Monthly Archives: June 2011


NCAA Reorganizes Its Investigative Unit

The NCAA announced today that it has restructured its enforcement division to better respond to inappropriate activities in athletic departments and to more effectively process the most important cases.

“The new structure allows us to be focused on the priorities of our members,” Julie Roe Lach, the association’s vice president for enforcement, said in a statement. “We need to focus more staff on critical issues in a concentrated way.”

One significant change involves the formation of an “informa…


Fiesta Bowl Wants Politicians to Pay Back $154,000

Under fire for lavishing local politicians with tens of thousands of dollars in free tickets and entertainment, the Fiesta Bowl now wants its money back, the Arizona Republic reports. Bowl officials sent letters to 31 politicians last week asking them to pay back $154,000 in perks they’ve received.

The move is the bowl’s latest attempt to come clean following a series of missteps, which included spending $1,200 on a strip club visit and another $30,000 on a birthday party for its former leader. …


Spending Boom in Midmajor Programs Could Come at a Cost

If you haven’t seen it, you should check out Libby Sander and Andrea Fuller’s piece this week highlighting the spending patterns in lesser-known Division I programs. The story found that nearly a third of the 125 athletic departments that compete just below the NCAA’s elite level increased their expenditures by more than 40 percent during a recent five-year period. Public universities, many of them grappling with overall financial cuts, had some of the fastest-growing athletic budgets.

A forthco…


Wrestling Advocate Wants Students to Speak Out on Athletic Fees

In Mike Moyer’s crusade to bring back the hundreds of collegiate wrestling teams that have been eliminated over the past three decades, a new battlefront has emerged. Call it the war over student fees.

At many Division I athletic programs, student fees provide the lion’s share of revenues—sometimes covering as much as two-thirds of all expenses. For that reason, Moyer, the executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, thinks students should be more involved in major decis…


NCAA Considers Tougher Penalties for Division III Colleges That Break Scholarship Rules

It’s a core tenet of Division III: Colleges aren’t supposed to give athletic scholarships. But what about standout athletes who just so happen to land “leadership grants” and awards worth the cost of attendance?

Not allowed, says the NCAA. The association is troubled by financial-aid practices at more than a third of colleges in this division, according to a new report. (The full report will be published Friday on the association’s Web site.) In the past six years, 38 percent of Division III’s 4…


In Preventing Concussions, Fancy Helmets Aren’t Always Fail-Safe

When Michael Higgins first started working with lacrosse players in Baltimore nearly two decades ago, protective headwear was a far cry from the high-tech helmets now found in college locker rooms around the country.

“Back then, it was suspension helmets—a couple pieces of cloth on top of the helmet,” says Mr. Higgins, who directs the Athletic Training Education Program at Towson University and specializes in research on helmets and brain injuries. “They didn’t have the harder shell as the …


At St. John’s College, Bookworms Discover Their ‘Inner Athlete’

Annapolis, Md.—St. John’s College is a bookish, quirky place. Proud of it, too.

So it’s hardly surprising that the Johnnies, as students at this Great Books institution are known, take an unorthodox approach to sports: As my colleague Brock Read recounts in a lively dispatch this week, the college’s signature sporting event of the year is a colorful croquet match pitting the Johnnies against the Midshipmen of the U.S. Naval Academy, their neighbors just down the street.

Now in its 29th year, the…


As Ohio State Scandal Widens, Will Its President Survive?

Scroll through the NCAA’s infractions database, and you’ll find scores of colleges that cast aside coaches and compliance officers when bad things happened. What you won’t find is many college presidents or athletic directors who took the fall. Will Ohio State be different?

E. Gordon Gee’s handling of the scandal that has ensnared his athletic department certainly raises questions about his competency as the program’s ultimate authority. Criticism started after a March news conference, in which …