It was a busy days for university presidents of major universities west of the Rockies on Wednesday. On the same day his school announced a multi-million dollar naming rights agreement for Bronco Stadium, Boise State president Bob Kustra provided a letter to the media decrying the "commercialism" of the NCAA.
Further west, the twelve presidents of the Pac-12 Conference issued a joint letter stating their case in the NCAA's ongoing governance debate. Around a year and a half ago, the NCAA finally realized that no amount of legislation can create a level playing field between Alabama and South Alabama, so it would stop trying to artificially level the playing field. Part of that now includes a discussion about giving the Power Five conferences (you know who they are) autonomy to govern themselves.
Addressed to their fellow presidents from the other four power leagues (plus Notre Dame), here is what the Pac-12 presidents are asking for:
1. Allow schools to provide a full cost-of-attendance scholarship. Nothing controversial about that.
2. Provide "reasonable on-going medical or insurance assistance" for student-athletes who suffer an in-season injury. Again, mirroring what has been discussed elsewhere.
3. Guarantee scholarships for enough time to allow a student-athlete to complete a bachelor's degree, provided that athlete remains in good academic standing.
4. Decrease the time demands on student-athletes in-season, and thus increase time for student-athletes outside of their sport by:
a) Close the loophole of "voluntary" workouts/film study pushing student-athletes past the 20-hour mandate.
b) Address the time away from campus, such as travel time, and other commitments for student-athletes in-season.
That one feels much trickier.
5. Decrease time demands out-of-season, and consider shortening the season for certain sports.
6. Ratchet up APR requirements for postseason eligibility. No one should have a problem with this.
7. Address the "one and done" policy in men's basketball. If the NBA won't do something about it, then consider reinstating freshmen ineligibility. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. Has the NBA's one-and-done rule created a problem for college basketball? Sure. But this is a vast overcorrection of a problem that would in turn create an even larger issue. No way this passes.
8. Provide student-athletes a larger place at the table at the conference and NCAA governance levels. Should have happened before, but this one appears headed in the proper direction.
9. Allow an increased dialogue between current student-athletes and agents and/or other advisors without "professionalizing" college athletics. This has become a larger issue in basketball than football, where players actually have less feedback about the "should I or shouldn't I?" process of turning pro than they did a decade ago.
10. Relax the current rules limiting ability of student-athletes to transfer. Personally, I don't think coaches should be able to place any limitations on where players transfer. I don't know if Pac-12 presidents want to go that far, but stories like this should not happen in 2014.
"It's about time a lot of these issues got raised in more than a timid way," Purdue president Mitch Daniels said of the letter. "I'm not sure every single one is the best idea, and a couple of them I would want to know more about."