Commentary: Tom's take

Commentary: Tom's take »Play Video
In this Jan. 28, 2012, file photo, Rutgers coach Mike Rice waves as he holds a ball presented to him for his 100th career win. (AP Photo/Mel Evans,file)

The Mike Rice, Jr. scandal that bubbled to the surface this week at Rutgers University should serve as a reminder to all of us that coaches are human too, despite the fact that many place these leaders of young men and women on a pedestal.

Even with practices being 'generally open', according to the university report on the case, Rice, Jr. was able to coach in a manner that is universally viewed as despicable.

That brings us to the matter of closing practices to fans and the media, and in particular, at the University of Oregon for football.

Chip Kelly began closing practices during the 2011 fall camp, and by that time had entrenched himself as the most powerful figure in the UO athletic department, putting him in near 'untouchable' status as long as the wins kept coming, student athletes kept their grades up, and the NCAA stayed away.

New head coach Mark Helfrich is continuing the closed practice policy, but the incidents at Rutgers should serve as notice that it is time for the NCAA and/or the individual conferences to require coaches to open practices to the media.

If not the NCAA and individual conferences, then it is up to the university presidents.  Those same presidents who have collectively bemoaned the power of athletic departments and the college 'arms race', have the power to affect this change.

The question is, will they?