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NCAA President forms Commission on College Basketball to be chaired by Condoleezza Rice

Mark Emmert hopes to make “substantive changes” in light of federal investigation.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-NCAA President Mark Emmert Press Conference Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA released a statement from NCAA president Mark Emmert on Wednesday (11 October) that he will form a Commission on College Basketball to examine the, “critical aspects of a system that clearly is not working”. This news comes in response to the recent federal investigation into fraud and “pay to play” schemes that has upended the world of college basketball.

Louisville Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino has already been relieved of his position and four assistant coaches have been arrested in connection to the scandal. USC’s Tony Bland, Arizona’s Book Richardson, Auburn’s Chuck Person, and Oklahoma State’s Lamont Evans have either made their first appearances in court or are scheduled to later this week.

Emmert had to get approval from the NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors to create the commission, and Dr. Condoleezza Rice will serve as the chair.

From Emmert:

“The recent news of a federal investigation into fraud in college basketball made it very clear the NCAA needs to make substantive changes to the way we operate, and do so quickly. Individuals who break the trust on which college sports is based have no place here. While I believe the vast majority of coaches follow the rules, the culture of silence in college basketball enables bad actors, and we need them out of the game. We must take decisive action. This is not a time for half-measures or incremental change.”

Rice, who served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, was one of the 13 inaugural members of the College Football Playoff selection committee.

Per the release, the commission will focus on three areas and will begin in November. The three areas of emphasis are:

  1. The relationship of the NCAA national office, member institutions, student-athletes and coaches with outside entities...
  2. The NCAA’s relationship with the NBA, and the challenging effect the NBA’s so-called “one and done” rule has had on college basketball, including how the NCAA can change its own eligibility rules to address that dynamic.
  3. Creating the right relationship between the universities and colleges of the NCAA and its national office to promote transparency and accountability. The commission will be asked to evaluate whether the appropriate degree of authority is vested in the current enforcement and eligibility processes, and whether the collaborative model provides the investigative tools, cultural incentives and structures to ensure exploitation and corruption cannot hide in college sports.

Several big names have been included in the commission, including General Martin Dempsey, Grant Hill, David Robinson, and John Thompson III.

More arrests are expected to come as a result of the FBI’s ongoing investigation, and -according to the LA Times - “this is the tip of the iceberg”.