The NCAA held its annual convention of administrative personnel Thursday, with athletic directors and commissioners from around the country heading to San Diego for a "brainstorming" session that quickly spun out of control. After the institution spent much of 2013 agreeing with its conference commissioners and ADs that the system is broken, it presented a new plan that looked much like the old one.
When the moderator, outside management consultant Jean Frankel, started talking about the NCAA's core values and the need to reevaluate them each year, someone responded that they can't be core values if they're changed annually.
At that point, other questions started popping up, via Sports Illustrated:
"I'm concerned that our first core value isn't 'graduation of our athletes,'" said one faculty athletics representative. Touche.
Another questioned why they didn't begin the entire discussion with values, not board composition. Another faculty rep suggested that schools weren't currently living up to multiple items on the list.
And Connecticut AD Warde Manuel cynically suggested the word "revenue" should probably be included among those core values. So at least some people that work in college athletics are just as jaded about the state of college athletics as you are.
One of the issues discussed was the possibility of an additional break within Division I. Already, there is a separation in football between FBS and FCS, but with the financial and talent difference between the power conferences and non-power conferences within the FBS, the possibility of another split has been mentioned.
Wake Forest pres Nathan Hatch hopes to keep (NCAA) D-I intact. Says what’s necessary is "greater autonomy to members with greater resources"— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) January 16, 2014
Another possible change under discussion was eliminating a rule that allows graduated students to transfer to another school and play immediately, without the usual year-long wait mandated by most transfer situations. The NCAA elected not to implement those changes for the upcoming season, although they may be discussed again for the 2015-16 school year.
As questions opened up to the floor, the athletic directors and other administrators in the crowd began to grow a bit tired with the focus of the presentation.
90 minutes in, first question to the board: "Where do the student athletes fit into this new governance structure?" Round of applause.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) January 16, 2014
Nathan Hatch's answer isn't a great one: "That's not something we've wrestled with." Give them a singlet. Time to start wrestling.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) January 16, 2014
One of the more outspoken attendees of the conference was Northeastern athletic director Peter Roby, who both called out a recent high-profile hiring and the money (and power) disparity between the big schools in big conferences and the smaller programs.
Northeastern AD Peter Roby just indirectly slammed Louisville for hiring Bobby Petrino. Spoke of coaches who have "no business" being hired.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) January 17, 2014
Peter Roby of Northeastern w the money question: How do the programs outside the Power Five conferences maintain "competitive opportunity"?— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) January 16, 2014
As far as the pay-for-play movement, no movement appears to be taking place on that front as of yet.
Wake President Hatch: "I don’t sense any groundswell to move to pay for play." Not surprising.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) January 17, 2014
Some of the issues discussed were of ... slightly less immediate importance, leaving a tangible reminder of the frequent silliness of the NCAA.