GRAND FORKS, ND – Top NCAA executives did not want to participate in a meeting that would have been open to the public; that’s “plain and simple,” according to State Board of Higher Education member Grant Shaft.
Appearing on the Scott Hennen Show yesterday, Shaft was disappointed that the NCAA cancelled its scheduled April 22nd meeting with state and school officials, but was hopeful that another conference could still be arranged.
“I don’t think they were looking for a situation where the meeting would be either covered by the press – or there would be any kind of testimony, or anything like that – and for that reason, they pretty clearly indicated that they weren’t going to come. I’m still hopeful we’ll have the opportunity to speak with the NCAA on this – I haven’t lost hope -it’s just that particular meeting on the 22nd fell through” Shaft said.
Although an open-door forum has been widely favored by the public (and some North Dakota legislators, including Governor Dalrymple) Shaft understood the uncomfortable position this would have presented the NCAA. In his experience, negotiations are best played out under the discretion of a “closed private setting”:
“You have to remember is there’s essentially two hats here: one is providing an opportunity for people to be a part of it, and vent themselves, or whatever they wanted to do – but the other part was for those of us who truly wanted to see if we could get a deal struck with them to retain the nickname and logo” Shaft said.
Shaft anticipates state and school officials will respond to the NCAA retraction after the current legislative session adjourns.