D'Antoni leery of changes by NCAA
HUNTINGTON -- Dan D'Antoni understands why the biggest schools want more for their student-athletes, but the Marshall University men's basketball head coach doesn't completely agree with the changes.
The NCAA Board of Directors voted Thursday to approve a new governance structure that allows five power football conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) to make their own rules for such things as recruiting and health insurance. The 65 schools in those conferences won't be paying student-athletes to play, but could begin adding money to scholarships or developing a stipend to cover costs beyond tuition, room and board, books and supplies.
D'Antoni urged proceeding with caution.
"Sometimes you have to be careful. thinking you're being really nice, and then you destroy something that's been really good," he said during an afternoon media session in Cam Henderson Center.
"Be careful. You can overdo it and destroy a system that's been pretty good. On the flip part, by doing some things that are good you'll force mid-majors like us to do it too which would be good for the kids."
D'Antoni related a story from his days as a Marshall student-athlete in the late 1960s when different rules might have been helpful.
The Thundering Herd went to the National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden and his father, Lewis D'Antoni, couldn't afford the trip. D'Antoni's father was a high school basketball coach and teacher in southern West Virginia he said was making about $3,800 a year way back when which was more than some people had, but less than some others.
A fundraiser was held to get Lewis D'Antoni to New York.
"I do think there are some areas where you can relax the rules that would help some kids in different ways," D'Antoni said.
D'Antoni said he doesn't like the thought of athletes playing to be paid. Athletes should play because they're college students getting an education and not pros yet, he said.
"I would say just take an overall look at everything you can provide without destroying the amateurism," D'Antoni said.
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