Cedric Richmond Pens Letter to NCAA and Condoleezza Rice
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), led by Chairman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), sent a letter to the NCAA urging the organization to consider reforming its operating model since its current “state of play...may fail to properly serve a large component of the NCAA’s student-athletes.” This follows Richmond’s launch last month of the CBC NCAA Task Force and a staff-level meeting during the same month between the CBC and the NCAA. The NCAA earned over $857 million from its television deal for this season's March Madness tournament. When sports economists compare these numbers to the value of scholarships that athletes receive, they see a trigger for the corruption scandal enveloping the game. Last September, federal prosecutors leveled the first charges stemming from an investigation into fraud and bribery inside numerous programs across the nation. In the coming weeks, the CBC will bring experts to Capitol Hill to further explore a number of issues addressed in the letter, including whether student-athletes are truly given an opportunity to get an education, whether the NCAA is a monopoly, and whether student-athletes should benefit from a portion of the revenue they help generate. “The NCAA’s operating model has become a liability for the organization, its student-athletes, coaches, member institutions, alumni, and other important stakeholders. The model has invited serious litigation, under-the-table payments, questionable recruiting practices, and now a criminal probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our initial research has uncovered a number of items that we want to discuss with you. There are numerous issues that need further exploration by policymakers and by the public at large,” Richmond wrote. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Chair of the Commission on College Basketball, and Bill Hancock, the Executive Director of the College Football Playoff, were copied on the letter. Read the full letter here.