IMG Intercollegiate Athletic Forum: Emmert, University Heads Talk College Problems
The problems affecting Penn State and Syracuse provided the dominant theme on the opening panel at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in N.Y. NCAA President Mark Emmert said that if a year ago you had predicted football-coaching changes, and the causes behind them, at Penn State, Ohio State, North Carolina and Tennessee, no one would have believed you. Emmert said the NCAA is in the process of rewriting its rulebook, getting rid of what he called “silly rules.” The new rules will “deal more aggressively with the adults in the room,” and hold people accountable for their actions. Emmert also took a shot at conference realignment. Without mentioning a specific conference, he described college sports as a regional opportunity, not a national one. “It wasn’t a pretty moment,” he said. “We hope it flattens out right away. There’s a domino effect.”
Quick Hits on the Penn State scandal:
* Emmert: "Everything that’s going on at Penn State are allegations. We don’t know what all the facts are yet. It’s premature and not particularly helpful to speculate. Penn State’s been fantastic in working with us."
* Quinnipiac Univ. President John Lahey: "If it can happen at Penn State and Syracuse, it can happen anywhere. This was not about student athletes. When any part of the university becomes so important to the university, it can cloud the better judgment of people of high intelligence or high integrity. If a faculty member [had been caught], I don’t think that it would have been a close call. It would have been turned over to the police."
* Univ. of Texas President Bill Powers, on the lessons learned from Penn State: "The moment something goes wrong, have a press conference, get it out and deal with it. Almost all problems were exacerbated by Penn State not getting it out and dealing with it."
* Univ. of Massachusetts Chancellor Robert Holub: "All of us have to hope that we would have the courage and integrity to deal with those kinds of situations. I hope I would act in a manner I’d be proud of."
Quick Hits on the Longhorn Network:
* Powers, on its role in conference realignment: "Longhorn Network was discussed 18 months ago. It was fully disclosed. Schools talked about leaving 18 months ago before the network ever came into play. If you say the network is the reason for realignment, I would say that is flat-out false."
* Powers, on the net providing an unfair advantage to Texas: "It may give us an advantage in exposure. [But we already] have an advantage when we take recruits into a 100,000 stadium. Every program makes its program an attractive place to go. It doesn’t take a dime out of anyone else’s program. We see this as a great entrepreneurial opportunity."
* Emmert, on whether it will lead to other college university-specific channels: "You can’t turn the tide back on. I don’t know if we should."
Quick Hits on the biggest change in college sports in the next year:
* Lahey: "The focus needs to be on where the problems really are: Division-I football and, to a lesser degree, basketball."
* Holub: "We need to restore integrity to collegiate sports. There’s no doubt it’s been damaged."