Mountain West denies NCAA criticism in statement

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Colorado State president Dr. Anthony Frank, chair of the Mountain West Board of Directors, released a joint statement Tuesday night to clarify their stance on the current NCAA leadership.

The statement comes less than a week after CBSSports.com learned of an internal memo circulating around the league. The memo, directed at Fresno State president John Welty -- a former member of NCAA leadership, was critical of the Mark Emmert and the NCAA. In their joint statement Tuesday, the league presidents addressed reports of that criticism.

"This is a challenging era for governance within intercollegiate athletics and Dr. Mark Emmert's leadership during these times is greatly appreciated," the statement read. "He has initiated much needed reforms in the areas of academic enhancement, student-athlete well-being and athletic certification.

"As a conference, the Mountain West is committed to working within established governance channels. If we ever arrive at a situation where we have concerns with the NCAA, we will express them via appropriate channels within the formal NCAA governance structure. No such concern has been expressed by our conference."

Portions of the memo in question were obtained by CBSSports.com from a source who did not want to be identified. The email reportedly included attacks on the decision making of NCAA leadership as well as critical statements regarding the compensation at the top level.

"The salaries for the NCAA leadership are excessive and an embarrassment to the Mountain West schools," the memo read. "Their decision making is cumbersome and oblique."

Publicly, only Miami president Donna Shalala has spoken out against the NCAA during the recent missteps of the Hurricanes' investigation. Mark Emmert and the rest of the leadership have been criticized by the media for their decisions in both the Miami investigation and the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State. But at this point the school presidents continue to stand behind Emmert, at least publicly.

In unrelated Mountain West news, the league recently wrote the NCAA to ask for the new uniform policy -- which would prohibit Boise State from wearing their all-blue uniform combination on their home turf -- to be overturned.

For more college football news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCFB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, college football newsletter, and get the Eye On College Football Podcast from iTunes. You can follow Chip Patterson on Twitter here: @Chip_Patterson.

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