Indiana University experts available to comment on NCAA college basketball report

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Commission on College Basketball, an independent study group led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, issued its report this morning. It calls for broad reforms, including ending "one and done" participation and banning cheaters for life. Indiana University faculty members are available to comment and offer their views below.

Nathaniel Grow, associate professor of business law and ethics and a sports law scholar in the Kelley School of Business at IU Bloomington, is a nationally recognized expert in sports law, including the application of antitrust and labor law to the professional sports industry.

"The long-awaited report by the Commission on College Basketball includes a number of sound recommendations that would almost certainly improve the sport of college basketball," Grow said. "The report's request that the NBA address the so-called one-and-done trend by changing its rules to allow high school players to immediately turn professional would certainly benefit all parties involved. Similarly, the report's recommendation that players who enter the NBA draft, only to find themselves go undrafted, should be allowed to return to college would certainly benefit a number of young individuals.

"At the same time, however, because the Rice report does not directly address the financial incentives that currently exist for shoe companies, universities, agents and others to funnel money to particularly promising basketball recruits, the report's recommendations are ultimately unlikely to result in meaningful reform of the perceived corruption in college basketball," he said. "In this respect, the commission missed a golden opportunity to encourage the NCAA to reconsider its current, heavily criticized financial model.

"Also, it's not clear whether the NCAA could legally impose some of the proposed enforcement mechanisms, such as lifetime bans and mandatory document production by coaches," Grow said. "All of that could potentially be challenged under antitrust law."

Grow can be reached at 812-855-8191 or grown@iu.edu.

Jayma Meyer, visiting clinical professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington, teaches sports law and policy and is an advocate for the power of sport to bring about social change.

"Particularly commendable is the commission's focus on academics -- putting the 'college' or 'student' back into the student-athlete equation," Meyer said. "In addition to taking a direct shot at the NCAA infractions committee for letting a high-profile program off the hook for an academic fraud and misconduct scandal, the commission makes a number of specific proposals to strengthen academics. One is that the NCAA should establish a fund so that basketball players who leave school early to compete in the NBA can return to school with a scholarship to obtain a degree.

"Also, I am pleased that the commission recognizes a governance problem at the NCAA and commend the recommendation that the NCAA Board of Governors, currently made up of 16 university chancellors and presidents, include five independent members, individuals who are not employed by a university and who would have full voting privileges. This is an important change that would bring the NCAA board more in line with boards of directors of large for-profit entities, where a degree of independence is recognized as crucial to appropriate decision-making and even required by law."

Meyer can be reached at 812-855-6594 or jaymeyer@indiana.edu.

Lauren Smith is an assistant professor of sports media in The Media School at IU Bloomington. Her research focus lies at the intersection between sports and mass media, including social media.

"The report from the commission seems to be trending in the right direction for the NCAA as far as getting a stranglehold on the corruption revealed by the FBI’s findings on college basketball," she said. "I’m glad to see the NCAA taking the steps for reform and proposing changes to the one-and-done era and allowing related contacts with agents to minimize the scandalous behavior that was previously reported."

The report suggested college athletes might be entitled to a cut of revenue for the commercial use of their names, images and likenesses, but that issue is before courts.

"The NCAA will continue to struggle with the battle of likeness and image with athletes until future court cases determine whether student athletes should receive more compensation outside of the cost of attendance," Smith said.

Smith can be reached at 205-260-6844 or ls35@iu.edu.

Media Contact

George Vlahakis

Kelley School of Business

Phone: 812-855-0846

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Email: vlahakis@iu.edu

Jim Hanchett

School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Phone: 812-856-5490

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Email: jimhanch@indiana.edu

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