My Personal Disappointments with the NCAA
Written by Dale Brown
LSU Head Basketball Coach 1972-1997
- My criticism of the NCAA has always been focused on several dishonest members of the enforcement staff and the legislation which has exploited the student-athletes by not providing them with their basic needs. Failure to meet these basic needs is not due to lack of funding but rather misplaced priorities. What’s wrong with this? It isn’t that complex. Greed and legislating against human dignity and practicing monumental hypocrisy have been prevalent far too long.
- LSU was subjected to the longest NCAA investigation in history and suffered through a 4 year investigation. I volunteered to take a polygraph exam and it was denied. Had we been rule breakers I doubt that we would have lost 46 Louisiana players to other Division I schools and 29 of them played in the NBA. I have no doubt there was a vendetta towards LSU because I was a vocal critic of the NCAA’s unjust tactics. I have documented evidence to prove this to be 100% valid. How has the NCAA been able to embarrass and hurt so many innocent victims and never apologize or admit their dishonest tactics? Probably the best answer to that question came from Brent Clark, a former NCAA investigator, when he appeared in front of a congressional hearing and told them, “I believe that the NCAA enforcement machinery allows NCAA personnel to inflict selective punishment upon institutions. Unfortunately the many fine services the NCAA renders have been overshadowed by manipulative and corrupt enforcement.”
- I have probably made more calls to the NCAA and SEC office to check the rules than any other coach in the nation. I was overly cautious because I was an outspoken opponent of the NCAA and did not want to be thought of as an Elmer Gantry.
- I tried to set up meetings with Walter Byers, the first executive director of the NCAA, to discuss changes and problems in college sports but to no avail. After his retirement of 36 years in the NCAA he was very candid and honest when he strongly stated, “Time and circumstances have passed the entire system of intercollegiate athletics by and the management structure has become bureaucratic and irresponsible. Reform will not come from within; the beneficiaries of the current monopoly will not give up a good thing.”
Finally on 11/14/14 after these many years of trying to have an open conversation about the ills of the NCAA I met the fifth CEO of the NCAA, Mark Emmert and had a very productive two-hour meeting regarding the NCAA.
I now sincerely believe that he can be the beacon light to guide the NCAA out of its archaic and sordid past and will do his very best to make this happen.
The reasons I believe this is because of the following:
1. He has made himself more available than any other NCAA CEO.
2. He sees the need for immediate change.
3. He is bright.
4. He is resilient.
5. He supports financial assistance to the athletes.
The pressure is now coming from all corners for immediate change. When this happens every leader must develop the ability to measure the value or worth of the criticism. Now he has to determine the source and the motive, and to listen with discernment. It was clear to me today after my meeting with Mark Emmert that he is a good listener.
Calling for reform in the NCAA system is certainly not anything new. Robert Hutchins, on December 3, 1938 in the Saturday Evening Post said, “We must reform ourselves now!” Yet all these years later the NCAA faces a most daunting challenge and if they continue to ignore the need for change it will only irrevocably worsen and there will be a breakup of the NCAA.