The Grand Canyon Antelopes have entered the Division I ranks with no shortage of controversy. There was the overarching debate of a for-profit institution's participation in the NCAA, as well as the firing of successful coach Russ Pennell for Jerry Colangelo's buddy "Thunder" Dan Majerle. Clearly, Thunder Dan is just a lucky guy:
Last year the Pac 12 decided not to play the 'Lopes as a conference and basically thought there was no place for for-profits in intercollegiate athletics. Arizona State President Michael Crow even went as far to say:
Why Was Russ Pennell Replaced By Dan Majerle?
There is a lot of talk about Grand Canyon University, a for-profit school, joining the Division I ranks. The controversy being missed though is why did Dan Majerle replace Russ Pennell as the Antelopes head coach?
A university using intercollegiate athletics to drive up its stock value -- that's not what we're about. If someone asked me, should we play the Pepsi-Cola Company in basketball? The answer is no. We shouldn't be playing for-profit corporations.
This week the NCAA Executive Committee brought the subject of for-profits to the table and came up with the following recommendation for their participation:
The approved recommendations provide a for-profit member classification that permits them to participate in championship events and receive financial distributions through their conferences. However, for-profit members will not be permitted to directly participate in the NCAA’s governance process, neither as voting members at the NCAA Convention nor as institutional representatives on committees. Their staff members will, however, be allowed to participate on committees as representatives of their conferences.
The Executive Committee also directed the NCAA’s three divisions to immediately consider adopting legislation that addresses those recommendations.
As of right now Grand Canyon is the only for-profit Division I institution but there is Post University, Academy of Art, and Salem International University in Division II, and Daniel Webster College in Division III.
It seems like the 'Lopes are safe, for now, but it will be interesting to see if any other for-profit institutions jump into the fray now.