Benner: New Corruption Allegations Could do More Damage to NCAA

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Inside INdiana Sports Contributor Bill Benner believes a Yahoo! Sports report that alleges large-scale corruption at more than 20 NCAA member schools involving improper payments to recruits through a well-known agent might not be the end of the story. However, he believes a sad day could turn into "a glad day" in the long-run, if the process brings systematic changes. The organization, which has more than 1,100 member schools, is headquartered in Indianapolis. The city also has hosted or will host the NCAA's biggest events.

Benner tells Inside INdiana Business Multimedia Journalist Mary-Rachel Redman any threat to the integrity of the NCAA could have big consequences. "Any time that you undermine the integrity of intercollegiate athletics -- it's a sport that is supported by the public, it's supported by donors -- and if they begin to turn their backs and say 'that's it, I'm washing my hands, I've had enough,' then I think it poses a real threat. Especially with the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament," which he says is the highest-grossing event for the NCAA.

NCAA President Mark Emmert issued a statement responding to the Yahoo! Sports story, which reads:

These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York's indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it's clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.

The NCAA includes three divisions, 24 sports and sponsors 90 championships.

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