Emmert Says Change Needed To Restore Public's Confidence in College Sports
NCAA President Mark Emmert yesterday offered a "bracing assessment of the public’s confidence in college sports in the wake of the academic scandal" at North Carolina and "bribery allegations against men’s basketball assistant coaches," according to Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY. Emmert, appearing before the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, cited recent results of "regular public-opinion polling by the NCAA that the association normally keeps private." He said that the polling showed that "among all Americans: 79% say big universities put money ahead of student-athletes." Sixty-nine percent say big universities "are part of the problem and not part of the solution to problems in college sports," while 51% "believe that the NCAA is part of the problem and not part of the solution to problems in college sports." Emmert said of the polling results, "It’s pretty damning, and it requires a direct response -- not just in words, but in real action." He added, "We can’t go into the next basketball season without having made some pretty significant changes that restore people’s confidence in, not just basketball, but in the enterprise." Emmert said, "It’s a critical time. ... There’s always been rumors flying around, but there’s never been this kind of absolute demonstration again assuming the allegations are accurate" (USA TODAY, 10/31).
SURVIVE & ADVANCE: Emmert said that he is "confident that the NCAA governance model will survive, in part because no better alternative exists." Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Mitch Sherman noted Emmert would "like to eliminate the 'one-and-done' rule" in college basketball. Emmert: "I don't think there's any compelling reason why someone should be forced to go to college who doesn't want to go to college. I think that makes no bloody sense. Why would anyone do that?" (ESPN.com, 10/30). Emmert also said that the NCAA's new commission headed by Condoleezza Rice will examine the "relationships between schools and apparel companies, and the relationships between schools and the independent basketball leagues, some sponsored by apparel companies, that long have been suspected of complicity in backroom deals to send star teenagers to preferred colleges and agents." Basketball HOFer David Robinson, who is also part of the NCAA's new commission, said that he supported "allowing college players to earn money through endorsements and sponsorship deals" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/31).
TIME FOR CHANGE: In Dallas, Kevin Sherrington writes under the header, "NCAA President Mark Emmert Said The Right Things, But Now It's Time For Action In Corruption Scandal." Sherrington: "The NCAA must do something, anything if we're going to take it seriously" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/31). ESPN's Jay Bilas said, "You have the president saying the system is broken. What, he and his staff didn’t know the system was broken two weeks before the charges were filed in this matter? Of course they did. The system’s been broken forever, so that’s disingenuous to say the least" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/31).