The NCAA presidential retreat this coming week demonstrates, to a large degree, why the NCAA Bylaws are so Byzantine and complex. Look at who is responsible for making them, and look at who is being asked for their input -- college presidents. Why? From the NCAA website:
Sitting university presidents, not athletics directors and coaches, ultimately run the NCAA through its governing system.
College presidents are important, but it doesn't take a doctoral degree to understand that having academics make rules for athletics is a recipe for disaster. I am not necessarily questioning the motives of the college presidents here (although I do think that those motives surely can be questioned), but rather I am suggesting that they are the wrong ones to be making the rules, at least in the absence of meaningful input from athletics departments.
Academics is always in conflict with athletics, starting in high school, continuing through college and reaching adulthood. Jocks get the girls, smart kids get ridiculed and socially ostracized. It is credulous to think that the hurts of youth suddenly disappear at adulthood, regardless of the person's intellect or academic achievement.
Filtered through the lens of the typical academic experience with athletics from youth to adulthood, it is easy to see why the NCAA rules seem tougher on athletes than the rules for the general student population, both academically and otherwise.
If the NCAA really wants to change for the better, they need to change the people making the rules. Instead of mainly college presidents, people with some skin in the game, like athletics directors and coaches, should be major participants in rule-making. Sure, these people have input now, but only filtered through university presidents.
So when you think about the NCAA and how crazy some of the rules are, just take a look at who's making them. Hat tip: @JayBilas.