SBD/February 25, 2013/Colleges

Despite NCAA Exec Committee's Backing, Source Says Emmert "Won't Keep His Job"

Emmert's leadership was recently called into question by Mountain West presidents
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).
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