Mark Emmert wants you to know he’s not blind. He knows about the money.
“(There’s) enormous tension right now that’s growing between the collegiate model and the commercial model,” said Emmert, who spoke as part of Marquette’s “On the Issues” forum. “And, by the way, this is nothing new. This tension has been going on forever and ever. It has gotten greater now because the magnitude of dollars has gotten really, really large.”
“The most valuable (television) products are things you have to watch in real time, and that’s sports and ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” he added. “So we’re seeing an explosion in the value of sports media properties and that’s injected a lot of revenue into sports. … That’s led to a lot of the discussion. This whole notion of, first and foremost, treating student-athletes in fair fashion while still maintaining the student-athlete, is at the core of all of this.”
Don’t you just love the artificial distinction between “the collegiate model and the commercial model”? Why, for a second there, you’d almost think nobody in the college world was getting paid.
That’s almost as good as the conceit that you can’t be a student-athlete and receive compensation – whether from the schools, or from outside sources – at the same time, even though every student-athlete on scholarship is getting just that (and Emmert’s pushing to allow a stipend on top of that).
But the man has a talk to the hand solution for those kids who can’t believe they’re getting a fair shake.
One way to address that would be by allowing athletes to turn pro straight out of high school, Emmert said, something the NBA and NFL don’t allow. Other professions don’t impose an “artificial juncture,” he said, noting that ballet dancers don’t have to take a detour to college before joining a troupe. He also pointed to baseball’s two-track model.
Players can turn pro out of high school. If they choose to go to college, however, they must stay until after their third year or they turn 21.
“It’s a dynamic tension that we really need to work on because it’s at heart of part of what (we’re) talking about here,” he said. “Why would we want to force someone to go to school when they really don’t want to be there? But if you’re going to come to us, you’re going to be a student.”
Yes, you get right on that, Mark. Because I’m sure the NFL and NBA will be quite receptive to your pitch that they should share some of their hard-earned dollars with the players so your constituents won’t have to.
The man is either cynical or stupid. You pick.