Earlier this month, comments made by Arizona State president Michael Crow stirred a national debate regarding the eligibility, and inclusion, of for-profit schools in NCAA Division I athletics.
“We are against using athletics as a mechanism to make profits,” Crow said on behalf of ASU. “It’s contrary to what we’re trying to do.”
The statements dealt directly with Grand Canyon University’s upcoming inaugural year in the NCAA’s top athletic division, officially accepting an invitation to the Western Athletic Conference last fall, sparking Crow and ASU to petition PAC-12 president Larry Scott to protest the move.
Crow’s comments have mostly drawn criticism, even earning him ‘hypocrite’ status from one ESPN analyst, and Sporting News college basketball columnist Mike Decourcy, a guest with Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Thursday morning, minced no words in his feelings on the ASU president’s remarks.
“I was bowled over when I read that and I can’t believe that he said it,” Decourcy said.
“I think that the ASU president’s comments were unbelievably disgraceful and I certainly hope that nothing comes of it beyond that. I don’t think that it will. The NCAA has already allowed them membership and I think it’s pretty hard to kick somebody out after that.”
When college basketball tips off in the fall, GCU is slated to become the first for-profit school to compete in Division I, playing in the WAC. The school’s 2013-14 athletic schedules have already been released.
Crow and ASU were explicit in their opposition to the exploitation of athletics for profitable gain, believing for-profit GCU has no place in the division.
But to Decourcy, the dispersion and allocation of tuition funds should have no bearing on a school’s athletic eligibility.
“If you pay your whatever it is — let’s say $10,000 — to go to Grand Canyon and they’re educating you in the way that you should be educated, then what difference does it make where the money goes beyond that?”
GCU’s spending, Decourcy says, is none of Crow’s business.
“To try to tell other people how to run their deal, you know, who does he think he is?”
GCU’s conversion to for-profit status came in 2004, after the formerly private Christian university was ensnared with debt and close to having to shut its doors.
It currently boasts enrollment near 45,000 students, with approximately 9,000 living on campus, which is located just west of downtown Phoenix.
“Frankly, Grand Canyon looks like any other institution other than how they dispose of the money they bring in.”