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NCAA forms commission to make 'substantive changes' to college basketball

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Mark Emmert made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

Northwestern v Vanderbilt Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Amid the FBI’s sweeping investigation into widespread corruption in college basketball, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced the formation of a group to examine “a system that clearly is not working.” The formation of the NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball, which will be chaired by Dr. Condoleezza Rice, was announced Wednesday.

The Commission will examine 3 things.

Starting in November, the committee will begin working on looking at the following things:

1. The relationship of the NCAA national office, member institutions, student-athletes and coaches with outside entities, including:

-Apparel companies and other commercial entities, to establish an environment where they can support programs in a transparent way, but not become an inappropriate or distorting influence on the game, recruits or their families.

-Nonscholastic basketball, with a focus on the appropriate involvement of college coaches and others.

-Agents or advisors, with an emphasis on how students and their families can get legitimate advice without being taken advantage of, defrauded or risk their NCAA eligibility.

2. The NCAA’s relationship with the NBA, and the challenging effect the NBA’s so-called “one and done” rule has had on college basketball, including how the NCAA can change its own eligibility rules to address that dynamic.

3. Creating the right relationship between the universities and colleges of the NCAA and its national office to promote transparency and accountability. The commission will be asked to evaluate whether the appropriate degree of authority is vested in the current enforcement and eligibility processes, and whether the collaborative model provides the investigative tools, cultural incentives and structures to ensure exploitation and corruption cannot hide in college sports.

The Committee includes some BIG names.

Grant Hill, former Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, and Ohio State AD Gene Smith are among the committee members. Check out the complete group:

Screenshot via NCAA.com

The NCAA sounds serious about cleaning up the sport ...

Eliminating corruption is easier said than done, but Emmert is making it sound like the NCAA is prepared to take “decisive action.” It remains to be seen if the formation of this group is a precursor to lasting change or will be viewed as a face-saving gesture by the NCAA.

"The recent news of a federal investigation into fraud in college basketball made it very clear the NCAA needs to make substantive changes to the way we operate, and do so quickly," Emmert said in a statement. "Individuals who break the trust on which college sports is based have no place here. While I believe the vast majority of coaches follow the rules, the culture of silence in college basketball enables bad actors, and we need them out of the game. We must take decisive action. This is not a time for half-measures or incremental change."

... and maybe even athlete rights?

Longtime critics of the NCAA will note, perhaps skeptically, that Emmert referenced fairness to athletes in his announcement.

“We need to do right by student-athletes. I believe we can — and we must — find a way to protect the integrity of college sports by addressing both sides of the coin: fairness and opportunity for college athletes, coupled with the enforcement capability to hold accountable those who undermine the standards of our community.”