Mark Emmert doesn’t think we can handle the truth.

One thing’s becoming pretty clear.  Mark Emmert is a thin-skinned dude.

Several media and others recently concluded that very different situations involving student-athlete eligibility should be considered independent of their unique circumstances or interpreted with a “one size fits all” approach.

In particular, they are comparing recent decisions involving The Ohio State University and Auburn University (and others). Some have even suggested the NCAA plays favorites in these types of situations based in part or in whole on financial considerations.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

There’s an “Again, this strays from the truth”, an “another myth with no basis in fact” and an “Any insinuation… is absurd” tossed in for good measure, in case you’re wondering how big a hissy fit Emmert is having over this.

If I can pick at just one bone in the pronouncement though, how do we reconcile this…

In relation to the decision last week involving rules violations with football student-athletes at Ohio State, several current student-athletes were interviewed as part of our fact-gathering process. They indicated they were not aware there was a violation and learned of the issue based on later rules education, which was confirmed by OSU through interviews and supporting documentation.

Inadequate rules education is often cited in student-athlete reinstatement and other waiver cases…

with this statement from a former teammate of the suspended Ohio State players?

… Also in question is Smith’s comments the suspended players “didn’t know” they weren’t allowed to sell their Ohio State-issued items.

One former Buckeye, Euclid graduate Thaddeus Gibson, is questioning Smith’s statements. Gibson was signed by the 49ers this season after being cut by the Steelers, the team that drafted him in last April’s NFL draft.

Gibson told The Lantern, OSU’s student newspaper, last weekend he and the team were told often not to sell their personal items.

“Oh yeah, they (Smith and the coaches) talked about it a lot,” Gibson said.

That’s a pretty big contradiction there.  Either the NCAA’s fact-gathering process could stand a little polishing or the decision makers who based their ruling on that process could.  “Nothing could be farther from the truth” doesn’t really cut it as a definitive report.  As a fan of one of those “and others” institutions that took it on the chin from the NCAA earlier this year, I’d sure like to hear a specific explanation about how A.J. Green’s situation differed from Terrelle Pryor’s.


UPDATE: Or, to put it another way

I also wonder what Georgia and its star receiver, A.J. Green, must be thinking right now.

If there is indeed such a thing as selective suspensions, which obviously there is, why was Green not allowed to play in some of those tougher SEC games to begin the season against South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State and then sit out that stretch that included Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky?

He sold one of his game jerseys and was saddled with a four-game suspension that began immediately.

More and more, it’s starting to sound like the way to go for players is to plead ignorance, that they didn’t know a certain rule was in place or that they didn’t know a family member was shopping them to a school.

This latest ruling with the Ohio State players sets another dangerous precedent.


UPDATE #2: Seth Emerson asks a question that’s been on my mind.

… If the jersey-selling incident were only coming up now, and Green (having played all season) was on the verge of winning the Heisman, and Georgia was in a BCS game, would the NCAA have still doled out a four-game suspension, starting immediately?


Filed under The NCAA

25 responses to “Mark Emmert doesn’t think we can handle the truth.

  1. Boz is reporting that the Sugar Bowl President heavily lobbied Smith and Delaney to be sure to do everything they could to keep the players eligible…

    I’m pretty sure this is not the type of press the NCAA wants floating around. And surely this type of comment would have never come out of a playoff organizer sanctioned by the NCAA.


  2. Castleberry

    I like this –
    “Put simply, had Cam Newton’s father or a third party actually received money or benefits for his recruitment, Cam Newton would have been declared ineligible regardless of his lack of knowledge.”

    Does he mean ineligible for the bowl game or for the first x games of 2011?


  3. I’ve always found the Cam Newton rationalization (because the shakedown wasn’t proven to be successful, he gets a pass) breathtaking. Try applying that precedent elsewhere in society:

    Guy tries to rob your house, but your pit bull ran him off. Judge: Oh, well. No harm, no foul.

    ‘Twould be a brave new world, indeed.


    • Go Dawgs!

      That’s an excellent point. That’s attempted burglary, and the NCAA’s rules already seemed to specify pre-Cam that just asking for the benefits would make you ineligible. Attempted Cheating.


    • Will (the other one)

      Eugene Robinson would’ve suited up for the Falcons in the 99 Superbowl. “No your honor, I only attempted to get a woman to have sex for money, she didn’t actually take the money or perform any sex acts in exchange.”


  4. Russ

    What a douche.


  5. Go Dawgs!

    On another, unrelated note, am I the only one who wants to punch someone when people refer to Ohio State as “THE Ohio State University” or capitalize the “The” in the school’s name? Ugh.


  6. flukebucket

    Anytime anybody tells you it is not about the money you can bet your sweet ass it is about the money.

    That is what I like most about Cam Newton. He walks around with a huge grin on his face after making the SEC and the NCAA look like idiots. And every time they put out some bullshit statement like the one linked to his grin just gets wider and wider.


  7. Cojones

    You writers aren’t trying to ask pertinent questions like:
    1. WHEN did the OSU players say that it hit home that they were wrong?
    2.Did they know of AJ’s sale?
    3.If their knowing about AJ didn’t provide the clue at the start of the season, WHY?
    4. They read about AJ and knew his case like the rest of the NCAA institutions. Why did they keep shut until now?
    5.Did their coaches tell them to lay low until season’s end?
    6.Their admission details when the infractions took place. Why aren’t they declared ineligible from that moment and made to forfeit games that ineligible players played? They took the chance that would happen by keeping their mouths shut, but that doesn’t make them eligible. They were ineligible and should forfeit all games during that period. Why else would UGA not play AJ until they got a ruling from the NCAA?

    I don’t understand why you writers don’t shoot at this elephant in the room. Am I incorrect that they are ineligible from the moment of their equipment sale? If that’s the case why did we hold AJ out of the first two games?
    How does this stack up against the reasoning to forfeit FSU’s games and Alabama’s forfeitures after the fact , but not before discovering and self-admitting their problems?

    This should not die or rest until the NCAA can answer these questions for the rest of their institutions or declare these people bowl ineligible and forfeit games.


    • Castleberry

      Damn good point. When I first heard about the tatoos I told my Michigan buddy that they won. I just knew they’d retroactively forfeit wins from this season.


  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    Nice try, Emmert. Nice try.


  9. Macallanlover

    At this point it is safe to say Emmert is: A) seriously over his head in his new job and/or, B) totally lacking in character/integrity. Either of those alone is justification enough for the Presidents to demand a recount and get someone else in the job before he destroys what little credibility the NCAA has left with it’s constituents (institutions and fans). Has he not fumbled EVERY single snap in his first year on the job?


  10. GunnyDawg

    I’m assuming full knowledge of the scope and depth of the infractions didn’t occur until after bowl selections. If that is the case, then thats why the games aren’t forfieted. To forfiet those games would mean OSU would be winless and bowl ineligible. If that was the case then all hell would break loose on how to reselect bowl teams. If it was known prior to bowl selections and I was a President/head coach of a 1 loss team on the outside looking in, I’d go F’in ballistic.

    Its just an assumption, and i’m sure everyone on here knows what happens when you ‘Assume’ anything?


  11. JasonC

    Basically, the NCAA is a supporter of ‘student athletes’. They just want them to be stupid effin’ athletes so the NCAA doesn’t have to take any responsibility for them.