Opinion | Mark Emmert signals leadership failure in NCAA
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 22:02
Corruption and the failure to act in light of allegations are central to the all-too-hypocritical, profit-first organization known as the NCAA.
The truth is out; the NCAA has lost its sense of mission and the ethics of college athletics are along for the ride.
Since its establishment in 1910, the NCAA has continued to play a significant role in the world of college sports. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems that the NCAA is running as smoothly as ever and has dealt adequately with infractions as they come up. However, from a college sports enthusiast’s point of view, the recent decade of the NCAA has been a tumultuous one, to say the least.
As any sports fan and level-headed individual knows, it is rather ironic to see that Emmert and his NCAA staff members turn a blind eye to many violations at certain schools while dropping the hammer on others. Most recently, the NCAA failed to act accordingly in discovering that a former University of Miami booster, Nevin Shapiro, provided football players with money, visits to strip clubs, and other benefits that clearly violate the apparent “rules” set forth by the NCAA.
Even more ironic is the fact that the NCAA’s investigation into this matter included an internal investigation of its own enforcement staff. That alone is nothing short of laughable. If the organization claims to play an integral role in the success of collegiate athletics while promoting ethical behavior, how is it unable to appropriately monitor the actions of its enforcement staff?
After Shapiro had been convicted of running a huge ponzi scheme that inevitably allowed him to fund the various activities for Hurricane players, the NCAA attempted to uncover more details of the university’s knowledge about the illegal benefits. In the public eye, the NCAA did nothing wrong in reaching out to the imprisoned Shapiro and his legal team.
However, the compliance team violated NCAA bylaws when they paid Shapiro’s lawyers upwards of $20,000 and used subpoena power (which it doesn’t have) to attain additional information about the case. It is estimated that about 20 percent of the information collected in the Shapiro case resulted from this illegal deal, and now the NCAA can’t use any of it.
In response to the breach of ethical conduct, Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach, was relieved of her duties last Monday. She knowingly extended the NCAA’s legal capabilities in this case, she got caught, and now she is paying the price.
What was Emmert’s role in all of this? Of course, he claimed he had no knowledge of the payments for additional information.
Obviously something is wrong here, in denying knowledge of Lach’s role in the case, Emmert is either blatantly lying to the public or is incapable of controlling his own staff.
It is interesting that Emmert can drop the hammer on Penn State and other schools for being ignorant to what was happening around them, but when Emmert presents the same ignorance, he is not reprimanded. How does one expect schools to hold its athletic administrators accountable when the NCAA can’t even do it?
Based on Emmert’s failure to lead accordingly since accepting the position of president in 2010, one thing is for certain: Mark Emmert needs to go.
If the NCAA wants to right its image, it must take drastic measures to do so.
The image correction will not happen overnight, it will be a long process. Should the NCAA hope to regain its integrity and the trust of the college sports fans, it is imperative that the organization improves its compliance sector significantly and adopts a new moral code.