عالمية عالمية

Mark Emmert receiving contract extension as NCAA president should draw disappointment but not surprise

The hilarious announcement was made Tuesday night, but the reaction was even funnier. Buried in a press release blasted out after 9 p.m. ET, the NCAA disclosed that its Board of Governors had unanimously voted to extend NCAA president Mark Emmert’s contract by two years through Dec. 31, 2025. Hahaha. But I genuinely didn’t understand the initial reaction on Twitter, which seemed to be disappointment mixed with … surprise.

How could anyone be surprised?

Emmert’s extension, though clumsily timed, is just about the least-surprising thing in the world if you understand how this stuff works. Why anybody found it hard to believe that the Board of Governors would want to keep him in power is way more hysterical than the Board of Governors actually voting to keep Emmert in power.

He’s perfect for them!

This is a man who traded his soul years ago for a multimillion-dollar annual salary — someone who sacrificed his integrity to protect, as much as he can, the status quo. Don’t ever forget: just because you think he’s terrible at his job doesn’t mean they think he’s terrible at his job. In truth, Emmert has forever been doing what these people want him to do, which is, among other things, stall on any meaningful reform when it comes to name, image and likeness rights for student-athletes. Have there been blunders along the way? Yes, too many to count — most recently the debacle that was how the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament was funded and run, which makes the timing of this announcement, at best, tone deaf. But, blunders and all, the Association’s top governing body is more than happy to continue to pay Emmert well because he’s willing to be the face of their greedy desires.

He’s a comfortable whipping boy. It’s as simple as that.

I mean, do you really think a Board of Governors largely comprised of university presidents and chancellors actually want student-athletes enjoying true name, image and likeness rights when one byproduct of that would be money that normally goes straight to schools instead going directly to players? 

Please.

So what they do is continue to employ a president who is willing to publicly peddle nonsensical reasons for why student-athletes still don’t have sensible name, image and likeness rights in April 2021. Emmert fights their fight in the light while they put off reform as long as possible and mostly remain in the shadows.

“As we have previously noted, we recognize the importance of taking swift, appropriate action to modernize our rules,” read Tuesday’s statement from the Board of Governors. “We also must collaborate with Congress to create a legal and legislative framework at the federal level to support name, image and likeness within the context of higher education.”

That. Is. A. Lie.

The NCAA most certainly does not have to collaborate with Congress to modernize name, image and likeness rules. The NCAA has created a bazillion rules over the years without collaborating with Congress — rules about what coaches can and cannot do, rules about what players can and cannot do, rules about what boosters can and cannot do, so on and so forth. If the NCAA wanted to modernize name, image and likeness rules, it could’ve done so years ago with literally zero input from Congress. So when the NCAA insists it “must collaborate with Congress” on name, image and likeness rules, that’s just the NCAA hoping you’re dumb enough to believe it. And because Mark Emmert is fine with being the face of that lie, his contract gets extended through the end of 2025.

Do I understand the disappointment from the masses?

Of course.

The surprise, however, is naivety at its finest.

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