Tim Crone: NCAA could be a thing of the past
I have preached flexibility with sports administrators and coaches as they attempt to allow play and keep everyone safe.
Opinions abound about who should or should not play. I am not sure if there is a right answer. In NCAA college football, the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided not to play fall sports and the NCAA had hardly a voice in the decisions. The pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses of organizations.
The NCAA leadership made comments, like a statement from Carlos del Rio of the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel: “I feel like the Titanic. We have hit the iceberg, and we’re trying to make decisions of what time the band should play.”
The NCAA has made billions of dollars policing and holding postseason playoff events. They have earned their money on the backs of the student-athletes who have not reaped any of those financial benefits. The organization has had the most archaic rules of a petty nature in the name of keeping those student-athletes in line.
Case in point – the NCAA did not provide food for their athletes after a game unless they were on a road trip. The Division I athletes made millions of dollars for the schools and NCAA but had to pay for their own food after a game. My grandchildren range in age from 7 to 16 and when they are around they eat any and all food available.
The NCAA has basically been quiet throughout the pandemic. Now, at crunch time, it seems to be a no-show in the decision process. They did cancel the championships at all levels, but only after the individual conferences one by one made their decisions. The decision by the Power 5 football conferences made it clear they are the power brokers and the organization is leaderless.
The whole play or not play situation still has no leadership. The Big Ten and Pac-12 saw the pandemic as a billion-dollar lawsuit waiting to happen. The Big 12 and ACC went along with the SEC’s decision to play. The SEC is the most powerful football conference in the nation and would most likely try to play football whether it was a pandemic, earthquake, typhoon, tornado or tsunami – or all of them at the same time.
When the heat was in the kitchen, the NCAA chose to stay in the basement. Apparently its only motivation is money.
During this time of indecision, the athletes have shown they are ready to form a group and make demands on the NCAA and member schools. They are ready to have a cut of the financial pie.
As a result of the pandemic, the NCAA may very well become a thing of the past. The Power 5 football conferences may very well tell the NCAA to take a walk and govern themselves.
Historical events have a way of forcing a change in leadership. It will be interesting to see if in the future the NCAA will continue to be needed to conduct college sports.
• The quote of the week comes from Hall of Fame NFL football coach George Allen: “If I were in business, and actually football is a business, I would use the same principles because they are sound. We know what we want to do, when we want to do it and how we want to do it.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.