Drake Group Questions NCAA Division I Governance Restructure

Source: The Drake Group

Sept. 18, 2014 WEST HAVEN, CONN. – The Drake Group, a national organization of college faculty and others, released a position statement today that is highly critical of the NCAA Division I governance proposal that would give the five richest conferences in its Football Bowl Subdivision the freedom to make their own rules. 

The Drake Group suggested that a blue-ribbon commission be created to study the issue. “Instead of providing cost of attendance scholarship increases and more benefits for all Division I athletes, the Big Five Power grab will result in extraordinary benefits to only those athletes in the richest athletic programs,” said Drake Group President Gerald Gurney, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Oklahoma. “This will up the ante in the basketball/football Division I arms race. This concentration of wealth will also make it highly unlikely for lower tier institutions in the Football Bowl Subdivision to compete in the College Football Playoffs and tip the March madness competitive balance in favor of the Big Five Power Conferences.” 

Because all but 23 FBS athletic programs are making money, The Drake Group contends that pressure will be created on all other Division I institutions to funnel more resources into men’s basketball and football at the expense of non-revenue producing sport programs and will cause increased student fees or elevated institutional fund subsidies. 

“The NCAA has demonstrated its inability to solve the financial and ethical problems faced by intercollegiate athletes,” said Drake Group Past President Allen Sack, professor of sport management in the College of Business at the University of New Haven.  He added that “the first priority on the use of significant media revenues should be the provision of full medical coverage and insurance, cost of attendance scholarship increases, an academic trust fund, adequate academic support, especially for those who are academically at-risk, and other benefits that enhance the education, health and welfare of the greatest number of college athletes, not just those at Big Five institutions.”

The Drake Group suggests that college presidents should vote to override the Big Five’s ill-conceived power grab legislation and call for the U.S. secretary of education to ask President Barack Obama to establish a blue-ribbon Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics to explore alternatives that would address economic stability, academic integrity and professionalism issues.   

The Drake Group, a national organization of college faculty and others, is in residence at the University of New Haven and works to defend academic integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports.

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