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 21st, 2021 | 1:11:19

What the Baylor Decision Says About the NCAA

On August 11th, an NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI) panel issued its decision on Baylor University’s failure to report a series of alleged violent acts against women by Baylor football players. The COI found no NCAA rules violations despite the institutional acknowledgment of a “colossal operational failure” and universal condemnation of Baylor’s conduct by numerous outside investigatory bodies. Rather than look to provisions of the NCAA constitution that bombastically promote gender equity and safe campus environments, the COI instead tried to hammer Baylor’s misconduct into an NCAA bylaw (Bylaw 16, “Awards, Benefits and Expenses for Enrolled Student-Athletes”) that generally prohibits “extra benefits” such as free car rides, free meals, and complimentary game tickets. The COI attempted to avoid addressing the absurdity of reliance on Bylaw 16 by claiming it was up to the “collective membership” to determine whether that bylaw covered the conduct at issue in the case. The Baylor decision shines a bright light on two crucial elements of the NCAA’s regulatory house of cards: (1) the absence of any NCAA legislation that specifically protects the lofty principles contained in the NCAA constitution; and (2) the actual focus of NCAA legislation on issues that relate almost exclusively to protecting the NCAA’s business model and revenue streams, namely rules that enforce the NCAA’s conceptualization of amateurism. This glaring hypocrisy begs the question of why the NCAA so aggressively promotes and markets for public relations purposes constitutional principles it has no intention of standing behind. This episode analyzes the Baylor decision and offers thoughts on what it says about the NCAA and new-found quest through its Constitutional Committee to “align responsibilities with authorities.”