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Myles Brand

I was deeply saddened to hear that Dr. Brand has pancreatic cancer and that the prognosis is not good. While Dr. Brand and I have disagreed vociferously on many issues in college athletics, it purpose, and certainly on the reform effort–let there be no doubt that there is no single person, including Walter Byers, who has had such a profound impact on the Association in making it better and aligning it with its true purpose. Dr. Brand’s passion for the athlete and fairness has made an archaic waiver process better and more athlete friendly, his push for academic reform has brought to the table discussions that were never spoken before, and his continued work with organizations like COIA and the Knight Commission on improving college athletics is commendable and laudable.

While Dr. Brand and I may disagree on the process to reforming college sports, at the end of the day we want the same thing and that is actual college students playing college sports. I do not believe there has ever been a President of the NCAA who wants it more, and who is willing to risk the political points to get it done.

I am not here to write an obituary of a great man who has given his life’s work to higher education and the betterment of it because he is still very much alive. We are all pulling for Myles to beat this and he certainly needs our thoughts and prayers. While he does need time, much more time, to be part of this world, his legacy is secure and his work with the NCAA will never be forgotten. Here’s hoping we have several more years of critical work done on the reform front and continued debate with Myles Brand on the subject, because I am convinced that without him–we would not even be having the discussion.

God Bless and Good Luck Myles–The Ohio University Community and so many others are pulling for you!!!

Dave Ridpath

January 19, 2009 Posted by | NCAA, Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

An NCAA Homecoming

As the former diversity and inclusion intern at the NCAA, I knew sharing the 2009 NCAA Convention with my colleagues as a professional development trip opportunity would help strengthen their network and define their direction in the industry, especially as we search for summer internships. For me, being able to experience Convention as a delegate rather than a staff member was an interesting twist to my young professional career.

Due to our MBA class schedule and responsibilities, our first day at Convention was Thursday. After attending NCAA educational sessions, checking out the vendors at the Trade Show, listening to the State of the Association speech, watching Billie Jean King receive the NCAA’s Gerald R. Ford award, and attending the Honors and Delegates Celebration at the Newseum, I was already overwhelmed with nostalgia and a sense of homecoming. This time last year I was working with the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in Nashville, Tennessee.

Friday presented another full schedule. The Division I Issues and Legislative Forums, lunch with alumni, and a meet-and-greet reception with various professionals filled our day. I was able to share a unique experience with my colleagues on how Division I legislation is passed or overridden. Most people think that the NCAA has the power to create and implement legislation. False! It’s actually the membership who drives legislative decisions and now I have 9 other graduate students as witnesses.

Anyway, for the fourth consecutive year, Division I was faced with another override vote regarding men’s basketball coaches observing nonscholastic events in April. High profile delegate, Damon Evans (chair of the Division I Leadership Council and University of Georgia athletic director) led the discussion on why Division I delegates should oppose the override. Army athletic director and chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Issues Committee, Kevin Anderson, and Kerry Kenny, outgoing Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, also opposed the override. As a former Patriot League student-athlete, seeing Mr. Anderson and Mr. Kenny be two of the four speakers on the floor persuading the other delegates to oppose the override made me proud. Mr. Anderson’s statement, “We have to send a message, and if we don’t send a message we might as well take the ‘student’ off ‘student-athlete,’ ” reaffirmed why I believe there is magic in intercollegiate athletics.

As a young professional, I have found a common theme in working in intercollegiate athletics: service. If you are in this industry and aren’t in it to serve, you will have a short-lived career. With that mindset, we spent our Saturday morning helping NCAA staff finish up the Division II and III business sessions. We spent the evening touring the monuments and dinner in Georgetown with athletic administrators from my alma mater, American University. The city was buzzing in anticipation of the Presidential Inauguration events. We even saw the dress rehearsal for the actual event at the Lincoln Memorial.

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January 19, 2009 Posted by | Basketball, College Sports Business, NCAA, Ohio University, Sports Administration, Uncategorized, Working in College Sports | | 1 Comment