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Williams: NCAA has too much power in the game

BY MATTHEW WILLIAMS | JUNE 15, 2012 6:30 AM

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In the United States government, there is a system of checks and balances in which every institution and department has a governing force, even the executive branch. To keep the executive branch from gaining to much power, the legislative branch keeps the president's administration in check. In the world of college athletics, the NCAA is the executive branch.

However, unlike the United States government, college athletics has no system of checks and balances, leaving the NCAA with almost absolute power.

The universities and conferences that make up the NCAA need more authority to keep the association in check to not only make sure the NCAA fairly enforces all its rules in unbiased actions but to make sure the association isn't gaining too much power.

If we were to look at the relationship between the NCAA and American universities in terms of politics, the NCAA has become a massive, intrusive federal government leaving the universities as defenseless citizens — but enough on politics.

Many sanctions and disciplinary actions laid upon both athletics programs and individual athletes over the past few years have proven that the NCAA not only has the power to change the course of a program but also a young man or woman's personal life.

All athletes and universities must abide by the rules and should expect consequences when they don't follow said rules. I'm not arguing that it's not necessary for athletics programs to have a governing body to abide by, because it clearly is as so many universities break NCAA rules, but the organization has almost no one it answers to. Although the universities gave the NCAA the power to make sure all athletics programs follow the rules, the it has gained unprecedented power in college sports.

The NCAA has developed a stranglehold over its universities with the association's determination of keeping every college in line.

Although there has certainly been some controversy over the "super conferences" that have formed over the past couple of years, there has been at least one positive.

This was one of the very few instances in which numerous universities were able to make a decision despite the NCAA's wishes for those universities to accord to what the association wanted. Now, those new super conferences may have negative consequences for other universities, but those super conferences can be seen as instance in which universities loosened the NCAA stranglehold.

These were some of the few and rare decisions that the organization could not control, perhaps providing a glimpse of what college sports without the NCAA breathing down everyone's back could entail.

Every sports fan knows the big issue that has surrounded college football for years: the desire for a playoff system by the vast majority of college football fans. Although there have numerous factors that have kept a playoff system out of college football, the most notable ones is the NCAA founded Bowl Championship Series, commonly known as the BCS.

Because it appears that the NCAA is now closer to implementing a playoff system for college football than it has ever before, the ones who will be affected most by the decision should be the ones determine the outcome — the universities. Despite the NCAA's desire to continue its stranglehold on the universities, the organization's top officials shouldn't have the deciding factor in determining a new playoff system — it should be the universities of each conference.

It is clear that the NCAA is doing what it thinks is best for college sports; however, a governing body with that much power is always cause for concern.


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