How Will New NCAA Leadership Shape Capital Region College Sports?
On Tuesday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced that current President Mark Emmert would step down by June 30, 2023. Running an organization that governs the athletic operations of hundreds of a colleges across the country, with different financial models, is an impossible task for the most part. However, having worked at one of those institutions' athletic department for a few decades, Emmert doesn't get a pass for his performance or lack there of.
In the last 12 years under Mark Emmert, the NCAA has become a shell of itself. Let's start with the transfer portal. This allows student-athletes to put there name on a collegiate-free-agent list after a season, without penalty. Some coaches love this rule, others do not. One told me the other day that the student-athletes should have "free will to go where they want." I agree, however, is this professional sports or is college sports? What are we teaching out student-athletes? Hey, if the coach doesn't play you or give you the ball enough, leave?
Say what you want, but professionally, that's the majority of the transfer portal. What about teaching young men and women about commitment? You committed to play at that institution. You were given a scholarship and there were other financial investments in you. Now you are leaving with no penalty because you didn't play as much as you thought you should in your freshman year? Seriously? Many of us can't do that in our jobs but this is what we are teaching our college athletes?
I am not saying that the transfer portal isn't a good thing if structured correctly but Mark Emmert and the NCAA structured it to please the large universities that you see on TV making tens of millions of dollars every Saturday, not Siena College or UAlbany.
In the old days, coaches that were cheating would give recruits bags of cash. Now, Name, Image, Likeness accomplishes the same thing. I know. I know. Why should universities make all of the money on the backs of the student-athletes? First of all, they are not making money in any sport at Siena, UAlbany, RPI, etc. This rule again was pressed by the big institutions or the POWER 5 conferences under the veil court proceedings in order to do the right thing for the student-athlete. In fact, it was a way for them to pay recruits to come play football or basketball. Then, they spread some around to other sports to make it look good. If structured properly could NIL could be a great boost for all student-athletes but that wouldn't work for the institutions that pushed this agenda.
Please don't get me wrong. I am all for the student-athlete being treated fairly. However, I do feel that most high school kids can't walk out of graduation and get a $60,000 a year job. I said most not all. A student-athlete works hard. The full-scholarship athletes get tuition, books, room and board, plus a cost of living stipend. At many Division I institution, the athletes will do about $10,000 worth of travel each year and get another thousand dollars in footwear and apparel. That's pretty good for a high school degree. Long and short, we continue to take educational opportunities out of educating our next generation of leaders.
How does this all effect the local college athletic programs? A lot. They all are forced to continually raise their budgets, as travel, apparel, food and tuition costs skyrocket. Will you see better athletes locally because of the transfer portal? Yes and no. Programs like Siena, UAlbany, RPI Hockey and Union Hockey will get some really talented transfers but at the same time, they may lose some of their own recruits that blossom and want to play at a "higher level," which almost never works out. Either way, none of the local programs win from these rules, as structured, in the long run. They are just forced to raise more money from their loyal supporters like you and me.