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SBD/February 25, 2013/CollegesPrint All
The NCAA on Saturday released a statement "revealing that the executive committee has 'unanimously affirmed' its ongoing support" of NCAA President Mark Emmert, according to Tim Reynolds of the AP. Both the decision to "make such a statement -- and to do so, without warning, over a weekend -- are highly unusual for the NCAA, which has been under fire for some time over the way many high-profile cases have been handled, most recently the long investigation of Miami." The statement comes "five days after Emmert himself said he wondered if the committee would consider disciplinary action against him after all this recent tumult." In the past few days alone, Univ. of Miami President Donna Shalala "called the NCAA's probe of the Hurricanes 'unprofessional and unethical,' and presidents of schools in the Mountain West Conference reportedly questioned Emmert's leadership." The NCAA's move on Saturday was "another strange chapter in a strange week" (AP, 2/23). CBSSPORTS.com's Bruce Feldman wrote of the possibility Emmert would be fired before the '13 college football season, "It wouldn't shock me." A source said that he has "heard Emmert won't keep his job." Feldman wrote there are "too many people coming at the guy now from all sides." One "intriguing part of this" will be what Shalala does. She has as many "big connections in the world of politics as anyone in the NCAA community." Shalala has "clout and isn't intimidated playing politics." Feldman: "I doubt the NCAA wants this ending up on Capitol Hill" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/24).
OH DONNA: Ohio Univ. sports administration professor David Ridpath said that Shalala was "taking a calculated gamble by going public with her criticism instead of voicing it behind closed doors." Ridpath: “She’s making a preemptive strike, largely because this investigation has been botched from the beginning. I don’t blame her. She’s holding a strong hand right now. She’s almost daring the infractions committee to impose more (sanctions). It’s a bit of a risk. But in this situation, probably a risk that she should take because the way things have gone, somebody has to speak up" (PALM BEACH POST, 2/24). SI.com's Stewart Mandel wrote Shalala is "taking full advantage of the NCAA's admitted missteps and accompanying p.r. backlash to fight back in a manner unlike any accused school in recent memory." Mandel: "Given her stance, if the Committee on Infractions does eventually hammer Miami ... will it lead to Miami v. NCAA?" It is "virtually unheard of" for a school to "fight the NCAA over perceived unfairness by the organization's enforcement arm" (SI.com, 2/22).
FOR PETE'S SAKE: Seahawks coach and former USC football coach Pete Carroll on Friday said, "I really think it's time for this to be opened up and examined and understood how the NCAA has operated." CBSSPORTS.com's Feldman wrote, "Dubious methods in what has always been a murky process seems to have become a by-product of a broken system, not just evidence of it." Carroll said of the infractions during his time at USC, "I think our case was a great illustration of that, as is what is happening down in Miami. And the NCAA's rush to judgment that happened over at Penn State may have been as big a travesty as any of them." He added, "It's just so out of whack. It's so obvious that it is. It's just a matter of, will somebody pursue it and go after it?" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/23).
MEET THE NEW BOSS: CBSSPORTS.com's Jeremy Fowler cited a source as saying that NCAA interim VP/Enforcement Jonathan Duncan "begins a 12-to-18-month trial period on March 11." Duncan will be "asked to restore confidence in a 55-person enforcement group that faces mounting scrutiny over the botched Miami investigation" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/22).
Playing football games on Sundays “may not be an issue to the Big 12 Conference as a collective,” but it “could be to some of the member schools who see BYU's firm stance as an inconvenience not worth the cost of acquisition,” according to the DESERET NEWS' Ryan Teeples, who addressed BYU's inclusion in the BCS and the Big 12 conference in a fourt-part series. BYU "will never, under any circumstance, play a game on Sunday, and they won’t join a conference that doesn’t accommodate observance of Sunday as a day of worship.” The stance “could be an issue to TV partners who would whisper such concerns in the ears of member institutions.” ESPN “loves BYU, but that doesn’t mean that Fox, Comcast or whoever might be at the Big 12 TV negotiating table wouldn’t want a contract that offers Sabbath programming that’s not a devotional talk from the Marriott Center” (DESERETNEWS.com, 2/21). Teeples wrote, “Don’t discount the fact that some schools perceive BYU as a threat in the pecking order in the conference.” BYU’s TV market is “bigger than all but the Texas and Kansas schools” (DESERETNEWS.com, 2/21). Teeples noted another TV issue “involves so-called tier-3 rights.” These “oft misunderstood” rights are “broadcast rights to games which are passed up for airing by the top-tier broadcasting partners, in this case ABC/ESPN and Fox.” The Big 12 “due to the desire -- or threatening -- of Texas to have The Longhorn Network leaves its tier-3 rights up to the home team.” It is “natural to think this makes BYU a good fit since it’s essentially already monetizing its own tier-3 rights, but in this case BYUtv becomes an issue on the con side of the sheet for some Big 12 schools.” Some conference schools “look at BYU as a partner that’s another Texas (or Oklahoma) which won’t contribute to helping line their wallets with tier-3 TV programming and revenue” (DESERETNEWS.com, 2/21).