College Sports

Condoleezza Rice calls NCAA's current rules 'incomprehensible'

In this Jan. 14, 2016, file photo, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice speaks during a luncheon at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio. College basketball spent an entire season operating amid a federal corruption investigation that magnified long-simmering problems within the sport, from unethical agent conduct to concerns over the "one-and-done" model. On Wednesday morning, April 25, 2018, the commission headed by Condoleezza Rice will present its proposed reforms to university presidents of the NCAA Board of Governors and the Division I Board of Directors at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.
In this Jan. 14, 2016, file photo, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice speaks during a luncheon at the NCAA Convention in San Antonio. College basketball spent an entire season operating amid a federal corruption investigation that magnified long-simmering problems within the sport, from unethical agent conduct to concerns over the "one-and-done" model. On Wednesday morning, April 25, 2018, the commission headed by Condoleezza Rice will present its proposed reforms to university presidents of the NCAA Board of Governors and the Division I Board of Directors at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. AP

NCAA rules can be “incomprehensible,” Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with USA Today. And the one that doesn’t allow athletes to profit from use of their name, image and/or likeness should be changed, she said.

Rice came stronger on that topic in the recent interview than she did two weeks ago, when she announced recommendations from the commission convened to address problems with college basketball.

Then, the commission set up to examine problems identified by an FBI investigation called for those in charge to take control of college basketball by reforming its so-called one-and-done rule, allowing players to return to their college teams after going through the draft process and removing enforcement from the hands of the NCAA.

But the commission's recommendations went light on the topic that created the need for the commission in the first place: solving the revenue imbalance that created an underground economy in which shoe companies and agents help funnel athletes to certain schools through bribes. One of the schools implicated in the federal case is Kansas.

The athletes that create much of the income are paid through scholarships and some additional income to remain amateurs. It’s not a pittance. But it’s also not in the range of the millions that many coaches are paid annually.

The rhetoric was turned up earlier this week when Kylia Carter, the mother of former Duke star Wendell Carter, compared the current NCAA system to slavery and the prison system.

Rice wanted it known she and the rest of the commission favors allowing athletes to cash in on their name, likeness and image. The holdup is in the courts, where cases are pending, and Rice has said the NCAA should act on this as soon as it is legally able.

“There is a legal framework that has to be determined, but name, image and likeness, athletes are going to have to be able to benefit from it,” Rice told USA Today. “I think everybody can see that. Exactly what that’s going to look like, I don’t think we could design it. I don’t think that today the NCAA could design it because the legal framework still has to be developed. But when I see policies that are as confused as the NCAA’s policies on this, I think, ‘Why haven’t you gone and looked at this before?’”

Rice called the rules covering usage of name, likeness and image “incomprehensible … which means it probably isn’t right. And I thought that in the report we were pretty clear, that we think the framework doesn’t work.

“Here, I really stand with the athletes on this.”

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