NCAA Scholarly Colloquium on Shaky Ground

The NCAA’s Scholarly Colloquium is in danger of being defunded by the Association. That alone would not be noteworthy except for the possible reason: that the NCAA disagrees with what is being presented at the conference.

On November 7, David K. Wiggins, a professor at George Mason University and chair of the colloquium’s Executive Board, sent an e-mail to fellow board members alerting them to his worries about the event’s future.

In the e-mail, Mr. Wiggins said that several top NCAA administrators apparently were concerned that the last couple of colloquia had “primarily included ideologues intent on criticizing the NCAA.” As a result, one top NCAA leader told him, the colloquium “runs the risk of no longer being funded,” Mr. Wiggins wrote.

I have never been to the Scholarly Colloquium or the NCAA Convention that it operates as a part of. But former NCAA President Myles Brand seems to have hit on the key to this issue:

Mr. Brand emphasized that the colloquium should be data-based and should avoid ideology. “Myles always used to joke: ‘In God we trust; everyone else should bring data,’” said Mr. [Wally] Renfro, a former top adviser to Mr. Brand.

If the NCAA is unhappy that the majority of studies are producing data that is contrary to NCAA policy and is seeking to retaliate, that is a major problem given the NCAA’s connection to higher education. If on the other hand the Colloquium has gotten away from academic study of college sports to pure policy criticism, that’s a different debate.

Posted on by John Infante
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