I’m not sure that the NCAA can reform itself, too many powerful people are making too much money off the unpaid players. But there’s some fascinating history in this piece by Ken Pendleton of the Sports Conflict Institute:
In 1956, the NCAA finally accepted the idea that scholarships could be awarded entirely on the basis of athletic merit. … By 1973, the NCAA made a subtle but crucial amendment: Scholarships were renewed annually at the coach’s discretion. The ostensible purpose of the rule, which took shape during the late 60s, was to allow coaches to impose standards of behavioral conduct that were stricter than those imposed on other students. But in reality this meant that coaches had more leverage to control athletes, for example, make them lift weights more, and run off the ones that were failing athletically (what was then delicately referred to as ‘dead wood’).
UO’s new random pot testing policy – which Randy Geller and Rob Mullens pushed through last year – gives the coaches an additional threat. If they fail one test, the AD can kick them off the team and take away their scholarship. Of course the coaches don’t literally need run them off . Instead they can just encourage the players that aren’t bringing in enough money for the AD to “voluntarily” transfer to another school. And under the cartel’s rules the coach’s approval is essential: without it, the player is almost sure to have to sit out a year as a redshirt.