Stephen A. Miller, a lawyer from Philly who represents student-athletes in eligibility disputes with the NCAA, was given some space on The Atlantic’s website where he proceeds to rip the NCAA.
Nothing that he said was new to anyone that’s been paying attention. According to Miller, the issues with the NCAA’s enforcement policies are: they are weak, they are under-investigated and they are inconsistent. This isn’t groundbreaking stuff.
But the proposal that Miller offers in his piece just may be.
The way he sees it, the NCAA needs out of the enforcement business:
The solution is abdication. Not abandonment of any enforcement efforts but voluntary transfer of enforcement responsibilities to an outside organization. This gesture would serve as an acknowledgment that an independent body would do a better, more credible job of enforcing the NCAA’s rules than the NCAA itself, which suffers from financial and other conflicts of interest in this regard.
According to Miller’s theory, the NCAA needs to do five things: outsource major investigations, outsource punishment decisions, be transparent, encourage investigations, and commit financially.
Personally, I think that all they need to do is go to the Olympic model of amateurism — allowing sponsorship deals while retaining eligibility — but if we’re not jettisoning this tired ideal of the “student-athlete”, than Miller makes some very valid points.
And it’s very hard to disagree with him.