Gary Walters is the long-time Princeton AD and former member of the NCAA men's basketball committee, and he's stepping down from his role at the end of the academic year. Before he goes, he's taking the NCAA down with him.
Walters issued a scathing indictment of the NCAA, which he says he's leaving "because I have so little respect for what's being done — self-interest disguised as certain principles. Here's a great example: You're West Virginia, and now you're in the Big 12?"
Walters is disgusted with what he calls a "bait-and-switch" by the NCAA to suggest paying players. That doesn't solve any of the underlying problems that comes with big-time college football programs, it just keeps the working class slightly happier.
Walters expanded to local media.
"I believe the desire to pay student athletes is a bait-and-switch tactic which is taking place now under the name of student-athlete welfare," Walters, a former chair of the NCAA men's basketball committee, told the Asbury Park Press. "But student-athlete welfare wasn't considered at all — not at all — when the conferences expanded beyond regions. …
"So the story in college athletics today for me is not necessarily whether you pay the student-athlete another $2,000. I don't care whether they give them $2,000 or $5,000. I think it disguises the greater problem, which is that these (revenue-generating) programs have basically evolved into pre-professional programs where many of these student-athletes major in eligibility, being directed to what courses they must take in order to be able to compete. For me this has been a terrible and almost sordid corruption of the concept of student-athlete welfare."
"You have these cottage industries built up — academic advisors traveling, student-athletes not engaged with the campus experience. No wonder why everyone is trying to adopt a window-dressing policy, pay student-athletes."
"When you see the NCAA president making $1.7 million, and that all of the (major conference) commissioners, many of whom are friends of mine, are making $2 million, where your treasure lies, so shall your heart beat," Walters said. "Said another way, where you stand on the issues is in large part determined by where you sit."
Instead, Walters says the model should be based upon what already happening in the Ivy League, Patriot League, Division II and Division III.
"Our student-athletes are limited to 12 days of practice in the non-traditional season," Walters said. "I'll tell you right now: Our kids are having a better experience and it's not inhibiting their ability to go pro if they want to."