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Q & A with Mark Emmert

Posted on: August 8, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2011 7:36 pm
It seemed like a good time to seek out Mark Emmert. The world has changed a lot even since the NCAA president's state-of-the-association press conference at the Final Four.

On the eve of this week's presidential retreat and a few days before Ohio State's infractions committee hearing -- both in his town -- Emmert talked to me about the issues of the day. You said that this retreat had nothing to do with the current climate. When and why did you come up with it?

Emmert: "I was thinking about this even when I was transitioning into the job. One of my assumptions was, at some point as I came to know the NCAA, I would want to have a broad-based retreat with presidents.

"Then, as all the issues unfolded, and I got to spend more time with presidents commissioners and ADs and coaches it was clear that we have some very significant issues that need to get addressed. It has been months in the planning stage." Has the retreat taken on an added significance because of the current climate of wrongdoing?

Emmert: "Absolutely. The high-profile cases that we've had have been these huge exclamation points about a number of the issues that we have especially around integrity problems." What did you think about SEC commissioner Mike Slive's comment last month -- "Intercollegiate athletics has lost the benefit of the doubt"?

Emmert: "I've said that a number of times myself. I think it's true. It's true of most big institutions these days. It's hard to say that Congress has much of the benefit of the doubt. I daresay even parts of the media.

"We're in a moment in time where there is lots of skepticism. With these big cases that have been out there and the publicity that has surrounded them, there is a lot of reason the public and our fans and members of the higher education community have serious concerns. I'm among them." What is significant about Slive and the rest of the commissioners making specific reform recommendations. Could you, for example, suggest a rise in the minimum GPA from 2.0 to 2.5?

Emmert: "Many of the issues that Mike and others have described have been works in progress for some time. Going from 2.0 to 2.5 is an active proposal that is coming out of the committee on academic performance ...

"I was delighted that Mike and [Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany] and all those putting proposals out there are doing so. It's a different day when commissioners are almost in competition to see who can come up with the best reform package." I just wonder if there is something else at work here?

Emmert: "I've been meeting with them as a group of 31 commissioners. Many of them individually. I've been to many of their presidential meetings. Everywhere I've gone the refrain is pretty much the same. We have some significant challenges that need to be addressed." Ohio State president Gordon Gee said recently, that presidents go to these meetings and say all the right things. But as soon as they come back on campus there is tremendous pressure from their boards of directors or trustees to produce winning teams. How much leverage do presidents have since the change has to come from them?

Emmert: "The presidents at the end of the day are the ones who are responsible for all of our athletic programs ... They are the NCAA. They're the ones who have to make those calls.

"There always has been, for a century, this struggle to find the right balance between the academic component of sports, the athletic component and the entertainment component. At different points of time different elements of that equation have had greater sway. It varies by institution.

"Every school has to find that right balance. We as an association have to find it in total." What is your stance on cost of attendance. In general everyone is for it, but you have said you have some concerns.

Emmert: "I am adamantly opposed to paying student-athletes to be athletes. There is merit in having discussion about increasing of the support they get to manage their legitimate costs of being a student, much like we would do with a merit scholar.

"As you know, there is presently a gap between what is provided through a full grant-in-aid and the legitimate cost of attendance. I am happy to have a conversation if we want to consider closing that gap, but nothing more than that." Why does the vacating wins work as a deterrent? It seems like it is being used more frequently.

Emmert: "I don't know if I can answer what works as a deterrent and what doesn't. When you have someone win a competition with ineligible players ... it's not fair to the teams who were their opponents. If nothing else, it's a setting of the record straight.

"I hope it acts as a deterrent. People don't like to take banners down." Why not TV bans? (The last was applied in the 1990s)

Emmert: "I don't think it should be off the table. I think it's one of the things that should be under consideration.

"What you have to do is find a way not to penalize other programs. If you can figure out solutions to that it shouldn't be off the table." Should there be any more significance put on the Ohio State case given the climate right now?

Emmert: "I can't speak about any one individual case. All of the high-profile cases right now are getting special scrutiny because they came in such rapid succession." Your predecessor Walter Byers once said, the only real change in the NCAA has to come from the outside. Do you agree with that?

Emmert: "Obviously, I don't. I wouldn't take this job. I can't speak to his comment. The point of this retreat is to demonstrate we can make real change and do it collectively ourselves.

"I don't think that's impossible. In fact, I think we're going to get a lot of good things done." When can we expect something to emerge from this meeting?

Emmert: "It's critical we come out of this meeting with a clear commitment and level of support from the presidents about the issues that are most critical to them and are most critical to advancing intercollegiate athletics.

"Obviously, this group doesn't have any authority other than a group of presidents coming together. But they can state unequivocally what's important and what they think needs to have happen and the speed with which they'd like to see it happen.

"If we're going to move forward, I want us to move forward aggressively." Do you have an opinion on if high school games should be televised?

Emmert: "It's a really interesting issue. First of all, high school games are televised. I suspect the televising of high school games will continue to grow and grow rapidly. What the role is for any of the conference and institutional networks is just a difficult question ...

"In the meanwhile, as you've seen some folks [Big 12] are self imposing their position on it. I'm sure the Division I board of directors and I are going to have a good discussion about it. It may well be a time where we pause and figure it out and move on."


Since: Aug 9, 2011
Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:04 pm

Q & A with Mark Emmert

Of all the people attending this retreat is anyone other than Holden Thorp indivdually and personally responsible for an NCAA violation?

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:34 am

Q & A with Mark Emmert

Hey minor, You have received a "Failure to Monitor" penalty.  check 7-23-11.  NO response needed! haha

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:32 am

Q & A with Mark Emmert

Did not believe that I would get a response from you about The Ohio State University.  I have just given a "Failure to Monitor"  dtd 7-23-11
haha.  I have placed you on suspension for 1 year.  Go Buckeyes!

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:27 am

Q & A with Mark Emmert

Hey minor, no response from the 7-23-11. Go Bucks!

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: August 9, 2011 10:20 am

Q & A with Mark Emmert

Dodd, did you bring up The Ohio State University?  You had a chance to ask some tough questions, but you DODD not.  I always knew you ALWAYS played slo-pitch softball.  I can fix this with one quick sentence"Coach _______, you break the rules you will receive a LIFETIME ban from coaching any college program." 

Since: Jun 8, 2010
Posted on: August 9, 2011 8:43 am

Q & A with Mark Emmert

Do you really want to get everyone's attention, Mr. Emmert?? Do what the NCAA did in the 1980's and use the Death Penalty. There is a trend that you have REPEAT OFFENDERS to all sports programs, and there comes a time where the NCAA has to say enough. SMU got it, and that was the ONLY time it was used. I don't care if it sets an elite program back 10-15 years, what must be done, must be DONE!!!

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: August 8, 2011 9:07 pm

Q & A with Mark Emmert

I wish I could ask the questions.  1.  Are you going to grow a set and give THE Ohio State University the hammer it so rightfully deserves for breaking the current rules, lying about it, covering it up, stonewalling, and tampering with every witness who has ever come forward?  2.  If you aren't going to give cheaters like THE Ohio State University more than a slap on the wrist, why don't you just blow up the rulebook and start over so the schools that AREN'T currently allowing their players to get paid by boosters can be on a level playing field with the cheaters?  

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