In light of the recent USC, Ohio State, Miami, Reggie Bush, Terrelle Pryor, Auburn's Cam Newton (to just get started) controversies and scandals, the NCAA President Mark Emmert is now seeking "serious and fundamental change." Well, good for him, now that there is smoke, fire and a raging media inferno in college sports.
You can imagine the pride of the parents who trusted schools like the University of Miami with their young sons who were, in turn, handed over to criminals like Nevin Shapiro. All Mr. Shapiro, a convicted Ponzi scheme felon, did was hook up the underage student-athletes with cash, booze and illegal prostitution. This doesn't exactly sound like college math or English.
So here come the usual calls for reform and "fundamental change" right on cue. So what can be done to save the NCAA from looking like an absentee landlord while money-pushing boosters and improper agents are crawling through its college sports?
The first thing the NCAA needs to do is stop this fraud of a "scholar-athlete" at the highest level of its sports. Maybe I am being too broad here but these major college sports schools are nothing more than a feeding system for the professional leagues. We can no longer pretend that money should not be involved. Too many college students are sent to school in near poverty to play for major universities that sell jerseys bearing the students' names. The students get nothing from college merchandise and TV deals and there is the problem.
The NCAA needs formulate a financial stipend to paid to all players at the Division 1 level. There I said it, college athletes need to be paid to follow the rules. The stipend should be a flat sum for everyone in the sport (i.e. each Division 1 football player gets $25,000 a year).
Now there has been a lot of talk about Miami getting the "death penalty" of no TV, no scholarships and no bowls for its sins. This type of NCAA capital punishment will not work without a corresponding "death penalty" for players (so to speak of course). The type of fundamental change is really not that complicated. If Shapiro gave illegal gifts to players, then the players knowingly took cash, cars, booze, prostitutes and maybe even worse. If a college player commits a major rule violation of this type, then that should be the end of his or her college sports career.
It is obvious (painfully so), that the penalty must be so awful for the players that they would never violate the rules. Those players who knowingly take extra cash, jewelry and commit crimes, have no business in the NCAA and college sports is better to be rid of them.
If you want fundamental change then be willing to take a serious stand.