John Feinstein is a fascinating sports writer, he wrote a book called A Civil War, no not THAT ONE (aren’t you glad Lincoln didn’t do better at that award show last night?), but the Army/Navy game! I have not read his books but have heard him talk and Feinstein is wonderful.
He has called for the end of the NCAA and replacing it with a commissioner – like the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB (Did I get ‘em right?). Three commissioners to be exact. He cites Duke’s Coach K:
But even if the NCAA had competent leadership, it would be time to start all over again. For several years now, Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has been saying that there should be three separate organizations, not one. “We need an organization that does what’s best for college football, one that does what’s best for [men's] college basketball and one that does what’s best for non-revenue sports,” Krzyzewski proposes. “The needs of each are too different for us to keep acting like they’re the same thing. They’re not.”
Each should have a commissioner, someone who is of the sport and from the sport and familiar with the particular needs and nuances of each. It should be somebody smart, tough and experienced and not somebody concerned with image. That’s not easy to find but there are people out there. No one knew who Pete Rozelle and David Stern were before they completely re-made the NFL and NBA, respectively.
I agree! But I would add (only Sandy would add to a Coach K/John Feinstein proposal!) that coaches ought to have an organization (they may have one in place that is usable) where every top-flight program would want their coaches to be a member of and that organization would police its own – through mandatory classes similar to what most professionals have to do (me, too!) and through a disciplinary system for coaches. I would also add that the Commissioner’s office would have some specialization, especially in the non-revenue sports. I disagree with Feinstein that the commissioner should be necessarily from the sport in question. A great college football commissioner: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It might be possible to find – is possible to find a super respected person even from outside sports altogether to run a division.
What would be the enforcement mechanism? Moral suasion and the ability to declare either a player or a team ineligible for a period of time. There would be some sort of appeal process as well.
Too bad nothing will come of it but it’s a great line here: “The NCAA needs to go the way of typewriters, the Edsel and black-and-white TV. Its time has passed.”