SBD/March 3, 2011/Colleges

NCAA President Emmert "Happy To Help" Form College Football Playoff

Emmert says NCAA would help if schools wanted to move to playoff format
NCAA President Mark Emmert yesterday said that he is “willing to help create a playoff format to decide a national championship for the top level of college football,” according to Brett Martel of the AP. But that “won't happen unless the leaders of institutions fielding teams” in the NCAA's FBS “want to make such a change” after contracts with the BCS expire in '14. Emmert, speaking at the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge, said, "If the leadership of those universities ... want to move in that direction, then the NCAA knows how to run championships and we'd be happy to help." He “stopped short of endorsing a playoff, saying that the NCAA also sees value in the bowl system.” Emmert: "Kids love playing bowl games. Schools love participating in bowl games and everybody knows that, so it's finding that right balance that I think is going to be challenging." Martel noted one of Emmert’s “immediate challenges is ensuring the NCAA maintains credibility with the public.” Emmert: "The integrity of the collegiate model of athletics right now is challenged in lots of ways. Any time you've got high-profile, controversial cases, people walk away scratching their head and we had some of those this year. We have to be clear about what our values are, what we're trying to promote, how we go about our business" (AP, 3/2). Emmert said, “We have (a playoff system) in FCS football. It’s a great event. I was there this year. It was really exciting. But we’ll see where it goes." He jokingly added, "Did I dodge that (question) pretty well?” (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 3/3).

OLD COLLEGE TRY: In New Orleans, Jim Kleinpeter writes Emmert is “well aware he has stepped into the white hot spotlight of college sports at a time that place rarely has been hotter.” He has spent the past five months “coming to a deeper understanding of the organization's role, and that it goes far beyond wins and losses and making money.” Emmert: "What's been fascinating is the range of not just attitudes but beliefs about what the NCAA is and what it isn't and how often those are just dead wrong. What we really do is help student-athletes.” He added, “We're going to protect the model of collegiate athletics. It is a uniquely American phenomenon. No other nation on earth combines sports and athletics the way we do in the United States. It is truly American and well-worth preserving" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 3/3).
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