Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Firing Mark Emmert would be a great first step toward NCAA reform

Mark Emmert brings in a ton of money for the NCAA, but what is he costing them?
Mark Emmert brings in a ton of money for the NCAA, but what is he costing them?
Image: AP

If you’re reading this, then it means that you have some kind of understanding of the hell-storm that the NCAA has been dealing with over the past week. Not that it should be confused with the hell-storms that the “non-profit organization” seems to always be entangled with. However, I’m guessing that you have a sense that the last few days have been particularly dramatic.

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But, before I explain to you why NCAA President Mark Emmert should be fired, I need you to first understand why he’s still employed. According to USA Today Sports, Emmert made close to $4 million during the 2017 calendar year. The 2016-2017 school year is also the first time the NCAA pulled in a billion dollars in revenue, as they have been near or above that mark since.

Is it starting to make sense, yet?

Emmert takes home a lot of money because the NCAA has made a lot of money since he’s been in charge. Success, despite the semantics, generally leads to job security and bonuses. But, as you’re about to find out, just because the large amounts of money you bring in makes many look the other way when it comes to your wrongdoings, it doesn’t also mean it’s the best business decision.

Over the past week, the NCAA’s past and current sins finally caught up to them as their sexism was called to the carpet in every way imaginable. We found out that the NCAA didn’t have photographers for the women’s tournament, that the women weren’t getting the same COVID-19 tests as the men, and that the weight room that was set up for the women consisted of a few dumbbells and a couple of exercise mats. People were outraged, and current and former coaches openly discussed that this is how things have always been.

The disrespect has been impossible to ignore.

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During the tournament, you might have noticed certain athletes using the hashtag #NotNCAAproperty, or wearing shirts with it on the sidelines, as the name, image, and likeness (NIL) movement keeps being stalled by Emmert and the powers to be at the NCAA.

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But instead of meeting with players who are/were willing to find time as they’re attempting to win a national championship, Emmert has decided to push things back until after March Madness, when the attention and focus around the issues aren’t in the news, as casual fans only care about the sport during March, which is something Emmert is well aware of.

The cancelation of last year’s NCAA tournament cost the NCAA roughly $800 million, as it’s annually responsible for around 98 percent of their revenue. Last year, the Washington Post discovered that in 2015 the NCAA, during Emmert’s tenure, had spent the money – more than $400 million – it saved in case a tournament was ever canceled without increasing their insurance coverage.

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“It was a managerial error,” a former NCAA employee told the Post. “They made a decision to be exposed. … This didn’t have to happen.”

And according to Yahoo Sports, Emmert’s 2016 bungling of the NCAA Tournament’s television contract with CBS and Turner could cost the NCAA $3.5 billion, due to Emmert’s decision to extend the deal until 2032 instead of taking it to market.

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The NCAA has proven that they’re unbothered by the negative attention that comes from how they choose to operate, as long as Emmert keeps generating revenue. But as you can see, if the drama he often creates isn’t a fireable offense, then shouldn’t the mishandling of millions and billions be enough?

Apparently not.

When you decide to dance with the devil it’s supposed to be a short-term partnership. But in the case of Mark Emmert and the NCAA, it feels more like a problematic marriage without a prenup.

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 & 2020 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.