Firstly let me state on the record that i do not reside in the US or even North America. I live in Australia, but i have been a hoops fan since i saw the 89-90s Blazers team on TV, and fell in love with the purity and excitement of the Blazers team of that era.
Over the past decade of so i have devoted increasing amounts of time reading and absorbing information about the NCAA and international games, partly because i wanted to get a handle on possible Blazers draftees, and partly because the internet allowed me to have great scope and clarity on this subject, where previously we had little exposure this side of the Pacific.
The past few years and especially the past 2 years the amount of dis-satisfaction with the state of the NCAA has increased exponentially. I have a few laymans suggestions, i don't claim to have local knowledge on par with US citizens, but possibly i can extend opinions from outside the box if you understand my meaning.
1) From quick Google research there is currently 388 or more Division 1 qualifying programs. I believe this should be abolished into an EPL (English Premier League) style of Divisions, where programs can be promoted or relegated based on performance. Possibly Division 1 would have somewhere between 100 and 150 teams to fight for 64 or 68 Tournament slots. It would also eliminate archaic meetings for the "on the bubble" teams as SOS would be less of a factor if the enitre D1 is stronger in terms of competition.
2) Probably impossible, but i believe "Conferences" should be abolished and the 100 to 150 programs should be divided into 10 or so groupings based on location. This would increase and maintain rivalries, less travel and increased patronage since long distance conference games would be considerably less. I for one am disappointed to see some of the classic Big East rivalries diminished this season.
3) Pay scholarship students the equivalent of the minimum wage guaranteed for duration of study or forfeit if student leaves for pro athletics. This would have a 2 fold effect, it would make institutions more invested in scholarship athletes, and it would guarantee that even athletes that are unlikely to make the pro ranks are taken care of and have income to sustain them while earning a degree. Many D1, D2 etc athletes devote their entire youth to sports so i guess this can be construed as a reward. Considering there are 400 to 450 NBA players per season, and possibly 50 open roster slots, and 388 x 12 = 4656 students per season.
4) NBA age should be either abolished or raised to 21. However potential NBA athletes should have the basic requirement of a high school diploma or wait until their class graduates before being available for draft or free agency. However this being an NCAA discussion it would suit the collegiate system to have a NBA minimum age of 21, this would ensure student athletes would have 2 to 3 years for development on campus and also promote respective institutions. One and done will never work long term as it is a short term band aid solution to a problem that needs to be addressed urgently. And since i propose student athletes get paid, then a higher percentage of athletes will stay in the NCAA system longer, and give the NBA a more mature and developed incoming player base.
5) NCAA/NBADL affiliation. A relationship needs to be developed, im not sure how it is in North America, but in this part of the world on completing tertiary study, assistance is given to students to gain employment. The NBADL is slowly gaining traction as a minor league/farm system for NBA teams, why not consider stonger links between the collegiate game and minor league? i admit it is tricky considering a majority of D League teams are owned singularly by NBA teams, but it is worth considering, especially if the NBA allowed extra roster slots for D League.
Its 3AM and i did have a few more suggestions however this is what i got off the top of my head. Feel free to correct any mistakes or misconceptions i might have, i plead mea culpa, i live on the other side of the world :)