Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will lead a newly formed college basketball group to “fix a system that clearly is not working,” the head of all college athletics said Wednesday. Rice will be charged with making “substantive changes.”
The announcement came just weeks after the FBI arrested several coaches and administrators as part of a wide-ranging investigation into alleged fraud and other corruption in college athletics, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Mark Emmert said in a statement.
Rice was perhaps a natural choice for the position because of her past as a member of the College Football Playoff selection committee, which was also created by the NCAA.
A total of 10 people who were part of prominent Division I college basketball programs were arrested last month and charged with fraud, including bribery. Each person was charged with “bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes, honest services fraud conspiracy, honest service fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Travel Act conspiracy.” Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino was subsequently fired by the University of Louisville.
Rice will have three main duties while leading the new commission: 1) examining the “relationship of the NCAA national office, member institutions, student-athletes and coaches with outside entities;” 2) reviewing the “NCAA’s relationship with the NBA, and the challenging effect the NBA’s so-called ‘one and done’ rule has had on college basketball, including how the NCAA can change its own eligibility rules to address that dynamic;” and 3) creating “he right relationship between the universities and colleges of the NCAA and its national office to promote transparency and accountability.”
The commission was expected to be in full swing by next month, the NCAA said.
The football group Rice previously a part of was “the best committee I’ve ever served on,” she told ESPN in January. “Everybody was there for a common goal and really working really hard toward it. There weren’t agendas in the room, and I really enjoyed it tremendously.”