Brand sees changes in college sports


Published: Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 12:08 a.m.
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Myles Brand foresees some dramatic changes on the horizon for intercollegiate sports, but the new NCAA president stresses that reforms will not be made hastily.
Addressing one of the many issues facing the NCAA, Brand said he feels punishment "should have teeth" for universities and colleges that are not providing proper academic opportunities to their student-athletes.
"But decision-making has to be evidence-based," Brand said at a news conference Saturday during the NCAA convention. "We cannot deal with anecdote or feel-good means.
"If we're going to make a change that's going to affect people's lives, we have to take time to get the data. I don't mean forever; we have to make timely decisions."
Academics will be one of the main thrusts for Brand, the former president at Oregon and Indiana who is the first sitting university president chosen to head the NCAA.
He said his primary goals for the NCAA are "sustaining and completing the academic reform movement and also being a forceful advocate for the positive values of intercollegiate athletics."
"That's what I'm going to devote my time to. Within that context, there are a whole range of issues that have to be addressed - the inclusion of minorities in leadership positions, coaching positions, athletic director positions and similarly, full participation by women," Brand said.
He said the NCAA will look at a broad range of issues.
"What I'm passionate about is the conclusion, reaching the end state in which all student-athletes have full opportunities to take advantage of the best education their college or university has to offer so they have the full set of academic opportunities to prosper in school and beyond," Brand said.
Asked if there was any possibility the NCAA might seek an antitrust exemption, such as major league baseball currently has, Brand said there wasn't any plan in place right now.
"I know there are some in Washington, for example, that would encourage us to do that," he said. "I don't want to rule it out, but I'm not about to begin the process of doing it, either. I've been on the job less than two weeks, so I don't think I have all the answers. But that is something that has been mentioned and I think it needs to be reviewed."
Brand strongly backs Title IX, which is being reviewed by the federal government, although he believes it could be applied better.
"I have two young granddaughters and I want to make sure they have every opportunity to succeed on the athletic field and in the classroom," he said. "I'm also an advocate for full participation of men."
Some men's sports have been eliminated at schools seeking to balance men's and women's sports. The National Wrestling Coaches Association filed a lawsuit against the Education Department, claiming Title IX doesn't fulfill its intent if it's used to restrict men's opportunities and not increase women's.
"I think we have to find ways in which we implement Title IX that do not detract from men's opportunities," Brand said. "I don't believe that's wishful thinking, but I also don't believe it's easy. It's not one of the other. We have to do both."
Brand, who in the past expressed concern with what he called the "arms race" in college basketball and football, said spending on athletics will be studied.
"Expenditures for intercollegiate athletic programs is surely something we have to take notice of and account of," he said. "We need, first of all, to get a better understanding of what the expenditure rates really are. I don't think right now we have good data to say who's abusing the system and who isn't.
"Certainly there have been increases, sometimes large increases in athletic expenditures at different programs. But there have also been increases in other parts of the university, too. You have to see how it all fits in."

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