The NCAA on Monday pulled the plug on its Scholarly Colloquium, canceling financial support for future academic conferences and announcing plans to wind down its investment in the forum’s scholarly journal, following a sometimes-contentious six-year run.
The news—delivered by James L. Isch, the NCAA’s chief operating officer—came during a meeting of the colloquium’s Executive Board on Monday night, just hours before this year’s colloquium was set to begin, on Tuesday morning.
Citing poor attendance at the annual conference, a lack of profitability of the journal, and a failure to influence public policy, Mr. Isch said the NCAA planned to redirect its investment into “targeted research” that its member colleges wanted, according to academic leaders present at the meeting.
Scholars saw the move as a pretext for NCAA officials’ objections to the critical examination of…
Wallace I. Renfro, one of the chief architects of NCAA policy over the past two decades, plans to leave his job as vice president early next year, he said in an interview on Thursday.
One of the association’s longest-serving leaders—he just celebrated his 40th anniversary on the job—Renfro helped start the NCAA’s public-relations department and steer the association through various crises.
Ten years ago, he stepped aside following the departure of Cedric Dempsey, then the NCAA’s leader. Six months later, Myles Brand, the next president, persuaded him to come back.
“I asked Myles what he wanted to accomplish, and he said, ‘I want to change the way people think about intercollegiate athletics, as a co-curricular activity embedded into the institution,’” Renfro recalls. “That’s what I had always wanted to do, and I didn’t know how to say no to that.”
Tom Farrey dropped me a line the other day to let me know that the full video from a session he moderated at this summer’s Aspen Ideas Festival was now available online.
Farrey, an ESPN enterprise reporter and director of the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, does a terrific job of teeing up the most engaging issues in college sports. And his panelists–Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of “The Shame of College Sports”; Joe Nocera, the New York Times columnist who writes frequently about the NCAA; Wally Renfro, a senior adviser at the NCAA; and Craig Robinson, the men’s basketball coach at Oregon State–engage in one of the livelier conversations you’ll see on topics ranging from scandal to antitrust lawsuits to conference realignment.
The retired law professor has reinvented himself as a go-to
resource for colleges in trouble over sports.
Players: The Podcast
Making College Sports Accessible: After 25 years of overseeing the Ivy League's athletics conference, Jeffrey H. Orleans talks about the future of gender and racial equity in college athletics, and the challenges of making college sports accessible to athletes from diverse backgrounds.
When Athletics Are Too Expensive: Not every athletics program can be a juggernaut. John R. Thelin, a professor of higher education at the University of Kentucky, explains how smaller athletics programs often incur significant debt trying to recruit and build like the hegemons of college athletics.