The NCAA announced today, on the back of its incredibly successful and widely-liked handling of athletics amateurism issues, that it will expand its domain of influence to include academic competition between schools. This includes mathletics, mock debate clubs, chess, checkers, backgammon, and other "mental sports". Also, and more importantly, a small subsection of the addendum includes "competitions involving academic funding through grants, whether from government or industry." Mark Emmert, NCAA President, stated in his announcement that the inclusion of these activities under his purview is the single greatest step towards the advancement of our nation's academic institutions, and that "the students of the universities are our primary concern, and will receive the majority of the benefit of our new direction in academic competition."
President Emmert also announced the new organization's first action in its new capacity will be to immediately suspend all academic operations at nearly all universities in the country for a full year, a punishment rarely used by the NCAA except in extreme cases and commonly known as "the death penalty". It is the first time that the penalty will be imposed on a major program since its use in 1987 on Southern Methodist University's football program.
"What is happening in college academics today is that the idea of amateurism in scholastic pursuits has been completely discarded," pointed out Emmert. "We have documented innumerable cases of students receiving illegal benefits in the form of travel, food, and even salaries for summer jobs from their future potential employers. All of this activity is condoned and even encouraged by the culture of the guilty universities, whose names may be found in the new library we are building in Indianapolis to house the violation reports. These violations of amateurism are so ingrained that our reports document many universities that have established 'Career Centers' and 'Career Fairs', where agents of professional organizations are invited on campus to encourage these types of illegal benefits."
The full actions taken against the offending schools, after the single-year moratorium on academics, are numerous and will include:
- A four-year limit of 25 scholarships per year permitted to be awarded by any school to prospective student-academics. After the four years, the number of scholarships permitted will be raised to 30.
- Reduction in the number of hours permitted for studying. 8 hours per week for four years.
- Vacation of all existing patents and copyrights.
- A single-year ban on all television, radio, and online exposure of universities' academics.
- A ban on being listed in world academic rankings for two years.
- Suspension of all students discovered to have had illegal contact with human resources agents for two years.
- Permanent abolition of all business schools excepting those that specialize in theory.
- Reduction of permitted number of on campus libraries to one.
- Reduction of maximum number of independent pages per school website.
- Show-cause penalties imposed on all faculty and administrators implicated in the NCAA's report. Any university hiring any member of the faculty or administration of the offending schools must demonstrate reasonable cause for hiring that individual, or the new university must assume all current sanctions imposed on that individual's previous university.
Emmert explained that a very small group of universities will receive no punishment, and their examples should be lauded.
"What we have found is that, despite the sad state of college academics in general, there do exist some examples of universities that do everything in their power to avoid the stain of professionalism upon their students. For this reason, we have decided to send letters of lauding congratulations to the presidents of all liberal arts colleges and art institutes."
In order to minimize the impact on the students not found to have engaged in illegal activity, the NCAA will allow all those affected by the sanctions to transfer to unaffected schools without waiting out the newly-required one year interim period between participation at different universities.
"Our goal here is not to harm the students in any way," said Emmert. "We are protecting the sanctity of their academic pursuits with these actions, but we understand how a small number of them may be negatively affected by the move. We regret that there does not exist even one school carrying a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics major which has not been found to have grossly violated the bounds of amateurism. Some students may consider switching their major to something related to their previous pursuit. Engineering students will find that their failed designs make delightful modern art sculptures."
The new structure of the organization will also bring a new name: The Organization for the Participation in Events Collegiate, or OPEC. Emmert was adamant that the acronym should be spelled out, and not pronounced as a single word.