NCAA

Pac-12 university presidents have introduced a huge development in the continuing debate about the current NCAA model.

A letter created by the Pac-12 university presidents calling for widespread changes to be made on a host of issues was sent out to 53 other presidents in the Southeastern Conference, Big 12, Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference.

The proposals include many changes that would directly affect Division I student-athletes, including making scholarship awards up to the full cost of attendance and providing medical and insurance assistance for injured student-athletes. Also proposed was that student-athletes should be allowed to seek the advice of agents without professionalizing collegiate sports.

 

 

Perhaps the biggest proposal listed in the letter was the one that addressed the so-called “one and done” rule in men’s basketball. Because basketball players are eligible for the NBA draft after their freshman years, this has resulted in a growing trend of student-athletes jumping to the NBA after their first year of college. Critics say this is bad for Division I teams because it’s harder to sustain success when they can lose their star freshmen to the NBA, and it hurts the quality of play in college basketball.

The Pac-12 presidents seem to agree with those critics. The letter states that if the NBA and its Players Association cannot agree to raise the age limit for players, the NCAA should consider reviving the freshman ineligibility rule in men’s basketball. Prior to 1972, student-athletes were prohibited from going into professional sports during their freshman years.

Safety was a big trend in the proposals listed in this letter, as it also calls for a lessening in the demands placed on student-athletes both in-season and offseason. During the season, the Pac-12 presidents state that student-athletes should have more time for studying and campus life and shouldn’t be forced to spend more than the required 20 hours a week practicing and training.

The letter also brought up the idea of shortening the season in specific sports. Although it did not mention which sports, it is hard to believe that the football or basketball seasons will be reduced.

Also brought up was that student-athletes should hold meaningful positions in governing the NCAA and its conferences. This is most likely a response to the mobilization by the Northwestern University football players to form the first union in North American college sports. The Northwestern athletes have yet to hear from the National Labor Relations Board on whether they are allowed to unionize.

The letter also called for a change in the rules limiting the ability of student-athletes to transfer between schools to make the rules less harsh for the student-athletes.

ASU President Michael Crow has been very vocal about the letter and the current NCAA model. Crow told the Associated Press that he and the other Pac-12 presidents believe their voice is not being heard.

“We’ve been talking about the need for reform for a long time, and so in a sense, our thinking has coalesced,” Crow said. “There’s just so much thinking going on relative to the NCAA. So we thought it was time to say, ‘Well, this is what we think the NCAA should be, and this is how we think it should work.’”

The Pac-12 presidents are asking for a response to the proposals by June 4. Crow said the initial feedback from other university presidents has been positive.

Reach the reporter at hkossodo@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @HKossodo