Let us imagine that a lot of schools, led by USC, Miami (Fl.), and Texas, are fed up with the NCAA and how it has been operating, and they convince many other universities to secede with them from the NCAA and form their own athletic association. Let us also imagine that other universities begin to follow suit in the following years.
The changes that I would make if I were forming this association are many, and some may surprise you. All changes would be designed to prevent the issues currently plaguing the NCAA now and also to ensure fairness for all players and teams.
Let us begin with seven ideas:
1. All sports at all levels would be required to have a playoff to determine the national champion
Yes, this is in response to the BCS (also known as the bulls*** controlling sports), but it also puts into the association’s constitution the requirement that would prevent something like the BCS from happening in the first place. Speaking of which…
2. Every Postseason is under direct control of the association
The reason why the NCAA basketball tournaments are so great and fair is that they are under the direct control of the NCAA, unlike the collegiate football postseason, which is ruled by the universities of the Big 6 conferences.
3. Athletes may pursue endorsements, but will not be paid by the universities or the association
This is designed to deal with the money and benefits issues that the NCAA is dealing with. It permits the student-athletes to use their clout to make money on the side without putting a greater financial strain on the universities themselves, especially public institutions reeling in the bad economy.
4. All sports teams must be committed to a conference
I know that Notre Dame loves having its football team be “independent” and BYU is likely enjoying it right now too, but if there is to be a playoff system, it is not fair to those teams that they would have to commit for an at-large bid in football. A conference guarantees common opponents with the other teams in your conference, as well as competition for an automatic berth by winning the title.
Student-athletes may have talks with agents when they are on the roster and playing (not, for instance, when they are redshirting their freshman year, on a medical redshirt, or redshirting as a result of transferring to a new school). They may not sign with an agent until they are a year out from being eligible from entering the draft. The university may impose additional restrictions if they deem it appropriate, but such restrictions must be reviewed and approved by the association.
6. Conference Championship Games and Schedules
Conferences may determine their own scheduling rules. If they have eleven teams or fewer, they may choose to have a championship game, and also choose to have divisions, but they do not need divisions to have the championship game and vice versa. Any conference with twelve teams or more, however, must have a championship game and divisions.
7. Coaching Punishments
Should a head or associate coach willingly commit a violation of the association’s rules and bylaws with regard to recruiting, the punishments will be an automatic one game suspension for each violation, as well as any additional punishments for greater violations.
Additionally, coaches and athletic directors will be held accountable for lack of control of their programs, with regard to rampant violations of policies by student-athletes and coaches.
Obviously, this is a rough idea, and things would have to be defined and worked out, but this is a start.