U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was pretty hard on the National Collegiate Athletic Association when he spoke at the organization’s annual convention. As Inside Higher Ed put it:
He chided institutions for their frantic conference realignment, which peaked this year as colleges sought multimillion-dollar TV deals or panicked about getting left behind. Duncan seemed astonished that even as institutional spending on athletes far outpaces spending on other students, none of the $20 million that colleges receive for playing in a Bowl Championship Series game goes toward academic purposes. He mocked the near-comical excess of the 426-page NCAA rulebook (giving a recruit a bagel is allowed, but add cream cheese and it’s a violation), and lamented that a quarter of this year’s BCS teams graduate fewer than half their athletes. All of the above (and let’s not forget violations in recruiting and myriad other rules) have combined, Duncan said, to create a “disturbing” and “dangerous narrative” in the public that college sports lives in an insular world that’s all about the money.
Duncan, a former college basketball player, is, historically, a big fan of issuing divisive statements to and about the NCAA and its practices and then doing nothing to change the situation.
The 1,281 institutions that make up the NCAA will continue to enjoy billions in federal financial aid. Duncan did commend the association for instituting tougher rules for academic eligibility. [Image via]