Increased academic importance alters this win-at-all-costs mind-set. One quick trip to the tournament would be outweighed by the prospect of a multiyear postseason ban. Coaches, too, would not outrun their record of past academic failings. No longer would John Calipari flee from academic problems at one school in time to head a likely national championship contender the following spring. Recruiting violations follow coaches from job to job. Why shouldn't academic infractions?
The NCAA is at a critical juncture. It can opt out of the final portion of its contract with CBS and ignite a very lucrative bidding war among the networks and ESPN. It may also try to make more money by expanding the tournament to 96 teams. But the organization has some important decisions to make about academics. Either start taking into account classroom success—and stop rewarding failure factories masquerading as basketball teams—or stop pretending that the NCAA wants its athletes to also be students.
Read why the NCAA should be honest about the student athlete set-up, by Marc Isenberg, author of Money Players.