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Tag:Mark Emmert
Posted on: September 16, 2011 4:16 pm
 

Miami-Ohio St looking for a game, not headlines

Posted by Bryan Fischer

MIAMI -- Is Oklahoma going to the Pac-12? Did you see LSU's defense Thursday night? The NCAA reinstated someone from Boise State!

The world of college football this year seems to be about everything but the games six days a week. Saturday, of course, things stop. There's tailgates and touchdowns, quarterbacks and queso, defensive backs and racks full of ribs.

Likewise, much to Mark Emmert, Donna Shalla and E. Gordon Gee's chagrin, Saturday's primetime match up between Miami and Ohio State has seemingly been about everything but what will take place at Sun Life Stadium. The Ineligible Bowl. The Tats and Cash Fiesta. The Yahoo! Sports Bowl. Convict Boosters vs. well… Convict Boosters.

For what it's worth though, there will be no boosters on the sideline according to Miami officials.

Everyday this week, it seemed that each program was in the news for off the field distractions. Tuesday, the NCAA reinstated three Buckeyes after accepting money - via disgraced quarterback Terrelle Pryor - from a booster. On Thursday, Miami's most famous booster, Uncle Luke, announced plans to sue Miami's most infamous booster, Nevin Shapiro. Before the game on the field, games were played in the headlines during the run-up.

"What has been our strategy? Just focus on what we can control," Hurricanes head coach Al Golden said. "Again, I keep saying it. No one on our staff was involved with anything that occurred here, and 90% of our team wasn't.

"There are some distractions there. There are a lot of things. I'm sure Coach (Luke) Fickell has the same issues in terms of every move that you make requires a double move basically."

Golden's starter at quarterback tomorrow, Jacory Harris was suspended for the opener, a loss to Maryland. He's looking to make up for his performance in the Horseshoe last year when he threw four interceptions in a 36-24 loss. For a team looking to put it all out on the field after a rough month off of it, perhaps it is fitting that the Hurricanes' fate will rest on someone who was taken off of it for eligibility issues.

Beyond last year's loss and Harris' issues though, this game means something to Miami. They're looking to avoid an 0-2 start for the first time since 1978 and end their four game losing streak. It's Golden's home debut leading the Hurricanes as well, something the team is clearly focused on - not the nicknames for their Ohio State showdown.

“He's been through the thick and thin with us through this whole [NCAA investigation]," senior Travis Benjamin said. ”We just want to come out and get a W for coach Golden.”

The Buckeyes are not without their own issues as they take their slightly less talented roster to South Beach. The team struggled last week and almost lost to Toledo were it not for John Simon's interception of the Rockets' backup quarterback late in the game. They'll be without four key players due to suspension in receiver DeVier Posey, tackle Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron and backup end Soloman Thomas. Those four will stay in Ohio while the other member of the Buckeye Five will be in Oakland. Not that anyone will bring any of that up.

"We hope and we think that this is what the game is all about, to be able to handle adversity and we believe it's going to make us stronger in the long run," Fickell said. "It starts from the top down. We can't let it affect me so that we can't let it affect them, as well."

Speaking of suspended players, Miami has at the early lead going on: they'll get back five players to Ohio State's three.

The Hurricanes will likely play a key role in the game as well. Linebacker Sean Spence will be a key defender in the middle of the defense behind linemen Marcus Forston and Adewale Ojomo. A speedy receiver, Benjamin should also provide a boost for the offense. Starting running back Jordan Hall, corner Travis Howard and reserve safety Corey Brown are back for the Buckeyes.

It won't quite be the 2003 Fiesta Bowl in terms of talent on the field but there's no ignoring how big a game it is between the two programs who are not on friendly terms.

"We try not to focus on, `Hey, this is a national game because of Miami and their great history and Ohio State's great history,'" Fickell said. "We're still making sure we understand it's one game at a time, like we always say, but it's still about getting better. It's a chance to obviously test ourselves."

Miami's home opener will be emotional. Ohio State is no doubt looking to silence critics. There will be story lines aplenty.

But as 7:30 eastern rolls around, it will - finally - be just a game.
 

Posted on: August 18, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Mark Emmert says he's 'fine with' death penalty

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

NCAA
vice president of enforcement Julie Roe Lach said Wednesday the "majority of ... support" she encounters within the organization is for sanctions like bowl bans and scholarship reductions that stop short of the death penalty--even in the event of mammoth scandals like the one unfolding at Miami. But apparently, she didn't talk to the NCAA's own president.

Mark Emmert, having already taken the unusual step of commenting on an ongoing NCAA investigation with his initial statement on the Hurricane allegations, told the USA Today Thursday that the death penalty ought to be one "tool" at the Committee on Infractions' disposal:
"We need to make sure that we've got, for the committee on infractions, all the tools they need to create those kinds of deterrents. If that includes the death penalty, I'm fine with that."
Emmert said those deterrents should "provide serious second thoughts for anybody who thinks they can engage in this kind of behavior with impunity." He also commented on the Miami case directly again, saying that "if these allegations are true," they are "very troubling, and ... point out the real need for us to make changes and to make them thoughtfully and aggressively."

All of that certainly sounds noble enough. But Emmert's tough talk of change and nuclear-option sanctions won't mean much in the public eye if his organization doesn't back it up with legitimate reform, and penalties with teeth in cases of wanton rule-breaking (like, say, Jim Tressel's cover-up at Ohio State).

Discussing the death penalty is one thing, and it's fine as far as it goes. (Though the seemingly contradictory statements from Emmert and Roe Lach don't exactly portray the NCAA as an entity whose left hand knows what its right is doing.) But all the talk in the world won't do as much for Emmert's crusdade as one sensibly firm decision in a case like Miami's--and that decision doesn't have to be death penalty-caliber to prove the NCAA is serious.

Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Mark Emmert on Miami: "fundamental change" needed

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The NCAA has a policy of never commenting publicly on an ongoing investigation, but for the epic maelstrom of malfeasance uncovered at Miami, apparently it's willing to make an exception.

That exception arrived Wednesday in the form of a statement from (suddenly very busy) president Mark Emmert, published at the NCAA website. It reads in full:
If the assertions are true, the alleged conduct at the University of Miami is an illustration of the need for serious and fundamental change in many critical aspects of college sports. This pertains especially to the involvement of boosters and agents with student-athletes. While many are hearing about this case for the first time, the NCAA has been investigating the matter for five months. The serious threats to the integrity of college sports are one of the key reasons why I called together more than 50 presidents and chancellors last week to drive substantive changes to Division I intercollegiate athletics.
We won't argue with Emmert that college football needs some "serious and fundamental change" if it's to continue its status as an amateur sport for "student-athletes," or that the actions of Nevin Shapiro -- or, more specifically, Miami's inaction in response -- are the most powerful argument presented yet in that change's favor.

But we're skeptical Emmert simply reasserting his position while that particular iron in hot really what issuing this statement is about. The key sentence in it is this one:
While many are hearing about this case for the first time, the NCAA has been investigating the matter for five months.
In recent months, the NCAA has taken a heavy dose of criticism for lagging behind as the media -- Yahoo! Sports, as often as not -- do their enforcement work for them. (See the media's unraveling of Jim Tressel's e-mail coverup for one example.) For once, though, the NCAA did not find out about serious allegations when the "many" of the public did--and from the looks of things, Emmert can't help but take the opportunity to crow about it.

We don't blame Emmert for being sensitive to the regular blasts of criticism aimed his organization's way; while much of it is deserved, much of it is entirely unfounded and unfair as well.

But this kind of passive-aggressive response isn't exactly the best way of firing back at those critics. Yes, it's good to hear the NCAA has been on the case. But given the magnitude of Shapiro's misdeeds, it's hardly such an achievement that it's necessary for Emmert to break with years of steadfast policy just to beat his chest about it.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Playoff not discussed at NCAA meetings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

NCAA leaders announced sweeping reforms on Wednesday following two days worth of meetings with university presidents at the association's headquarters in Indianapolis.

Everything from full cost of attendance scholarships to overhauling the enforcement structure was discussed but there was one topic that failed to make the agenda: a college football playoff.

Oregon State president Ed Ray, who is the chairman of the NCAA's Executive Committee, told CBSSports.com Thursday that the idea of an NCAA-run playoff was mostly idle chatter for a select few presidents between sessions.

"That may have been a side conversation but it wasn't part of the formal conversation at all," Ray said. "It just never came up."

NCAA President Mark Emmert has said in the past that the NCAA does a fine job of running championships but, in the case of Football Bowl Subdivision, the general membership has not shown any interest in moving towards that format in the near future. Emmert responded to a Department of Justice inquiry in May by saying that there was no direction from the membership to do so. Ray confirmed that there was no sense that the organization was moving towards a playoff based on conversations this week.

"We weren't even focusing on it," he said. "There were obviously issues that were more germane to some than others. It really was a general discussion about what are the financial realities, how can we manage our costs more effectively and how can we make sure, within our budgets, we can do everything we can to be supportive of the student-athletes. They were the most important thing to us."

When the longtime administrator was asked if there was at least a building consensus behind the idea of exploring a playoff, he reiterated that the presidents were focused on more pressing matters in college athletics this week.

"I didn't hear any discussion of that," Ray said. "I couldn't even begin to guess where that (issue) is. It just didn't come up."

Posted on: August 10, 2011 11:45 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 11:49 pm
 

Report: Beebe taking Texas A&M rumors 'seriously'

Posted by Chip Patterson

The man who has worked so furiously to hold the Big 12 together says he's taking reports of Texas A&M to the SEC "very seriously." Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe spoke to the American-Statesman on Wednesday night about the issue. He said he has not been in contact with any Texas A&M administration members, Beebe has been preoccupied with Mark Emmert's presidential retreat in Indianapolis.

"I've been doing that and dealing with this firestorm at the same time," Beebe said. "I'll put it this way, I'm taking it very seriously. I've been talking to a number of people. Obviously, there are a significant number of Aggie supporters who are interested in going in that direction."

One reason Aggie supporters are reportedly so adamant about the move is in response to the conference's handling of Texas and the ESPN-supported Longhorn Network. Texas president William Powers was also at the NCAA summit, and reportedly also discussed the issue with Beebe.  What many dismissed as internet rumors took on new life when Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin released this statement on Wednesday:

President Loftin is committed to doing what is best for Texas A&M not only now, but also in the future. We continue to have wide-ranging conversations regarding all aspects of the university, including both academics and athletics.

The timing and wording of that message made it appear awfully cryptic considering the circumstances. All of the Big 12 athletic directors met a week ago to discuss the Longhorn Network, and they voted unanimously to postpone the broadcasting of high school games for one year. At the time, it seemed as though the weakened conference was once again on the same page.

"We had a tremendous meeting with the athletic directors," Beebe told the American-Statesman. "My view was everybody was comfortable with it."

It seems Texas A&M is either uncomfortable with the current conditions in the Big 12, or just exploring their options. Either way all signs point to these conversations with the SEC appear to be happening. But we can only wait to see if anything comes from them.

For more on this story as it develops, keep it here at the Eye on College Football and follow us on Twitter
Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:03 pm
 

Embree wants players rewarded for graduating

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Last week at Pac-12 Media Days, conference commissioner Larry Scott echoed the thoughts of many and said that college athletics was at a crossroads. The newest head coach in Scott's conference, Colorado's Jon Embree, agrees but he isn't just sitting back and lamenting at the state of the game, he's putting forward ideas.

For all the talk about paying players and full cost of attendance scholarships, Embree is advocating a different approach that takes elements from both. Instead of paying players directly, he argues, how about giving players $50,000 or so upon receiving a degree for them to either further their education or get started in life.

"I think they should be rewarded for graduating," Embree told CBSSports.com. "If we're going to use the term student-athlete, if we're going to be releasing graduation rates, if we're losing scholarships because of APR, then let's put our money where our mouth is. They don't do anything special for the kids when they win.

"To me, that graduation piece is best because they're earning something: a degree. You're helping them setup themselves for the future. In the NFL, they might get one year, two years or none. But that degree will be with them. Then you'll have a decent amount of money to get a head start on life."

Embree likes tying money to graduation as a way of incentivizing education for coaches, players and schools. A former tight end at Colorado, he knows the challenges players face more than most and recognizes that a scholarship doesn't cover all of a student-athlete's living expenses. While he is receptive to full cost of attendance scholarships, Embree is very much against giving players "spending money" on a weekly basis.

"A scholarship only covers so much," he said. "I don't believe you can pay the student-athletes a monthly stipend and keep it fair across the board. You start doing that, then one guy things he should get $300, another guy thinks it should be $500."

The concept of giving players money upon graduation is not a new one. Many have advanced the idea that those players who's jersey is sold (i.e. the ones the school is really making money off of) would receive a cut of the money upon graduation or leaving for the NFL. The idea of tying the money to something like jersey sales is a no-go for Embree however.

"No because what will happen is that they'll start selling jerseys in the book store that isn't a guy that's playing," he said. "They'd get around that. There's no doubt that college athletics is at a cross roads. A lot of money is made off these kids, me included. I don't know what all the answers are but they need some kind of equity. Just something."

Some food for thought for NCAA president Mark Emmert and 50 college presidents when they meet for a retreat on athletics later this month.

Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Larry Scott wants meaningful, quick NCAA reforms

Posted by Bryan Fischer

NEW YORK -- While most of the talk this week at Pac-12 Media Days was about the landmark networks that the conference is launching next year, there was always that elephant in the room with the league's two most high-profile programs, Oregon and USC, dealing with the NCAA enforcement process at one stage or another.

As someone who has gotten a crash course in the process recently, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott sees the trend of programs dealing with similar issues to continue over the next few years if things don't end up changing.

"It seems to me, in my two years here, that the cloud, the controversy, isn't going away," Scott said. "What I'm pushing for is aggressive reform at the NCAA level on the way enforcement is done, on the way we treat student-athletes, scholarships and other things like academic standards. I'm hopeful that President Mark Emmert, who is holding a retreat with the presidents, is going to try and drive an agenda.

"I'm not alone in this. Mike Slive, you'll hear (Jim) Delany, the six of us are aligned. We need some meaningful change, not incremental change. What shape that takes, I don't yet know. Mike and Jim have put out some specific proposals, which I admire them for, but the NCAA is a bureaucracy. There's a process they're going to have to go through. I hope the leadership at the president level is able to make more meaningful change than I've seen been able to be made in the last two years."

Given the fact that the money from television deals has never been higher and the news about violations has never been greater, many have just said to heck with it and the Big Six power conferences should just separate from the NCAA. Scott doesn't feel that's coming in the near future but recognizes that one group schools must be treated different than others.

"I think that would represent a tremendous failure of the NCAA if it comes to that," Scott said of a split. "I'd like to think that we are at a crossroads and at this retreat they'll recognize one size doesn't fit all anymore. There really is no such thing as competitive equity or even playing field. Certain schools obviously have more money than others and have better facilities and can pay more for coaches. Yet a lot of rules are based on one size fits all. That's just something the NCAA leadership is going to have to get over. If that's the standard by which any policy can get made, then I think it's destined to be an ineffective organization long term."

If there's one area that Scott hopes the leadership addresses, it's the legislative process itself.

"It needs to be more nimble," he said. "The thing they need to realize that these so-called clouds or scandals are all about the six conferences. That's what's affecting the image that everyone is talking about. The irony is the six conferences are ready to address those things. If they're held back on the basis that everyone can't do what you to do, then I think there could be challenges to the NCAA down the road."

Posted on: July 26, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 5:34 pm
 

NCAA moves towards closing Newton loophole

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Aside from Auburn's fans and coaches, there didn't seem to be many people happy with the NCAA's decision last fall to rule Cam Newton eligible after his father Cecil Newton admitted he'd asked Mississippi State boosters for $180,000. That even goes for people who agreed with the NCAA's ruling, like president Mark Emmert, who stated plainly (as Gene Chizik will tell you) that the NCAA had no evidence to rule that Cam knew of his father's request or that the family had received benefits from anyone ... but also affirmed that "I think it's absolutely a fundamentally wrong for a father to try to sell the services of his son or daughter to the highest bidder."

And in the interests of protecting that stance, Emmerts's organization has moved towards making requests like Cecil's an eligibility-breaker in the future. An official release from the NCAA Tuesday details a proposal for an "expanded definition of agents," one that would "include third-party influences, including family members, who market student-athletes’ athletics ability or reputation for personal financial gain."

The statement reads:

The cabinet at its recent meeting in Indianapolis agreed to sponsor legislation for the 2011-12 cycle that would define agents as individuals who either directly or indirectly:

  • Represent or attempt to represent a prospective or current student-athlete in the marketing of his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain; or
  • Seek to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospect’s enrollment at an institution or a student-athlete’s potential earnings as a professional athlete.

The new definition would include certified contract advisors, financial advisors, marketing representatives, brand managers or anyone who is employed by or associated with such individuals.

The new definition also would apply to third parties, including family members, who shop prospects to various institutions for personal financial gain. In the past, the agent definition applied generally to third parties marketing an athlete’s skills to a professional sports team. The cabinet’s proposal expands the definition to include people marketing athletics skills to a collegiate institution for personal gain.

Under the new definition, Cecil would have been acting as Cam's "agent" and -- one would assume -- having an agent operating on his behalf (even without his consent) would have resulted in Cam's having been declared ineligible. The definition might also be broad enough to include the likes of "advisors" like Bryce Brown mentor Brian Butler (or, if certain allegations involving Oregon stick, Will Lyles.)

The proposal will be reviewed at the NCAA's 2011-2012 legislative session and could be put into effect as soon as April of next year.

If we play devil's advocate for a moment, we have to wonder if it's entirely fair to prospective athletes to pay the price in elgibility for others' actions they may have no control over. (Consider a scenario similar to the famous Albert Means case: if a high school coach goes behind a recruit's back and asks a school for money in order to push the recruit towards that school, how is that the player's fault? Would their college football career be ruined all the same?)

But all the same, Emmert is right that the attempted sales of athletes' services (whether that sale is completed or not) is "fundamentally wrong." If the NCAA believes the proposed legislation might help stamp out some of those sales pitches, it's legislation they must consider.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com