Posted April 05, 2013

NCAA President Mark Emmert Came Ready To Fight

NCAA Tournament
Mark Emmert didn't shy away from confronting reporters at Thursday's Final Four press conference. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Mark Emmert didn’t shy away from confronting reporters at Thursday’s Final Four press conference. (David J. Phillip/AP)

ATLANTA — There probably were valid points buried somewhere in NCAA president Mark Emmert’s 16-minute, over 2,500-word opening statement/monologue/filibuster here at the annual Final Four press conference, but the biggest takeaway from the 45-minute session was the embattled president’s aggressive defensiveness.

On three occasions during the question-and-answer portion of the event, Emmert took various levels of shots at national reporters, saving his choicest barbs for CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd, who has written previously calling for Emmert’s job. In the middle of responding to a question from Dodd about whether Emmert feels like a lightning rod for criticism of the NCAA, Emmert interjected “By the way, thanks for the career advice. [I] kept my job anyway.” Oddly, that retort was edited out of the official transcript released afterward.

Later he got into it a bit with New York Times reporter Joe Nocera, who asked a question about Emmert’s acceptance of general studies majors and questionable course plans. In the middle of a lengthy response, apparently in response to Nocera trying to follow up with a question, Emmert interjected “Please let me finish, Joe. I know you disagree. We all know you disagree with me. ..,” before finishing his answer.

He finished his performance, though, by proverbially dropping the mic, blurting to Dodd as he walked off the stage after the final question, “I’m still here. I know you’re disappointed, but here I am.”

It was clear from the outset that the jacket-less Emmert had a plan for the presser, and that he clearly reads the critiques of his performance, not only as NCAA president but also in his prior stops at universities. It was feisty, but in an oddly defensive way that didn’t make him come off as very much of a leader.

Like anyone in charge, Emmert (and the NCAA) get a lot more attention for what they’re doing wrong than what they did correctly, and an enormous amount of attention is placed on college’s two major revenue sports when the NCAA organizes several dozen sports across more than 1,000 colleges and universities at three different levels. It’s also clear reporters were here today to ask tough and, in some cases, impossible to answer questions.

But the disastrous investigative failures in the UCLA and Miami cases are meaningful and relevant as more and more discussion swirls about NCAA reform. Emmert needed a strong performance in front of the national media and didn’t deliver it.

The best summation may have come from Harvard senior @JohnEzekowitz via Twitter.

Now it’s up to the “owners” of Emmert’s stock to see if they come up with the same assessment of his value going forward.

29 comments
Mike The Tiger
Mike The Tiger

Again the news media tries to "Make News" and influence decisions rather than reporting the news.

StephenFotos
StephenFotos

Soon,

This thug will be on a stand in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, under oath. Then this smug idiot savant will be one more past President of the NCAA.

Please don't resign Emmert. We are not done with you yet......

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

We need two major sports organizations. One consisting of the major football schools and the major (men's) basketball schools. Then those schools can leave the NCAA and let it handle the smaller, nonprofit sports. The NCAA is a dinosaur. It's an embarrassment. This is the 21st century. The NCAA was outdated long before the 20th ended. With all the cable money the big schools have there is no need to be held in check by an organization that has long ago lost all significance. 

geoAZ
geoAZ

So apparently Mr. Emmert suggests he's not responsible for the actions of his staff ??? so what exactly are you being paid for...watering the potted plants...shut off the lights on your way out !! 

a52wkhi
a52wkhi

I'm still trying to figure out why the NCAA gave SMU the "death penalty" and Penn State did not. Pedophilia is not as serious as recruiting violations? Really?

rkcla08
rkcla08

i don't care who stood before him as a "journalist," none asked the most pertinent question either through fear or stupidity.  that question being, "why is the ncaa bankrolling the nba and nfl as their minor league system?"

if so-called journalists are going to press the boss, then do so as a journalist, not as a spin doctor.   

stockwatch
stockwatch

time to get rid of the business aspect.  no more commercials during college basketball games.  problem solved.

brighat
brighat

The NCAA needs to die. I'd rather see the schools go unpunished for paying players, changing grades or giving favors. If it means they will stay in school and graduate, so be it. Everybody is cheating because nobody takes Mark Emmert or his group of frauds seriously. BTW, those commercials they are airing during the Final Four are a joke. Yeah, they look out for their student-athletes. BS. When the SEC secedes from them and can do whatever they want, it will be the beginning of the end for the NCAA.

Cool
Cool

As with any organization that answers to no one, the NCAA has no reason to have a leader willing and able to defend themselves because it would be a waste of time and energy.  Until the NCAA is beaten in the court of law, they will remain stubborn and answer questions as they like.  I listened to Emmert say that Miami should suffer because there was no internal control, and when asked about the lack of internal control within his group, he said that somehow it was different.   

BobRayTalbot
BobRayTalbot

The NCAA is an anachronism and should be shelved. It is probably capable of managing a national swim meet; but it has outlived its usefulness in overseeing a business entity like major college football.  

BTB117
BTB117

Mark Emmert is a man who is up against the wall and feeling the pressure and I appreciate him showing that. With all due respect to the media...it is refreshing when the guys who get written about especially the guys who are being told to quit or be fired that stand up for themselves in person and in front of the media. Putting themselves on the line. He is facing the most adversity in the history of the NCAA. The Ed O'Bannon could destroy it. The BCS conferences could leave, his people have screwed up multiple investigations. Should be fired or quit? Probably but I can appreciate that he is standing up for himself. Now he has to come up with some ideas to keep his ship afloat.

TonyFajardo
TonyFajardo

Nice job for NCAA leader..........what a jerk off.

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

Look up megalomaniac in the dictionary and you'll see that jerk's photo. The NCAA has outlived its usefulness and so has Emmert.

marryman
marryman

It annoys me when figures like Emmert react to the media in this way. It gives them validation that they in no way deserve. 

AZgeo
AZgeo

There's a phrase about heat and kitchens that sounds appropriate here , me thinks !!

Jo2
Jo2

Emmert is a piece of work. Of course he is not going to quit because his salary is the same as winning the lottery every year. How does someone with a million-dollar-a-year salary get away with this type of behaviour? How can this salary be justified when there are so many students out of work and still trying to pay off their student loans? Emmert should be judged the same way here as a student/athlete would be judged if he/she was belligerent during questioning by an NCAA investigator for an infraction. Emmert is another PH.D. who can't manage people and has no social skills. Although investigative journalism today is a joke as there are no longer any independant radio, television, and newspapers in this country, we still need people in power, such as Emmert, to be accountable to questions being asked by modern-day reporters as they are the only resource the public has in finding resolution to corruption.


StephenFotos
StephenFotos

@a52wkhi Get used to being disappointed - when we get done with Emmert in court, all that will be left is a small oil stain.

cmryan07
cmryan07

@a52wkhi <Sigh> The NCAA should have done NOTHING with Penn State as they have no jurisdiction in criminal matters. They were taking a beating in the press, so they picked at the low hanging fruit provided by the Penn State scandal. The University essentially was told to agree to the raping or get shut down for four years. It was a gross overreach for an organization that has historically been loathe to do anything that might bring attention to the nefarious nature of big-time college sports. The NCAA needs to be disbanded. Collegiate athletics deserves better...

pooloo2094
pooloo2094

@BTB117 Yeah I can dig that. Nothing like outsiders calling for your job. I understand why athletes and entertainers and even CEO's get paid so much money. Can you imagine being Emmert and for all the good that you have done (look it up) all anyone wants to talk about is where there was a misstep. Everyone makes mistakes, and maybe Emmert SHOULD lose his job. However, these guys who express that people should lose their jobs and say it PUBLICLY...that is disgusting frankly. Emmert has a family and friends and embarrassing him also embarrasses his friends and family who have nothing to do with this situation.

Of course, the athletes and the institutions and the jobs (and friends and families) of others are also affected by Emmert. Why is it that the press has to serve our collective thirst for blood? Why does it (the press) feel that this man should be put under duress when it is questionable if the person asking the questions could do better? Im all for transparency and analysis and opinion but there needs to be a stronger code of ethics for journalists.

If my job required that I answer the questions of some guy who neither knows the intricacies of what I do nor understands the stresses I face, than I want a raise. If I have to be on television and answer questions designed to make me look like a fool, I want another raise on top of that. Some of these media guys are filled with malice and ill will, jealousy and self-righteousness (like all of us).

I dont agree with the NCAA and how it handles the things I am aware of like eligibility requirements, coaches and athlete relationships, athlete compensation. I think I could come up with a better solution. At the same time, the guy who is managing that and whatever else...more power to him. If he messes up, someone should show him the door. However, he shouldn't be embarrassed nationally in the process.

Cool
Cool

@BTB117 I guess with your reasoning, I should not be so harsh on Charles Manson, because after all, he puts up a great defense when questioned and he doesn't back down.. hot dog, now that you mention it, I hope he becomes my neighbor if they ever release him.

FredHurvitz
FredHurvitz

The guys is a complete hypocrite! A total embarrassment for the NCAA. I look forward to his demise. I can't believe that the university presidents are willing to put up with this jerk!

a52wkhi
a52wkhi

@cmryan07 @a52wkhi <Sigh> No jurisdiction in "Criminal matters" is a cop-out and is emblematic of a PSU apologist.  IMO and of many others, ANY SORT of malfeasance by any sports program by any college deserves sanctions by the NCAA. That's their job. No overreach at all. As it is with any other walk of life. Convicted criminals lose their jobs, right to vote, etc., as well as face criminal proceedings. To exempt college athletics from these multifaceted penalties is a gross overreach of favortism. 

AnnabelLee
AnnabelLee

@a52wkhi @cmryan07 That's a load of crap emblematic of shallow thinker.  The NCAA sanctions are a result of media pressure.  If Sandusky commits a less hideous crime such as theft, embezzlement, or assault, then there is no media frenzy and no NCAA sanctions, nor should there be.  NCAA sanctions are for punishing cheaters, not criminals.

a52wkhi
a52wkhi

@azathoth @a52wkhi @cmryan07 Those players and coaches can and should get suspensions from a number of games or entire seasons for those offenses. If the school doesn't do it, the NCAA should step in and do it. The NFL levies fines and suspensions, the NCAA should too.

azathoth
azathoth

@a52wkhi @cmryan07 So what does Auburn get for the 4 players on trial?  How about DUIs by players or coaches.  Players getting into fights.  Domestic violence.  Drug use.  Or is it just Penn State you're concerned about?

Cool
Cool

@BTB117 You think it is cool that Emmert is standing up to the media.. If that is all it takes to get you to like him, I am suggesting you might like Charles Manson as well. Just because someone stands up to the media does not make them right or a hero.. it just makes them a loud mouth.