How would you change the NCAA?

It's safe to say that the NCAA has really hit a low in the realm of public opinion if ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski pens the following:

Blow. It. Up.

That's right. Find a chunk of C-4 as big as Jim Tressel's failed cover-up and then attach it to the NCAA's nearly obsolete oversight model. There won't be a shortage of volunteers willing to trigger the detonator.

The NCAA isn't just broken, it's borderline useless. It has been paper-shredded into so many confetti strips that you can't recognize what it was or what it's supposed to be. It is the show poodle of bureaucracies -- big hair, no substance.

Draw your own conclusions, but it sounds to me like Wojciechowski is advocating more investigation, more proactive investigation, and serious consequences. Leaving aside for a moment the challenges of having an investigative staff big enough to actually identify issues and gather data before say a local newspaper, the following quote makes me wonder about just what scale of punishment we're talking about here:

I spoke Sunday night with a longtime head basketball coach from a major conference. He said the level of cheating, the cutting of ethical and moral corners and the compromising of academic standards has never been worse.

"You wouldn't believe it," he said.

I believe it. And so does the NCAA.

But the question remains: Is the NCAA is willing to fight the Capones with something more than a swizzle stick? In "Untouchables"-speak, it's time to send the cheaters to the morgue.

If cheating has never been worse, and the death penalty is the way to go, just how much of a scorched earth policy is Wojciechowski proposing here? How many schools are to have their football or basketball programs go dark? And for how long?

It's not that there's anything wrong with enforcing the rules - to the extent that they are enforceable - but this law and order approach seems to ignore the corrosive effect of money. It doesn't address the incentives to break the rules, in other words, but it does impose enormous costs on universities... who can be expected to object both the operational costs of funding all these investigations, never mind the costs of sanctions.

I'm not saying that Wojciechowski is misdiagnosing the malaise of the NCAA, but I'm not at all convinced that doubling down on the same old same old will produce any new results.

So if you were trying to reform the NCAA, what would you do differently?

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