Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith will serve on the Commission on College Basketball, which will be charged with examining “a system that clearly is not working,” according to the NCAA website.
The commission will be chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and was announced by NCAA president Mark Emmert on Wednesday. It is comprised of “leaders from higher education, college sports, government and the business world, as well as accomplished former student-athletes.”
The Commission on College Basketball will be chaired by Dr. Condoleezza Rice. pic.twitter.com/BUpUyKgdjb
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) October 11, 2017
The commission was formed in response to an FBI investigation into corruption and fraud in college basketball recruiting, which led to the arrests of 10 individuals, including four college basketball assistant coaches and an adidas executive.
The findings also alleged that Louisville’s basketball program arranged for at least one recruit to receive payment from adidas in return for a commitment to the school. As a result, Louisville coach Rick Pitino has been “effectively fired” and athletics director Tom Jurich placed on administrative leave.
Emmert’s statement said the FBI investigation “made it very clear the NCAA needs to make substantive changes to the way we operate, and do so quickly.”
“We must take decisive action,” Emmert wrote. “This is not a time for half-measures or incremental change.”
Emmert’s announcement said the commission will focus on three distinct areas of reform:
- The commission will examine the relationships between the NCAA and individual schools with outside entities. Those outside entities include apparel companies, “nonscholastic basketball” (better known as AAU leagues), and agents/advisors.
- It will work with the NBA to revisit the “one-and-done” rule, which stipulates that players cannot be drafted by the NBA following their senior year of high school.
- The commission will also evaluate the NCAA’s current method of enforcement and eligibility processes “to promote transparency and accountability.”
Smith is a nationally respected administrator who in 2016 won the James J. Corbett Memorial Award, an honor given to collegiate athletic administrators. By all accounts he has overseen a clean basketball program at Ohio State, though that could mostly be attributed to former coach Thad Matta.
As far as experience when it comes to NCAA commissions, Smith currently serves on the College Football Playoff committee and previously was chair of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee.