If Mark Emmert didn’t exist, Claire McCaskill wouldn’t want to invent him.

As far as problem solving goes, yesterday’s appearance by the NCAA president in front of a Senate committee hearing was expectedly short on specifics, but as far as political theater goes, it was boffo.

McCaskill offered some of the sharpest criticism of Emmert, questioning why his role exists if he can’t shape reform or prevent athletic departments from investigating sexual assaults.

“I can’t tell if you’re in charge or a minion” to the schools, McCaskill said. “If you’re merely a monetary pass-through, why should you exist?”

As best I can tell, the bulk of Emmert’s day was spent listening to harsh criticism of the NCAA’s role in college athletics and quite often commiserating with his critics.

But it was New Jersey’s Cory Booker, who played football at Stanford, who got off the shot of the day.

Booker questioned why the NCAA can move quickly when schools’ money and reputation are at stake, but not on basic issues for athletes. Booker noted that Cam Newton’s eligibility problems at Auburn were adjudicated quickly in 2010 so he could continue playing, yet Ramsay’s academic issues at North Carolina took far longer.

Sounds like the man’s been reading a few comment threads at a football blog somewhere.

I’m not being totally fair to McCaskill, as she did manage to drop a major substantive matter into the discussion.

More than 20 percent of universities give their athletic departments oversight of sexual violence cases involving college athletes, according to a report released Wednesday by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

I may be appalled by that statistic, but I am not surprised.  Unlike Emmert and his constituents.  Supposedly.

Emmert said he only read McCaskill’s sexual assault data on Wednesday and wants to better understand the results. He agreed the survey results contain an “enormous” amount of conflicts of interest that don’t help sexual assault victims.

Emmert said most NCAA members “are going to be very surprised” by the sexual assault data. Several senators called on Emmert and university presidents to change their procedures immediately.

If Emmert is right there, that’s just further proof of how detached school presidents are from the reality of how college athletics operate.  Not to mention that it’s more fuel for a certain kind of fire.

Rockefeller, who has said he isn’t seeking re-election in 2014, said that if the Democrats control Congress “we want to make this a continuing subject of this oversight committee. We have oversight of sports. All sports. We have the ability to subpoena. We have a special investigative unit. We are very into this subject. This is part of a process here.”

Remember, these are the people Jim Delany hopes to engage for protection after the NCAA gets its clock cleaned in antitrust litigation.

In the end, though, it always comes back to Emmert’s leadership, or lack thereof.

Emmert said the hearing was a “useful cattle prod. It makes sure we know that the world is watching, that the Senate is watching. I believe we will wind up in the right place in a couple of months (after NCAA governance changes). If we don’t, I’m sure we’ll have these conversations again.”

As long as Mark Emmert’s talking, you know he cares.

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27 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

27 responses to “If Mark Emmert didn’t exist, Claire McCaskill wouldn’t want to invent him.

  1. Timphd

    “More than 20 percent of universities give their athletic departments oversight of sexual violence cases involving college athletes”. Wow. Just wow.

  2. I Wanna Red Cup

    I got the CBS Big Brother block again. I hate those guys. Emmert is a total buffoon. The College Prezes should be embarrassed. Sounds like what the racists used to say about integration. We are working on it, but have to go slow. But we can sure cash all the TV checks timely.

  3. W Cobb Dawg

    CFB has plenty of skeletons in, and out, of the closet. Sexual assaults, sCam, extravagently paid coaches, players compensation, etc. Not sure I’d be lining up my support like those 6 congressmen did last week.

  4. CreswellKing

    This is what college football needs. More bureaucrats and politicians rummaging through the rules without a counter balance.

    • Noonan

      Not to worry. Congress has a problem-solving resume. Recent examples: healthcare and immigration.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        What you say is true, but meddling in college sports is something easy to agree about…good for the polls and the pols, they are in it folks. Makes great theater and can be used to distract us voters from the ineptitude in other areas.

    • James

      You don’t think the status quo is functioning as a counter balance here?

      • Tom

        Get the politicians involved and college sports is dead, dead, dead. Will never be the same when their solutions are instituted. Lots of things wrong in college athletics, politicians and their laws, edicts are not the solution.

        Per Noonan: Not to worry. Congress has a problem-solving resume. Recent examples: healthcare and immigration.

        • James

          They did a pretty good job with Standard Oil, which is way more analogues than your examples.

          • Hackerdog

            Politicians did what? Interfere in the market to grant one company an advantage over its competitors, and then feign righteous indignation at the “problem” (as if cheap oil were a problem) that they helped create, in order to interfere some more? I guess that’s true. I guess there’s no situation where politicians can’t convince themselves, and some others, that regulation is not only necessary, but morally imperative.

          • CreswellKing

            Standard Oil was over 100 years ago. Not that good of analogy to me.

  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    Ok…so I dozed off during the World Cup, man that shit is sooooo exciting, my finger hit the channel button and suddenly there was Mark Emmert being parboiled by a Senate committee.

    Emmert had the same look on his face as a cigar store Indian…oops, cigar store native American.

    All he needed was a cartoon balloon saying “Ohhhh beat me ladies, I love it, smack me around some more please.”

    I am not exactly sure what the senators expect Mark Emmert to do about sexual assault cases on individual college campuses unless the athletic department is involved in covering them up…and yes FSU I am looking at you…

    The horrific numbers on sexual assault on campus are staggering.

    I thought Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was especially compelling, especially since she quickly mentioned her college affiliation, yep THAT Penn State…
    I thought I saw Emmert take a breath, but maybe that was an illusion.

    In one sense it is horrifying to see politicians involved in college sports, on the other it was nice to see some continuity across party lines.

    I think senate hearings are more interesting than the World Cup. The hearings have clocks.

  6. I Wanna Red Cup

    The Watergate hearings were excellent theatre. Yes, I am an old fart.

  7. Dog in Fla

    “Emmert said most NCAA members ‘are going to be very surprised’ by the sexual assault data.”

    Surely most NCAA members will be surprised only by the rape data coming out at a congressional hearing, not by the acts of rape upon which the data is based

    http://pwrfwd.net/2013/09/26/a-list-of-college-football-rape-cases/

    • Hackerdog

      Any source claiming that one in five women on college campuses are raped is immediately exposed as being pure bullshit. One in five women in Somalia aren’t raped. One in five women in prison aren’t raped. So you can bet your ass that one in five college girls aren’t raped. Unless you count drinking a beer and hooking up as being raped, which these idiots do.

  8. Deutschland Domiciliary Dog

    Two thoughts:

    1. The NCAA is sooo screwed if (when?) they lose the antitrust litigation.
    2. Sexual assault investigations need to be in the hands of professional law enforcement, not the athletic departments and not the universities themselves.

    Having said #2, local police departments must not consider themselves adjuncts of athletic departments like they do in Tallahassee and Gainesville. It is also true that athletes have been screwed by ordinary law enforcement (Duke lacrosse team), but at least there are safeguards (Durham’s head prosecutor disbarred for prosecutorial misconduct) in the “real” legal system.

    • Hackerdog

      Absolutely. Unfortunately, Mike Nifong’s professional sanctions for misconduct are the exception to the rule. He was the first sitting DA in the history of the state to be disbarred. I very much doubt he is the first to deserve it.

      But, the solution to a flawed legal system is not for rape cases to be turned over to college administrators under no obligation to follow rules of evidence or impartiality and under pressure from the federal government to keep dollars flowing by making an example of the accused.

  9. Alkaline

    The NCAA is an entirely member-controlled organization… which means it’s basically just a puppet organization as McCaskill points out. All of the real power lies in the collective of School Presidents and they haven’t actually given much real authority to the NCAA to govern its members. On one side the Presidents rarely agree on issues and have little time to devote to sports. On the other side the NCAA has too much time for sports so it makes up stupid rules that it has only minimal ability to enforce. Voila! …you’ve ended up with a stagnant, tax-exempt shell corporation that accepts most of the political liability and then skims a cut off the top before distributing cash back to the basketball schools.

    In a way I feel bad for Emmert. Early in his presidency he attempted to consolidate power into the NCAA offices with actions like getting the stipend passed and by cracking down hard on Penn St for horrific lack of oversight. But both of those ended up (predictably) backfiring, and his constituency has turned on him. At this point I think he’s been singled-out internally to be the fall guy for the sea change in amateurism that’s about to happen.

  10. Will Trane

    Is it good to see a Democratic controlled Senate go down the land of investigating the NCAA. Issues facing America and this is where they want to go. As if the NCAA is some criminal. Bears a close resemblence to the days of the Tudors and the Privy Council. Just because Corey Booker was a Stanford or the “barely I can speak” Senator Ayotte re PSU makes all these guys and gals experts on NCAA sports. The elites of Washington DC again want to regulate everything you do.
    No doubt there are issues within the NCAA, but to start walking this thru DC. Go ahead Senate. Collegiate sports has a lot of money and power. So do Univerisities. If they want to keep fans in the Stadiums, alumni giving for those high salaries, and ESPN coverage / advertisers…well continue to kick up the sod.
    These people have too much time on their hands. And there are clearly more important issues than the US Senate to start a parlay into this area. They are already want to tamper with NFL team logos and names. No doubt PETA will follow a Democratic controlled Senate in not allowing UGAs to be on the fields in a little red doghouse during game.
    Here is my summation. Damn outrageous conduct by the Senate. Maybe the people of the state of Georgia will ask Ms Nunn, Senatorial candidate her views on this…after all it is a national issue now. Curious what Kingston and Perdue would say. Or retiring Chambliss and current Isakson. Most of those are UGA grads. \
    Here is my message to all of them. Buy a ticket, sports package, give to a club and stay of the damn fields of plays. It is not perfect, but a lot damn better than what goes on in stagnant DC.

    • Dog in Fla

      “Curious what Kingston and Perdue would say”:

      They would say they would “make the rejection of the Medicaid expansion, along with the complete repeal of Obamacare, an ontological principle expandable to other planets.”

      http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2014_05/whos_really_dodging_obamacare050423.php

    • While your notation of the collegiate sponsorship of members of Congress is relevant in regards to the likelihood of sanctioning upon the NCAA’s behavior, the rest of that is not. The Senate is holding hearings because the government’s judicial arm is becoming heavily involved (three federal cases at the moment – I would say it is rational to believe the NCAA potentially may be criminal), not to mention educational funding is in their purview. Those rules come from the legislature, so some review is in order. From the NCAA’s perspective, they’d like congressional involvement because that would potentially make the cases moot and offer a greater chance of survival for the institution. From the athletes’ perspective, they would like someone to call out this farce. From the lawmakers’ perspective, this pile of garbage may have gone on long enough for some letters to find their way to desks, athletics just doesn’t seem to be academics, and, well, McCaskill’s really got a problem with rape (and she should, with the numbers she’s seeing).

      But what affects you as a taxpayer, you may ask? How about this – the members of the NCAA, especially Division I, are (with the singular exception of Grand Canyon University) non-profit educational institutions, to which donations are given in return for opportunities for seats at football games. Given that the athletics used to fuel donations is doing so in a manner suspect of being for-profit, it would be completely within their job description to monitor the interstate commerce that is athletes flown across the globe on a weekly basis for four to five months out of the year to market colleges and their brand.

  11. Dog in Fla

    “Emmert declined an invitation from Rockefeller to make a concluding statement. After the hearing, Emmert deflected questions from reporters while being led to a freight elevator to leave the building.”

    http://www.masslive.com/sports/index.ssf/2014/07/ncaa_president_mark_emmert_cal.html

  12. Will Trane

    Yep, Kingston or Perdue should hammer Nunn on the Democrats want to control UGA, GT, Georgia Southern, VSU, & etc sports. Want to get into your ticket allotment, mascots, school colors, and etc.

  13. Always Someone Else's Fault

    It’s the rare beast that (a) can make Rs and Ds agree and (b) has a lower public opinion rating than Congress itself. Everyone in Washington sees benefit in hammering the NCAA, although those benefits do vary according to audience. Delany must be hoping that when push comes to shove voters would rather line up behind State U than oppose the NCAA. Seems an iffty bet. Most big school fan bases have some sort of permanent gripe with the NCAA, either for coming down too hard on their own school or letting a rival skate on what appeared to be slam dunk violations.

    As for the sexual assault issues, is this the same man who got medieval on Paterno U? If he didn’t bother to educate himself on those issues then…?

    I just don’t see the NCAA having a future. No “under new management” sign is going to rehabilitate this brand. It’s too far gone.

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