When I hear the words “commission report” my mind immediately imagines ridiculously longwinded government documents that detail things a panel of important people took some exorbitant amount of time to discover that my eight year old cousin thinks are obvious. Well color me shocked that the NCAA also gets in on the commission action. Last week, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics released a document titled “Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports”.
Basically it took a task force of important people 18 months to decide that college sports don’t put enough emphasis on academics. Among their findings:
*Median athletics spending at public institutions in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) has grown nearly 38 percent from 2005 to 2008, while academic spending grew only 20 percent.
*The ten public institutions spending the most on college sports are on pace to spend more than $250 million annually, on average, in 2020.
*Median athletics spending per athlete ranges from 4 to nearly 11 times more than the academic spending per student in the FBS conferences.
Among their proposals to remedy the situation is a recommendation that schools not on pace to graduate more than 50 percent of their athletes should be removed from championship eligibility and a closer tie of revenue distribution to academic values through the creation of an Athletics/Academics balance fund.
So what does all this mean? About as much as the Warren Commission and all those other government ones that we waited to hear about and then disappointed us-a whole lot of nothing. They have interesting points, but they are points that most fans could have come up with on their own. Myles Brand, considered probably the most academically driven NCAA president so far, couldn’t even get much weight behind the APR, a measure which along with graduation rates, is flawed in itself. Until they can measure clearly the academic progress of student-athletes, any punishments will just invite more controversies and more coaches finding ways to get around the rules.
You can also follow the Knight Commission on Twitter (get excited!).