the BigAmateurism monologues

A series of events over the last 18 months—some unforeseeable—have created a perfect storm that will change college sports forever. The NCAA's bait an…
Aug 19th, 2025 | 1:00:18

Who are the Five Most Influential NCAA Insiders?

From the beginning of the early 20th century, one central question has plagued the voluntary regulation of college sports: who is in charge? If you were to pose that question to twenty in-system stakeholders/decision-makers, you might y get twenty different answers. The NCAA regulatory and decision-making process is notoriously opaque. Its defining feature is a lack of clear accountability. After the Commission on College Basketball’s report in April 2018, Commission chair Condoleezza Rice lamented that college sports decision-making resembled a circular firing squad where no one is accountable. Yet a careful examination of the composition of the NCAA’s most consequential governing boards and committees reveals that a small handful of NCAA insiders wield extraordinary power. These decision-makers operate as an invisible star chamber with influence across the board/committee spectrum. While this dysfunctional component of the college sports regulatory model is nothing new, the current star chamber suggests an imbalance of power among the Power 5 conferences. This episode looks at the composition of the current—post-Alston, post-NCAA constitutional makeover, post-NIL market—NCAA governance structure and identifies five key decision-makers and their crucial roles.