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NCAA to make schools accountable for student-athlete success


The National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) most recent attempt at academic reform will hold member institutions and athletic programs accountable for the progress of their student-athletes, the organization's leader told the Board of Regents June 17.
U-M Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Bill Martin, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Myles Brand, and Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delaney conduct a panel discussion before the Board of Regents June 17. Brand said the NCAA will hold member institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes. (Photo by Paul Jaronski, U-M Photo Services)

Myles Brand, president of the NCAA and former president of Indiana University, said all legislation is in place for reform. The challenge, he added, will be how the NCAA holds the line against the anticipated response from some schools.

"The heart of the matter is the success of the student-athlete," Brand said. "My goal is not only to provide all student-athletes the opportunity to participate in their sports, but also to graduate and to get a good education."

Brand led a panel discussion before the regents with Bill Martin, U-M's director of intercollegiate athletics, and Jim Delaney, Big Ten Conference commissioner. Topics ranged from universities subsidizing athletics to a college football playoff.

In April, the NCAA Board of Directors passed a package that Brand claims will improve the academic progress, retention and graduations rates of student-athletes in the most far-reaching effort in the history of the association. Brand said programs that fail to comply could face losses of scholarships and postseason play, and even decertification.

"We have raised the floor to better position our student-athletes to be successful and move toward graduation," he said. "We want to make sure every student-athlete has a chance to get a degree and to succeed."
U-M registers school-best finish
in Directors' Cup

Led by top-10 national finishes from 13 of its 25 intercollegiate athletics teams, U-M placed second in the 2003-04 U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup Division I race, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics announced June 13.

It is the Wolverines' highest finish in the competition designed to measure a school's overall athletics program, surpassing the third-place showing in 1999-2000.

Stanford won its 10th consecutive Cup with 1,337.3 points, followed by U-M (1,226.3) and the University of California, Los Angeles (1,178.8). Standings are at http://nacda.collegesports.com
/directorscup/nacda-directorscup-current-scoring.html
.

All NCAA athletic departments should strive to be self-sufficient, Brand said, but he noted that only a handful of Division I programs make money. He said universities should treat athletic departments like academic units, acknowledging their educational value for students.

Delaney said the Big Ten does not support a college football playoff system, and that the conference has tried to protect the tradition of the Rose Bowl.

Instead, he said, the league is backing a new system that would stage a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game—a fifth BCS contest—annually at the same site as one of the four major bowls (Rose, Orange, Fiesta or Sugar).

Regent David Brandon said he met with a member of U-M's compliance staff and noticed a stack of regulations "as thick as several New York phone books."

Brand agreed, saying, "I am trying to make the NCAA a kinder, gentler institution that has less bureaucracy. We are always looking to give the student-athletes the benefit of the doubt. And we will be tough as nails on major infractions."

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