A STEAMROLLER FOR REFORM
The reform package that was pushed through last week's NCAA convention in Nashville by the Presidents Commission included across-the-board cuts in everything from scholarships to coaching staffs to practice time. The coup left some athletic directors and coaches, particularly football coaches, crying bloody murder. "This wasn't a Presidents Commission sweep," said Vince Dooley, the athletic director at Georgia. "This was a Presidents Commission blitzkrieg."
Indeed, NCAA executive director Dick Schultz had done such a good job of lobbying in advance for the reform package that the overwhelming majority of the 2,400 delegates arrived at the convention with the express purpose of rubber-stamping the proposals. Those rubber stamps came in the form of hand-held electronic devices that were used, for the first time, to vote on some of the major issues. When a snafu developed during the very first vote, B.J. Skelton of Clemson, an NCAA vice-president, said, "I have been informed that at 10 a.m., 262 garage doors opened simultaneously."
But that was about the only glitch in a convention that was more carefully orchestrated than anything ever seen at the nearby Grand Ole Opry. An estimated 235 college presidents, 100 more than usual, attended the convention, and for the most part, what the presidents wanted, the presidents got:
•Mandatory in-season practice and competition time will be limited to a maximum of 20 hours per week and four hours per day, with athletes guaranteed one day off a week.
•Athletic dorms or dorm wings earmarked for athletes will be phased out by 1996.
•Training table meals will be reduced to one a day by 1996.
•Coaching staffs will be cut by at least one position in most sports and by an average of three in Division I-A football.
•Scholarships in all Division I sports will be reduced by 10%.
•Division I athletes who enter their fourth year in school will have to have completed at least 50% of their degree requirements to remain eligible.