Presidents and chancellors of NCAA-member institutions expressed deep concern yesterday about financial abuses and "the current state of integrity in intercollegiate athletics."
Concurrently, they announced proposals in both areas that they plan to introduce at a special NCAA convention in June.
John W. Ryan, chairman of the NCAA Presidents' Commission and president of Indiana University, told a news conference here yesterday that the group would urge NCAA guidelines requiring tighter control on athletic department budgets by college heads, stricter NCAA enforcement procedures and tougher rules against coaches involved in rules' infractions.
The recommendations by the Presidents' Commission are based on the results of a survey of top college officials across the country.
The commission, a 44-person group formed 15 months ago, voiced its alarm coincidentally against a backdrop of major scandal in the basketball program at Tulane University.
Also, coincidentally, the special NCAA convention in June will be in New Orleans, where Tulane is located.
Ryan called on college presidents to turn out in large numbers for the June convention to demonstrate their support of the commission's proposals.
The proposals include:
* Requiring that athletics budgets be controlled by the institutions and be subject to normal budgeting procedures, and that they be approved by the institutions' chief executive officers;
* Requiring an annual audit of all expenditures for athletics programs, to be conducted by an auditor from outside an institution;
* Revising the NCAA's enforcement procedure to spell out "major" and "secondary" rules violations, and to establish specific penalties for violations;
* Carrying over restrictions on coaches who violate rules and then leave one institution for another.
In addition, the commission is expected to sponsor resolutions calling for penalties against athletes knowingly involved in NCAA rules violations, and for a limit on the number of basketball games a school may play in a season.
In what Ryan called apparently "the most comprehensive and definitive national survey of presidential views regarding athletics ever taken," 99 percent of the college heads "are concerned about integrity problems in athletics." Eighty percent noted concern over income-generating demands of major sports, 75 percent feared illegal inducements to prospective athletics, 71 percent feared rules violations by alumni and boosters and 62 percent cited athletes' academic work as a serious problem. Another concern was violations by coaches. Sixty percent of the 791 NCAA college heads responded to the survey.
"College presidents and chancellors are greatly concerned by the integrity crisis, by the apparent lack of sufficient institution control of athletic programs and by the effect of these problems on higher education," Ryan said.
Ryan said the proposals were "just a beginning," and that the updating and enforcement of rules had to be "vigorous."
In answer to questions, Ryan said he was not familiar with the specifics of the Tulane case but that the school's "reaction," which includes plans to drop basketball, is "an attempt by a great university to deal with its problems."
In reply to another question, Ryan said he personally disapproved of "paying" college athletes. Asked if some athletic teams weren't "semipro franchises," he answered, "I don't think you're right, but if you are it's high time we get back to amateurism."
Ryan commended the NCAA enforcement body, but said the staff needed to be enlarged.