At Pac-12 Media Day, Commissioner Larry Scott chimed in on the brewing student-athlete-as-employee debate, saying that neither the status quo nor the employee model are ideal for the NCAA.
"What's at stake is much more than student-athletes being employees," Scott said in his welcoming remarks. "You can't design a system around the two percent" of Pac-12 football players who make the NFL.
Scott said treating student-athletes as employees would be detrimental to women's sports and Olympic sports. The Pac-12 sponsors 22 sports, and 36 varsity sports are played among Pac-12 schools.
He also emphasized his support for improved academic, financial and medical care of student-athletes across the board, standing behind a call for reform by presidents and chancellors of Pac-12 schools to offer scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance, give student-athletes ample time to finish their degrees and decrease the time demands placed on student-athletes. Scott mentioned that the Pac-12 has committed $3.5 million per year over the next three years to a Pac-12 Student-Athlete Research Program that will include a Head Trauma Task Force to focus on medical concerns such as concussions.
[Related video: Larry Scott's opening remarks at Pac-12 Football Media Day]
"It's time to make some significant changes," Scott said. "We are at the precipice of making some very important changes in college sports."
Scott's perspective on the issue is one that is rarely heard in the polarized environment that has characterized the play for pay controversy, and that in itself is refreshing. However, there is a wide gap between "significant" and "important", and the changes he suggests (improved support, scholarships, accommodations, and medical treatment for concussions) are certainly important, it remains to be seen just how significant they are.
Meanwhile, Cal's Jared Goff and Stefan McClure have a lighter take on serious matters.
- NCAA Interim Enforcement Chief Jonathan Duncan fires back at Big-12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, saying that the NCAA eventually gets the job done, even if violators initially slip through the cracks.
"We don't pretend to be able to catch every violation in any given year," Duncan told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "So the next question is, do we have a handle on it, and the answer is yes, I think we do. The people who violate the rules will be found out, and we will report them back to the committee on infractions."
Duncan took over the enforcement division on an interim basis in March 2013 when the department was embroiled in its own embarrassing scandal. An internal investigation found the NCAA improperly collected evidence against the University of Miami, which led to the ouster of Julie Roe Lach.
Duncan took over a department that was losing experienced investigators and saw morale wane as it came under intense public criticism -- criticism that hasn't diminished and has lately included leaders such as Bowlsby, a former athletic director at Iowa and Stanford.
Bowlsby put NCAA enforcement back in the spotlight Monday when he suggested the lack of high-profile cases over the past year is indicative of problems within the current system.
- Marshawn Lynch shows off his beastmode on wheels, but don't touch.
- Brandon Hagy, Joel Stalter, and Michael Weaver named All-America Scholars by Cleveland Golf/Srixon.
Women's Water Polo
- Cal sophomore Dora Antal leads Hungary over Russia with three goals in the 2014 European Championships. The win sets up a matchup with Spain and fellow Golden Bear sophomore Roser Tarrago, who leads the tournament with 14 goals (Antal is tied for fifth with 8).
- Cal Golden Bears Jolene Henderson and Valerie Arioto lead Team USA to silver in the Canadian Open Fastpitch International Championship.
- Three Golden Bears (Kendal Chase, Lindsay Meltz and Agatha Nowinski), lead the USA U-23 National Team at the World Rowing U-23 Championships at Varese, Italy.
- Eight more Golden Bears will compete on the men's side of the 2014 World Rowing U-23 Championships at Varese, Italy. Spencer Hall, Justin Murphy, Cole Reiser and Jordan Vanderstoep row for the United States. Louis Snelson and Aaron Wright for Australia, Morgan Hellen for Great Britain, and Niki Van Sprang for the Netherlands.
- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald guarantees a win against the California Golden Bears.
Fitzgerald also alluded to some hard feelings resulting from last season's 44-30 victory at Cal. Bears coach Sonny Dykes accused the Wildcats of faking injuries to slow down Cal's no-huddle offense, confronting Fitzgerald during the post-game handshake.
"The way it went last year," Fitzgerald told the NU fans, "I look forward to shaking that coach's hand after we beat ‘em."
No word on what methods he will employ this time around to secure that guarantee.
- Maddux Sports previews the Golden Bears 2014 season.
- First wedding ever held at California Memorial Stadium. GO BEARS!
- Real Madrid sets roster ahead of the International Champions Cup, with its first game this Saturday at 3 p.m. against fellow European giant Internazionale at California Memorial Stadium. No Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez, but we will see Gareth Bale and Xabi Alonso.
Goalkeepers: Diego López, Jesús and Pacheco.
Defenders: Pepe, Carvajal, Coentrão, Arbeloa, Nacho, D. Llorente and Derik.
Midfielders: Bale, Xabi Alonso, Isco, Illarra, M. Llorente, Medrán, Lucas and Mascarell.
Forwards: Sobrino and De Tomás.