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SBD/March 14, 2012/Colleges
Mark Emmert Discusses Top Issues Facing NCAA, Including Claims Of Exploitation
Published March 14, 2012
WEIGHING IN: Emmert yesterday morning appeared on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” yesterday to discuss various topics. Emmert said the NCAA men's basketball tournament “is a marquee event in college athletics and everyone pays attention.” Emmert: “It is the one time of the year that people who don't know anything about basketball pay attention. The fact that the President shows up and brings the Prime Minister of Great Britain brings you a sense of how important it is.” Emmert said he does not think the tournament field would increase because “the 68 worked extremely well this last year.” Emmert: “We had a great tournament. We are establishing this ‘First Four’ as a really important couple games. I don't see us changing this for a good while.” ESPN’s Mike Golic noted attendance at the NCAA Tournament has been down in recent years and asked if the tournament might be moved to April. Emmert said, “There is some discussion about it, but right now I wouldn't describe it as anything approaching serious discussion. The attendance at some regular season games is down and some of our formats for the postseason have been down a little bit.” Emmert added, “But all the games that we put on have encouraged people to watch from home or from other venues. You see more people going out to bars and watching regular season games and tournament games via TV and internet. Some of that may be rubbing off” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 3/13).
TAKING IT TO THE TURF: Emmert discussed a possible playoff in college football, saying, "Right now, they’re looking at what can realistically be done under the current context." Emmert: "I suspect ... that we’ll see some movement toward a four-team or maybe even an eight-team playoff, probably not beyond that.” Emmert said it could be a “sensible” system and added, “I’m certainly not opposed to it. It could be exciting” ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 3/13). A USA TODAY editorial states that with as much success as the NCAA has had with the basketball tournament, it has been “unable to transport the model to football.” But there is “reason to hope that something better might finally be in store for the fall,” as Emmert has “signaled an interest in a four-team tournament for football.” Four teams is “hardly a real tournament compared with March Madness, which starts with 64 teams,” but it is “a start.” Once it is four, there will be “a natural cry for eight.” The NCAA in football “has a system that is all about protecting revenue streams of entrenched interests.” In basketball, it “has a system that is pretty close to the ideal of honest, fair competition -- while still managing to be wildly profitable” (USA TODAY, 3/14).