- Plagued by a slate of scandals involving university-sanctioned academic fraud and improper benefits being extended to college basketball players through agents and other representatives, the NCAA has produced a report calling for tougher sanctions against schools that violate amateurism guidelines and new proposals for players seeking early entry into professional basketball leagues.
- The report, authored by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, calls for a five-year postseason ban and forfeiture of certain revenue sharing opportunities for schools found in violation of NCAA competition bylaws. The recommendations stopped short of advocating for paying college basketball players, but advised the NCAA to work with the NBA to abolish its "one-and-done" pattern of hiring students after one year of college. It also suggests that the NCAA to allow players who are not drafted out of high school to the NBA to be allowed to compete in college.
- Other recommendations called for the NCAA to certify certain agents or representatives who establish relationships with players while in high school, and to appoint a vice president charged with oversight of the certification and monitoring process for such representatives.
The NCAA may recognize that it has little legal power to penalize institutions which comprise its membership, and generate its revenue through teams financed and built by campuses. But the association should also recognize the opportunities it has missed in promoting the academic enterprise, which athletics helps to promote on regional and national platforms.
The greatest boost to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County's upset of the University of Virginia in the 2018 national men's basketball tournament wasn't its prospects to rise as a Division I basketball powerhouse, but the exposure of its national academic prowess. The association has already taken steps in recent years to connect athletic funding to academic performance, so showcasing the academic product of universities is a logical next step in building credibility around the NCAA's unyielding commitment to maintaining amateurism in sports.
But for NCAA member institutions, particularly those in the Power 5 conferences, this could be the cue for these schools to leave the NCAA and to form their own association with autonomous rules on compensation and access to professional careers. If this happens, it could create seismic changes in the revenue, broadcasting and recruiting models for all college sports.