University presidents/chancellors to meet in Aug. to discuss future of college athletics

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NCAA president Mark Emmert says he will gather as many as 50 university presidents/chancellors for a two-day convention in Indianapolis during Aug. 9 and 10 to discuss the issues and future of college athletics.

Emmert says the pow wow has been in its planning stages for months and is not the result of recent problems at programs like Ohio State and USC.

(Yeah, right.)

“Since I began as NCAA president in October, I have made it a point to reach out to constituents and stakeholders all over the country to talk about what people think of the collegiate model,” Emmert said. “This retreat in August is a chance for me to share with my presidential colleagues what I have heard regarding the issues and some of my thoughts on how we might address them.

“Second, I want to hear from the presidents themselves on what they see the future direction should be.”

Emmert continued on the NCAA’s official website that the meetings will look to address three large issues in collegiate athletics based on survey results of university presidents/chancellors:

  • Continuing the academic success of student-athletes – a sentiment Emmert reiterated last month during the rollout of the latest Division I Academic Progress Rate report when he stressed that the NCAA’s academic movement is evolving from reform to a fundamental expectation of student-athlete academic success.
  • Protecting and enhancing the integrity of intercollegiate athletics, which includes maintaining amateurism as a bedrock principle, determining the limits of commercialism, evaluating and improving student-athlete behavior, and reviewing enforcement processes and other regulatory procedures.
  • Fortifying fiscal sustainability in the division. Division I, while not the NCAA’s largest division, is the only one that is subdivided (Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, and a subdivision that does not sponsor scholarship football). Research shows enormous disparities among those subdivisions in student-athlete academic performance, and in the range of revenue generation, spending and institutional subsidy, among others.

It’s clear the NCAA is hell-bent on finding a balance between keeping college athletics an amateur sport and continuing to grow financially as much as possible.

Whether they’ll be able to do that going forward, I think, will be an interesting subject to watch. As it stands today, about the only amateur thing about revenue-producing college sports are the rules the NCAA imposes on its players.