The Indianapolis Star is reporting that NCAA President Myles Brand was paid $895,000 in salary, benefits and expenses last year. What for?
University of Hartford president Walter Harrison, whose term as head of the NCAA's executive committee ended in April, said Brand is doing a "spectacular job."So, the parts of his job that nobody knows about, he handles with enough aplomb to merit 4% and 3% raises in the last two years. Cool. No problems there.
"The job is incredibly challenging in a way most people wouldn't recognize," Harrison said. "Most people think of the major headlines -- congressional inquiries, overseeing academic reform, the controversies of the day. But there are lots of other things, like how one keeps the peace among numerous constituencies. And, he's running a $500 million organization."
The problem is, the part of his job that people do see --- they tend to think he sucks at it. Congress is breathing down the NCAA's neck as it considers eliminating its tax-exempt status. There's a pending class-action lawsuit filed on the behalf of former and current athletes who are seeking greater compensation. In the college football world, the NCAA's weak investigation and enforcement powers, silly and inflexible rules and tone-deaf handling of something so basic like the clock rules have people furious with NCAA leadership. There's also that little supplement issue where schools are afraid to give their athletes peanut butter for fear of breaking the rules.
And then there's the kicker, Brand's stated position of having the NCAA's mission overlap with "social advocacy". Last I checked, social causes weren't really part of the organization's fundamental mission.
In fact, it looks like a perverse overreach and has eroded public trust in the organization. Save the advocacy for groups professionally committed to those tasks who have the expertise and clarity of mission to pursue such causes. The NCAA has other fish to fry and frankly I'm not sure it has done a superb job at handling some of its more pertinent, basic, fundamental issues.
I don't find fault with Brand drawing such an impressive salary. I'm a capitalist - I say more power to him and may he find ways to make much more money through whatever legal avenues he can. But I am curious and deeply skeptical as to whether he's earned it and whether both Brand and the NCAA can do better for what he is being paid.
(H/T: The Wiz)