2022 really hasn’t been Mark Emmert’s year.
While Congress is cracking down on just about every facet of the NCAA that they can think of, and the organization’s tight fist gets forced open by revelations of their sheer inability to effectively regulate college athletics, Emmert had to get up on a nationally televised stage and present the NCAA Basketball National Championship trophy to Bill Self, who has been under investigation from the NCAA for the past five years, after his Kansas team beat UNC 72-69 in New Orleans last night.
Facing five Level I violations for illegal recruitment practices in an ongoing case that has not only gotten coaches fired, but sent Adidas employees to prison, Self and the Jayhawks seemed to float above the allegations, basking in the glory of the win and in the lifetime contract that Self received in 2021. With the NCAA’s slow-moving ineffectiveness on full display, represented by Emmert handing over that trophy to Self, the FBI probe seemed to be the last thing on KU’s mind after the one-seed pulled off the biggest comeback in NCAA championship history.
Maybe the embarrassment of that situation was occupying his thoughts, because Emmert flubbed the introduction of the national championship winners, calling them the “Kansas City Jayhawks.” Of course, Kansas City is in the state of Missouri, and the four-time-champions aren’t exactly nobodies in the sport. It was a tough night all around for the NCAA president.
Emmert wasn’t the only announcer this weekend to mess up a name — ESPN’s Holly Rowe referred to South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, as “Aaliyah Edwards” — a gaffe made worse by the fact that there was an Aaliyah Edwards in the building, a sophomore on the UConn team that Boston and the Gamecocks had just defeated in the women’s national championship game. Rowe later tweeted an apology, writing, “brain cramps happen.”
We’re wishing farewell to the greatest two weeks in sports until next year. At that point, Kansas may be facing sanctions including scholarship reductions, a suspension for Self, or a postseason ban, which would leave them unable to defend their title. Per CBS Sports, the penalties are reportedly coming soon and will not go easy on the Jayhawks’ program.