As the NCAA faces the greatest existential peril in its history and scrambles for fundamental reforms by next summer, its power brokers are floating a radical solution for saving college sports: expanding professional sports.
NCAA president Mark Emmert recently raised the idea of allowing athletes to go pro straight out of high school instead of effectively forcing them to attend college. NFL rules currently require football players to wait three years after graduating high school, and the NBA restricts draft eligibility to those who are 19 and one year removed from high school.
Last week, Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany echoed Emmert: "Why is it our job to be minor leagues for professional sports?" he said.
Other commissioners of major conferences offered their support in interviews this week with The Wall Street Journal. Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he was "in complete agreement" with those statements. "I don't think it makes any sense to force kids to go to college who don't want an education," he said.