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SBD/June 20, 2014/Colleges
Emmert Testifies In O'Bannon Trial, Tries To Quell Claims Of Hypocrisy By NCAA
Published June 20, 2014
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DEFENDING HYPOCRISY? ESPN.com's Munson & Schlabach noted players' attorney Bill Isaacson asked Emmert about an "incendiary" e-mail from October '10 in which former NCAA exec Wally Renfro wrote, "The notion that athletes are students is the great hypocrisy of intercollegiate sports." The "great hypocrisy" statement "shoots a hole in the best answer the NCAA has to the O'Bannon effort to transform the organization." Emmert replied "mildly and quietly." He said he "does not believe the statement is accurate" (ESPN.com, 6/19). In N.Y., Ben Strauss notes another document presented was a "strategic plan" from NCAA VP/Communications Bob Williams. It read in part, "One of the most damaging criticisms we face is the hypocrisy in which we operate." Isaacson "wanted to know what Emmert thought of the word hypocrisy, and if he had any follow-up conversations with senior staff members about it." Emmert replied, "You’re focusing on the word hypocrisy more than necessary" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/20).
A SLIP OF THE TONGUE: USA TODAY's George Schroeder notes Emmert "stuck doggedly to the NCAA's script, insisting that amateurism, as a core value of the NCAA, was essential to the goal of competitive balance and to integrating athletics and academics." But there were "minor gaffes and unintentionally humorous moments." In one answer during direct examination, Emmert said that although NCAA rules "have evolved, a core value remained being a 'full-time athlete.'" NCAA lawyer Glenn Pomerantz "corrected him, suggesting Emmert meant 'full-time student.'" Emmert replied, "Excuse me, I misspoke" (USA TODAY, 6/20). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sharon Terlep notes after the gaffe Emmert "became terse at times." He seemed to "choose words carefully as he defended the tricky position that unpaid athletes are central to the success of a collegiate athletic system that has seen billions of dollars pour in" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/20).