To start this weekend off, we look at some news coming from Indiana. The Division I Board of Directors are finally beginning to take some steps toward rectifying the situation between collegiate athletes and the universities, conferences, and the NCAA as a whole (although the article does not state that expressly). The proposal that the Board endorses will tentatively include the following additions: “the chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; the chair of a new group tentatively called the Council; and the most senior Division I member of the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association’s executive committee. The council chair would always be an athletics director, giving that constituency an automatic spot on the board.” While the Board’s main responsibilities remain fixated on “oversight and strategic issues,” the new “Council” would have the final word on “shared governance rule-making decisions.” Underneath the Council, there are proposals to create two additional subcategories to support it: ” a championships-focused group and a legislative group.”
And, an intriguing point about this Council is the autonomy this plan gives to the top-grossing conferences in the NCAA, which will “allow the five highest-resource conferences (the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference, Big Ten Conference, Pac-12 Conference and Southeastern Conference) to address their unique challenges, the model would grant them autonomy to make rules on specific matters affecting the interests of student-athletes.” It will focus on:
- financial aid, including full cost of attendance and scholarship guarantees;
- insurance, including policies that protect future earnings;
- academic support, particularly for at-risk student-athletes; and
- other support, such as travel for families, free tickets to athletics events, and expenses associated with practice and competition (such as parking).
From now until August, the Board and the steering committee will seek feedback from member institutions – suggesting changes, additions, subtractions, etc. By August, the Board will vote on whether this new restructuring process will be implemented. Full implementation will take a year, and operations will run as usual until all of the changes are in effect.
The NCAA appears to have stepped away from the battle of the collegiate athletes’ unionization plan by refusing to acknowledge their reasons for wanting to make these changes (even though the reason the NCAA is making these changes is to try and head off the unionization attempt). At this early stage, I’m not convinced that adding more individuals and “charging committees” with all the right things they’re supposed to be doing in the first place will solve the problem. It’s likely that the “restructuring process” merely reflects cosmetic alterations that are as effective as putting a band-aid on a large hole of a dam. It might work for a short time, but the hole remains unfixed, and the dam will eventually break. The NCAA is not making any major ruling changes to its infrastructure – rather, it is adding more individuals to an already tainted system. In other words, these changes will not address the actual problems, and it’ll only worsen if left untreated.
Rio continues to have a tough time dealing with its preparations for the Summer Olympics in 2016. Head of competitions of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Alastair Fox believes that he can reduce the amount of pollution down to where it is possible to hold an Olympic sailing event with no issues…but not by this August. On August 2, Rio planned to host a test competition “ with around 400 sailors from the 10 Olympic classes,” but it’s looking like that will not happen. To give you a taste of how deplorable the pollution was/is, here’s a quote lifted from the article: “Last November, it was revealed Guanabara Bay has 78-times Brazil’s legally allowed limit of fecal pollution, and 195-times the US limit, and this has led to numerous figures from the sailing world claiming the venue is simply unfit for top-level competition.” Currently, the water is so contaminated that it is unfit for any competitions.
Sailing isn’t the only sport concerned about the water levels. Open swimming and rowing committees also voiced their concerns about the health risks posed to athletes swimming and competing in the contaminated waters. Although Rio continues to don a persistent confidence that everything will proceed smoothly, its history over the course of the past few months does not provide much ease.
In Boston Marathon news, Meb Keflezighi was named USATF’s Athlete of the Week after becoming the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1983. He crossed the line to a personal best of 2:08.37. While Keflezighi celebrated his huge accomplishment, an online manhunt has started for bandits who ran the marathon without paying the entry fee from a runner who was not so pleased. Kara Bonneau, “a 34-year-old North Carolina database analyst,” discovered that four individuals ran in the race, and was using the same bib number as her. She discovered this when she logged onto a photo website where one could purchase pictures of themselves running the marathon. When she searched for her bib number, she found that four other individuals with the exact bib numbers came up as well. Bonneau believes that the bandits probably lifted the number from her Instagram account that showed a photo she took of her bib number for the race. Although bandit running is not illegal (too difficult to regulate – think “jaywalking”), Bonneau is determined to find these individuals. She put their pictures up all across social media in an effort to figure out who these people are.