By Ken Reed
The University of Oregon was recently given a slap on the wrist by the NCAA for a variety of NCAA rules violations. Many media observers and fans were shocked by how gently the NCAA dealt with Oregon.
To me, it wasn’t shocking at all. The NCAA is terrified that the big-time schools and their conferences will leave the NCAA and form their own governing organization. If that happens, the NCAA will be left with smaller Division I universities, along with Division II and III schools. The NCAA honchos would lose a lot of power and money. For their part, the big-time athletic programs in the Big Five conferences — Pac 12, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, and SEC — are tired of dealing with the rules and regulations they see as a nuisance to their mission of running major sports entertainment enterprises. They also are tiring of having their fate impacted by votes from Division II and Division III NCAA members.
In recent months, our major college sports universities have been more brazen in their public acknowledgments that their athletic departments are indeed big-time businesses. The Big Five conferences are run by shrewd business executives, not educators or even athletic administrators. And the hot new trend in big-time college sports is for schools to can their traditional athletic directors in favor of business execs from other industries who have excellent fundraising skills.
The New York Times‘ Joe Nocera recently wrote a column talking about how the vast majority of college presidents are ill-equipped to run the massive sports entertainment enterprises on their campuses. He argues persuasively that it’s time to stop the charade. Nocera writes:
“We could just finally be done with it: acknowledge that big-time college sports is a serious business that has to be managed by business executives who have an expertise in sports management. Let this new breed of athletic directors maximize revenues to their hearts’ content, but create some real separation between the teams and the universities, and stop pretending they have any ‘educational’ value. (And while we’re at it, pay the players.) And let college presidents get back to what they actually know how to do: run their universities.”
It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon