Thursday, August 18, 2011

The NCAA's Disaster Control

The amount of NCAA scandals in the past year have been amazing in their number, and even more amazing in their scope. From USC, UNC, Tennessee, Ohio State, and now the atom bomb of them all in Miami, they have all stunned the college football world and rocked it to its core. It's been clear that the NCAA has done very little to remedy this problem, other than some blatant hypocrisy and banning the use of bagel spreads at team breakfasts. The NCAA needs reform badly, and they know it as well as we do. But, what should they do, and how can they use Miami as an example?

The way the NCAA can create an "atmosphere of compliance" amongst its members is through using an example with punishment, and the NCAA has a golden opportunity to use Miami as the prime example of deterring this kind of activity. How they do that is a hot topic of debate, centering around the use of the dreaded death penalty.  But, that is not what they need to do. Sure, this scandal is bigger than the one that sent SMU to the gallows around 25 years ago, but in 2011, there are better ways of punishing a team without suspending their program. Probation, loss of scholarships, heavy fines, bowl bans, suspensions are all part of this major punishment, but there is one other thing that the NCAA has hid in the closet for years, but it can create the desired NCAA outcome. A media ban. As Bomani Jones said on Around the Horn, why not ban televising of their football games nationally or locally?, And, they can go even further and ban radio games locally. The way these schools can make plenty of money is through TV broadcasts of their games, and also getting exposure through other forms of media, and it would all go away if there was a media ban on the team.  The team can still play, albeit in front of a very small audience and make a lot less money. It is an idea not thrown around often, and could be well used in this situation.

But how can the NCAA fix these issues overall throughout the whole spectrum of the sport? The truth is, there really isn't a simple answer. The issue is so widespread, that a single sweeping idea to fix the problem will not work. A comprehensive set of rule changing and NCAA mission statement changes are the only way to eliminate this problem from being such a major issue for major programs. The issue won't go away entirely of course, but it can be put in remission with better rules and enforcement. It may also come with a stipend for players or a different method of payment, which may be sacrilege, but will go a long way towards nullifying the influence of boosters running rampant like Nevin Shapiro did.

Can the NCAA fix the problem? It will take awhile, but it can be done, and it starts with using Miami as an example. The widespread problems throughout this great sport can take it down, and as much as the NCAA has swept it under the rug, they can't do it anymore. Here is the proof that change is needed, and it is needed fast, but how they do that, we won't know for awhile. But, the first step is acknowledging a problem, and at least the NCAA knows it has a major one.

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