Robert Gates on org charts at NCAA and Pentagon: They are ‘incomprehensible’

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How so?

I strongly believe that we need to come up with really significant, meaningful changes. I’ve said from the start that I don’t want any part of a process to tinker with the margins. I would hope that when we bring something up, there will be observers who say, “Wow, I didn’t think they could do that.” We will see.

I don’t want to be associated with anything that will be seen as producing a mouse.

Many fans don’t know that the NCAA has a constitution. They also don’t know about your commission, nor do they really care. How can your committee influence the perception of the association?

Only in the long run. You get a bad reputation over a long period of time, and you can’t turn it around overnight. And I think the key will be, if you want to start a revival in perceptions, it starts with the product that we produce and if we get it approved by the association in January. And over time, people begin to see constructive change. And first, they start to hear fewer complaints from association members, and then you manage to avoid some of the much publicized cases where people think the NCAA screwed up. And maybe, over time, you’ll also begin to show enough progress or forward momentum that you can convince state legislators and even members of Congress that we’re on the right track.

There are some who think that this is essentially an attempt to appease the state houses and the courts.

Well, my experience over a long period of time is that appeasing lawmakers is a very challenging task. At least from my point of view this is not about politics; it’s about how you solve the damn organization.

Do you understand people’s skepticism in college sports?

Especially considering the history of the association. The only way we can show that this endeavor has been different is by actually producing something of real significance.

I’ve heard you talk about the need for a more agile, fast, responsive NCAA

One of my rules is that the words “nimble” and “NCAA” have never appeared in the same sentence before.

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