Boss Suggests Smaller Role for the NCAA

President says maybe the decisions should be made by conferences or schools
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2021 7:00 PM CDT
After Ruling, NCAA Could Reduce Its Role
NCAA President Mark Emmert answers questions during a news conference at the Final Four college basketball tournament in Minneapolis in 2019.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

All-powerful, national, centralized governance of college sports might be outdated, NCAA President Mark Emmert suggested on Thursday. Perhaps conferences and schools should make the decisions, he said, or maybe each sport should be run individually. Emmert made his remarks in an interview with several reporters, USA Today reports, saying it's just the beginning of a reconsideration of the NCAA's role. That's driven by changes already here: a US Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA can't limit education-related perks schools give athletes and the movement to let student-athletes profit from their name and likeness. "When you have an environment like that it just forces us to think more about what constraints should be put in place ever on college athletes," Emmert said. "And it should be the bare minimum."

The NCAA's loss at the hands of the Supreme Court came in an antitrust case, and the organization could face more of those in the future. "I think this is a really, really propitious moment to sit back and look at a lot of the core assumptions and say, 'You know, if we were going to build college sports again, and in 2020 instead of 1920, what would that look like?'" Emmert said, per the AP. He didn't recommend any structure in particular but mentioned possibilities, such as each sport having its own governing body, which works for the US Olympic Committee. "We have had this tendency to be as homogenous as we can in treating every sport identically, and that doesn’t work," he said. The current structure of three divisions should be reconsidered, too, Emmert said. More than 1,100 colleges with 450,000 athletes belong to the NCAA; 355 of the schools are Division I. (More NCAA stories.)

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