Mark Emmert is the man at the helm of the scam that is the NCAA. He oversees an organization that made over $1 billion in revenue in 2014, and for his troubles, he gets a $1.8 million salary (and that was as of 2013; he’s almost assuredly making more now). The athletes who make him his money are promised an education in return for making him a very rich man, and no matter what he says about how great this arrangement is for those lower on the pyramid than him, he’s full of shit.
That’s a broadly drawn classification, but here’s a very specific example: USA Today reports that Emmert signed an agreement to donate $100,000 to the University of Washington (his former employer) in 2006 and has thus far only given up half of what he promised. The money was for a scholarship fund, and because Emmert shorted UW, they couldn’t provide the scholarship aid they promised:
After becoming one of the nation’s highest-paid public school presidents at the University of Washington, Emmert signed a pledge form that year to give some of his money back to the school — $100,000 to go toward a scholarship fund.
Records obtained by USA TODAY Sports show $51,000 of the $100,000 pledge was paid by January 2010, but the rest of the pledge went unpaid after Emmert left the UW, his alma mater, to become president of the NCAA later that year. Another person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the pledge was only half-paid, leading the university to endow the scholarship at half its planned amount.
Emmert released a greasy, meaningless statement:
“Personal philanthropy is a private matter for individuals and their families,” Emmert’s statement said. “My family and I care greatly for the University of Washington and will continue to support it throughout our lives.”
A university president’s job is to serve as chief fundraiser and, as the report notes, reneging on your own fundraising promises sets a bad precedent. Also, his new job as an NCAA commissioner is to make the intellectually dishonest, exploitative claim that teenagers are in the wrong to earn miniscule amounts of cash, but that making him a very rich man is good because he helps give them an education. $49,000 is a lot of money, but shorting a scholarship fund that might be used to compensate the athletes he exploits is nakedly cynical.