The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on comments by Tulane University President Scott Cowen regarding the need for collegiate athletic reform. Cowen recently served as an adviser on an Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges-issued report calling for enhanced board oversight of college athletics.
“The Knight Commission did a survey of university presidents and one of the most stunning results of that survey was that university presidents felt like they were not in a position to make significant change in intercollegiate athletics at their own institutions and they felt that there had to be change but they did not feel they had the power to do it,” Cowen told the Times-Picayune in a phone interview last week when the report was distributed.
“That’s a very sad state of affairs so I think what many presidents believe in their heart is in some institutions that athletics is the tail wagging the dog but they feel powerless to change it in their organization for fear of what would happen to them personally if they tried to do that.”
The report emphasized three main principles to Division I universities -– that they embrace accountability for athletic policy and its oversight as well as fiduciary responsibility, that the boards should act decisively to maintain the integrity of athletic programs and verify those programs align with academic principles of the universities and that university boards understand their role in policy-making and enforcement.