SBJ/April 10-16, 2017/Colleges

NCAA President Mark Emmert: Survivor or got ’em fooled?

Editor’s note: This is part of our sports media roundtable from the Final Four. For the main portion, click here.

GROUP: No. Absolutely not.

FORDE: There have probably been two or three times I thought for sure they were going to push him out. I was actually thinking that watching his press conference [at the Final Four]. Wow, he’s still here.

O’NEIL: I wouldn’t say he’s been dethroned, but his impact has … they hid him well. Remember that one press conference at the Final Four when he was up there with like 30 other people. They protected him and let him disappear for a while and now we don’t hear from him much anymore.

The panel was surprised that the NCAA’s Mark Emmert is still in his job.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
ELMORE: They’ve made some great hires. Oliver Luck serves him very well. Dan Gavitt serves him well. His general counsel. They have kept him from being out front because he’s not capable. Compare him to Myles Brand, who was totally in charge.

WOLKEN: I thought a lot about this recently. Mark Emmert came from being a school president, so there is an element of “protecting their own” with him. Yes, he’s kept a lower profile. The other thing that’s happened since he took office is that the power has shifted over to this power five model. The money and rulemaking has tilted so far to the power five presidents and commissioners that, I don’t want to say he’s a figurehead, but his impact on policy has been significantly diminished.

FORDE: The power five commissioner part of it is a big part.

Podcast highlights from the discussion:


WOLKEN: There was a standoff a few years ago and the power five commissioners said, “You will give us the authority to make our own rules or we will go somewhere else.” That was the inflection point where he lost a lot of his … remember, the first time he tried to do cost of attendance, he got beat down on it.

FORDE: He had a lot of bravado and he liked being out front, and then it didn’t work very well.

WOLKEN: I’m one of the few reporters that covers the NCAA Convention anymore and in the past, you could get him to comment on just about anything. Now, you hit him with North Carolina or something like that, he almost says nothing anymore. It’s been a striking change.

FORDE: One of his problems was that he had too many opinions on too many things and he didn’t know what he was talking about.

BOIVIN: Or whether he should have an opinion on it.

CULPEPPER: But he did bring (Nick) Saban to the SEC. (laughs) That’s all that matters.

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