Yes, Frank Deford is a curmudgeonly, if lovable, old goat, but does anyone actually like the NCAA?
Do we need it for college athletics? For the sports I know something about, football and basketball, the conferences and post-season events don't need the NCAA to exist. (Setting aside current contractual obligations that I assume exist.)
The NCAA certainly doesn't ensure the "amateur" nature of college sports in a way that is fair or sensible. That is the only ministerial function that would need to be developed if the NCAA ceased to exist tomorrow, as far as I am concerned.