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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Mark Emmert Is The NCAA's Teflon Don

Illustration for article titled Mark Emmert Is The NCAA's Teflon Don

Since taking over as president of the NCAA in 2010, Mark Emmert has overseen the unjust railroading of the Penn State football program in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, as well as the shoddily run investigation into the University of Miami, which only succeeded in revealing the NCAA to be just as shady and underhanded as the programs it intends to police. And yet, Emmert gets to keep his job and continue his various crusades against those who "lack institutional control." This shouldn't surprise us, though. As USA Today points out, Emmert has long been adept at avoiding scrutiny.

Brent Schrotenboer takes a deep dive into Emmert's professional past, and he finds a recurring pattern: Emmert rises to a position of power at a particular university, some sort of scandal or administrative failure arises, Emmert does what he can to shift the blame away from himself, and then skips town before shit really hits the fan. Such was the case at Montana State, LSU, and UConn.


Emmert's failures at UConn are the most egregious, and have to do with his overseeing of a $1 billion dollar construction project that devolved into a mess of budget overruns and code violations. According to two separate investigations into the project's failure, Emmert was aware of the problems with the project, and cost the state $100 million by not blowing the whistle:

But two investigations—one by [Jonathan] Pelto's commission and another by the UConn board of trustees—concluded many of the problems could have been avoided if somebody had blown the whistle after problems became apparent years earlier.

A handwritten memo on Emmert's stationery from 1998 lists a "summary of big issues" regarding the construction project. The memo outlines a debriefing by a company, PinnacleOne, which performed an audit that raised several serious concerns, including financial issues, problems with design standards and the experience of the staff working on the project.

"Mark Emmert's own notes indicate he was aware of at least six key issues," according to a report by a board of trustees member in 2005.

Of course, Emmert escaped shouldering any of the blame at the time. Two of his subordinates were placed on administrative leave and eventually resigned following the project's failure, but Emmert moved on to become the chancellor at LSU in 1999. Sound familiar? It should if you recall that this year has seen five of Emmert's subordinates depart from the NCAA (either by firing, retirement, or resignation) following their participation in various fuck ups that occurred under his supervision. If Mark Emmert has one skill, it's an innate ability to pass the buck.


[USA Today]

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