Networks should pay
With the reforms announced last week, at least we can finally say the NCAA is no longer crawling around aimlessly on its hands and knees. The big boy diapers may remain, but at least the association has taken its first baby step.
Applause for the proposed move to pay student-athletes a $2,000 stipend, and further applause for the multiyear scholarships they can now sign. The only problem is this: Who will fund it all?
Instead of sending it through the conferences (as is proposed), the money should come from the television networks.
Besides, with conference expansion in vogue, the conferences as we know them won't exist — physically or financially — when these reforms take effect.
Changes will matter
Absolutely. Just ask Jim Calhoun.
One of five new reforms increases the two-year Academic Progress Rate cutline for postseason play from 900 to 930. Those 30 points might be enough to keep Connecticut out of next season's NCAA basketball tournament. That's what Calhoun gets for forgetting that UConn is actually a school, not a layup line.
The rule allowing unlimited texting from coaches to recruits will have a tangible, and very positive, effect on the telecommunications industry.
And now that schools can provide a $2,000-per-year stipend, will those who cry about oppressed student-athletes — whose scholarships are worth upwards of $250,000 — focus on actual victims in society? Start with the homeless.
Culture shift needed
The NCAA's new rules regarding academics and athletics are a step in the right direction. They are well-meaning and, chances are, will have some positive effect. But how much they produce in tangible results will depend on that great intangible: the culture.