To Jay Bilas, the Commission on College Basketball headed by Condoleezza Rice didn’t shoot an air ball. But it missed badly in attempting to address the sport’s problems as identified by the FBI investigation that prompted its formation.
Bilas was in Kansas City on Tuesday as the keynote speaker for the annual NAIA Champions of Character awards event.
“I thought the committee failed in a lot of areas,” Bilas said. “If you’re not going to address the money awash in the game, you haven’t done anything.
“So, frankly, they didn’t do anything.”
The Rice Commission was assembled by NCAA president Mark Emmert a month after the FBI announced its investigation into the black market of basketball recruiting in September. Assistant coaches were among 10 arrested, and last month, the FBI announced that tens of thousands of dollars changed hands from Adidas personnel to steer two players, believed to be Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa, to the University of Kansas without the school's knowledge.
But the Rice Commission didn’t directly address the sport’s underground economy that exists because the market value of top basketball players is greater than the scholarships and other benefits they receive from the schools.
Some, like Bilas, have called for changing the amateur model altogether.
“I don’t believe that money and education are mutually exclusive,” said Bilas, an ESPN analyst. “Otherwise you’d see regular students say they can’t make money. It’s just athletes that are told they can’t.
“We use this term, 'collegiate model.' What does that mean? It doesn’t mean anything. All it really means is we’re justifying our rules by saying collegiate model. What’ the collegiate model for a non-athlete student? There isn’t one. They get to do whatever they want.
“It’s funny, there’s no limit on any other person in the collegiate model. There’s no limit on coaches, on administrators, on spending. The only limit is only players in the collegiate model. So it’s the collegiate excuse, or the collegiate rationalization.”