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College officials reveal what they really think about the NCAA’s problems in “Privileged and Confidential” report

College administrators are a tight-lipped bunch. Luckily, we have open-record laws that reveal what they really think about the multitude of problems facing the NCAA.

Last spring at a meeting in Dallas of NCAA officials, each member was handed a 44-page report titled, “Privileged and Confidential — Not for Distribution.” The contents were recently distributed to the L.A. Times in an open records request, revealing anonymous feedback from 52 collegiate administrators that serve in a variety of roles, from presidents and chancellors to athletic directors.

The feedback provided by the college administrators to the NCAA touched on a wide variety of topics and elicited some candid responses. Sports writers were commonly blamed for the NCAA’s poor reputation.

“It is a hard environment with these sports writers who think amateurism is ludicrous. I think there is room for the definition of amateurism to evolve. In some sports, it is okay for students to compete in non-collegiate competition, like the Olympics, where there is an opportunity to make money through endorsements. And this inconsistency is ridiculous to me. Treat student-athletes like other students. If a pianist got an endorsement from Steinway, we go, yay. If it is an athlete, totally different story.”

The following response was a little less reasonable, but much more hilarious.

“The general public does not view the NCAA in a positive light. There was a huge communication plan to fix this, but then the scandals ruined that.”

“Communication” seems to be the fallback for many college administrators. Instead of examining the root of the problem at the heart of the rule book, they believe this is nothing a high-quality PR campaign can’t fix.

“The biggest threat is that the court system will force us to start paying athletes. And that will be the end of amateur sports as we know it,” one commented. “I think if we did a better job to show the academic benefits of playing college sports, it would take a lot of wind out of the balloon. All of the perks like letter jackets, cost of attendance, ring, etc.

Of course, not every respondent was that naive. One accurately pointed out that they must act before important matters are taken out of their hands. This was submitted before California governor Gavin Newsom signed the “Fair Pay to Play Act” in February of 2019.

“Our future is being determined outside of our intentions,” their comment said. “We are going to face a future that we are not creating. It will be created for us by those in courts or outside of our boardrooms.”

Similar conversations are taking place now through Saturday at the annual NCAA convention in Anaheim. Will they actually address the pressing issues at hand and work to make changes before NIL legislation goes into effect, or create another brilliant commercial campaign that’s universally mocked?

[L.A. Times]

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

8 Comments for College officials reveal what they really think about the NCAA’s problems in “Privileged and Confidential” report

  1. playmorezeppelin
    4:30 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

    I think paying players a portion of merchandise sales that use their likeness is fair, but the thought of paying players an actual salary to be a student-athlete seems a little much. Can someone tell me how student-athletes not being paid anything while the university is raking it in is any different from a young attorney working an unpaid internship? Besides the fact that the athlete is getting an education worth thousands of dollars?

    • satcheluk
      11:34 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

      Most student athletes are prohibited from working to earn spending money. How can you prohibit working and not pay them?

  2. KentuckyVSEveryone
    4:33 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

    The NCAA PSA shown, and almost ALL of them, are comical to me. That is NOT the life of a collegiate player. And this is coming from a former Division 1 “student-athlete”
    Now I played from 2000-2003, but things have not changed much from current players I talk to.
    I loved my time playing ball with guys that I consider my brothers. It was grueling at times but it was definitely worth it. I appreciate my college tuition being paid for me, but it wasn’t a “free” scholarship! I worked my a$$ off for that degree.

  3. Bluebloodtoo
    4:50 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

    I must admit, I have a ready hard time accepting today’s methods of controlling public perception. There is way too much knowledge of the human psyche being applied to public service messages, advertising, and such. People aren’t being informed anymore, they’re being implicitly persuaded without their knowledge.

  4. kentuckybackupplayer
    5:24 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

    All athletes should copyright their likeness and image before attending a university. That would force change from NCAA.

    • makeitstop
      10:37 am January 23, 2020 Permalink

      They assign their rights to the school – otherwise we wouldn’t be able to watch them on TV. But I do wonder if they did it in HS/AAU and it was for promotional use bf u got to college if that would result in passive income while in school, and be an easy fix for NCAA bc that’s essentially what Olympic athletes did years ago and still remained “amateurs” bc they were not paid to play. I agree with those who ask “how can u prohibit someone from working and not pay them something” but we know how UK and others used to be: boosters gave them jobs that could be no show jobs and that doesn’t work either. And paying the stars more than the backups won’t make u a better passing team, it’ll make u a more selfish team. They better figure out a way to deal w it so there is some income and some way to help the family in modest ways without tipping the balance to ruin the sport. If the courts do it – no offense judges – it’ll be screwed up bc they can’t fashion precise remedies that take anything more than that case into account. Schools could pay a scale for revenue producing sports in addition to tuition, room and board that was set consistently by conference and let the schools decide do they agree or leave. That way Alabama couldn’t outbid us for a QB and we couldn’t outbid them for a PG but the players wouldn’t be motivated to be selfish w a pass or hotdog it for a bump in endorsement value.

  5. Aar
    7:06 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

    This: “It is a hard environment with these sports writers…”

  6. catdaddyd
    7:09 pm January 22, 2020 Permalink

    Wouldn’t this kill non-revenue producing sports?