SBD/May 12, 2011/Colleges

NCAA Offers Media Inside Look At Investigation, Enforcement Methods

NCAA Pres Mark Emmert closed the day with a Q&A session with media members
The NCAA, in an “effort to shed light on a practice that has been shrouded in mystery for years,” on Tuesday invited members of the media to its HQs “to experience how the rules and regulations of college athletics are imposed,” according to Steve Yanda of the WASHINGTON POST. NCAA President Mark Emmert said that the goal of the mock investigation was to “provide greater understanding of the steps taken by the organization’s enforcement staff, from the discovery of rules infractions to the meting out of sanctions.” Emmert: “These processes are complicated by the nature of the activity itself, and therefore they are subject to a lot of misinterpretation and confusion. And the more we can pull back the veil and let people see the inner workings, the better off we feel about it.” During the daylong exercise, NCAA enforcement staffers “guided reporters through the steps of an investigation process that typically spans 10 to 11 months.” Yanda notes Emmert “participated in a similar mock investigation two weeks earlier along with a collection of university presidents” (WASHINGTON POST, 5/12).

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION: YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel noted NCAA officials “tried to answer every possible question and explain the process in detail.” Wetzel: “Considering that more than a decade ago the NCAA refused to send me its rules manual, the organization has come a long way. It’s for the better.” Still, “core problems remain, and those challenges go beyond improved public relations” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/11). ESPN.com’s Pat Forde wrote the NCAA “put on a very good show, delivering a ton of impressively presented information.” The day concluded with “an excellent Q & A” with Emmert. The NCAA is “gradually emerging from decades of bunker mentality in which it was secretive about everything -- especially enforcement -- and this was another step forward in that regard.” The “bottom-line takeaway from the day was this: There is nothing simple about the arduous process of catching and punishing cheaters,” and that remains “the biggest problem the NCAA faces in trying to make the sporting world understand why it does what it does” (ESPN.com, 5/11).
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