The Pac-12 conference CEOs have begun questioning whether or not adding a for-profit school to Division I athletics is a good idea, according to a report from Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com.
They sent a letter to Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the target of that letter is Grand Canyon University. The school joined Division I on June 1st, becoming a member of the WAC, and will be eligible for the NCAA tournament in 2017-2018.
Grand Canyon has 6,500 students on their Pheonix campus and another 45,000 taking classes online. IT was founded in 1949, but was taken over in 2004 when the school was broke and turned into a publicly-traded company.
“It’s gotten on the radar of our schools and are trying to raise it as a policy issue as to whether for-profit schools ought to be playing Division I athletics, or not, before there are any,” Scott said. “It’s always hard to put the genie back in the bottle.”
The school was been assured by an NCAA official that “he didn’t feel like [non-profit status] would have any tangible affect on our membership,” according to Grand Canyon AD Keith Baker.
Scott said the concern among the league’s presidents and chancellors arises from such a school being “responsible to financial partners and shareholders. That’s the bottom line of accountability.”
The Pac-12 action originated with Arizona State, according to several sources.
“It’s not about Grand Canyon,” Scott said. “It’s about institutions whether they should be granted membership to Division I. This issue has been flagged by our presidents as something as they think the NCAA board and the membership more broadly ought to really think about just before letting it happen.”
This will be something to keep an eye on, but for now, the Antelopes are nothing more than a program with a couple of notable names. “Thunder” Dan Majerle is their head coach, which Demetrius Walker transferred into the program.
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