Having worked at the NCAA for 40 years, Wally Renfro, one of the people most responsible for NCAA policy and a close advisor to NCAA presidents over that time will be stepping down at the end of the year. Renfro answered some questions from Brad Wolverton from the Chronicle of Higher Education. This one was the most interesting:
Q. What about predictions of the NCAA’s demise—that the top programs will secede?
A. Remember that the role of the NCAA is nothing more than the aggregation of voices from its members. The question is, Do member institutions want to aggregate their voice? The answer is—because their activity happens to be about sports competition—they have no choice. Whether it’s called the NCAA or whatever it’s called, you will still have the need for that kind of aggregation.
When we talk about what the NCAA is and whether it will be replaced, we could be talking about any one or a combination of three things:
- The national office in Indianapolis
- The collection of member schools
- The stated values of the NCAA
Renfro sees the NCAA as mostly the second. But if universities, especially those with big athletic departments, come together to do something, completely different than what the NCAA was supposed to be about, then the NCAA is gone.