NCAA enforcement seems arbitrary and out-of-touch with reality at times.
Apparently, interim NCAA enforcement chief Jonathan Duncan has noticed the same thing, and he has a pretty straightforward way of addressing the problem. He’s sending his staff back to campus. Not piecemeal as part of emerging investigations, but in a more collaborative, immersive way designed to promote some understanding of the challenges colleges and athletes face on the ground.
“One of the things I hear is that our staff sometimes lacks an understanding of what campus life is really like,” Duncan told the Associated Press. “So we are piloting a program where our staff will work on campus with athletic directors, compliance staff members and coaches and walk in their shoes so that we have a true understanding of what goes on.”
The relationship between athletic departments and the NCAA has often been distant and combative. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney recently declared that the NCAA needs to undergo a major restructuring
, as the challenges of realignment and a re-examining of amateur principles as a whole are making headlines on a near-daily basis.
At Big Ten football media day last month, Delany listed four commitments that must be made to the scholarship student-athlete: giving them a “lifetime opportunity” to graduate in the event they leave school early; making sure that time demands for athletics don’t exceed the 20 hours per week allowed under the rules; helping the “at-risk” athlete; and paying athletes.
With all of that on the table, and the ever-present threat that mega-conferences might break away and form an exclusive elite division, it might be a good idea for the NCAA to do everything they can to understand what’s at play. Spending more time on campus with coaches, athletes and administrators seems like a good place to start.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.
LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.
While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?
Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.
Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.