I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that it’s not a good thing when the judge asks the NCAA president that question in the context of justifying the amateurism protocol Mark Emmert was attempting to defend yesterday. Emmert’s answer, while honestly given, didn’t help much:
“When this rule again has been discussed by the membership, the answer to that would be both.” Wilken sought additional clarification, asking how receiving money for the use of their likenesses would harm the athletes. “The assumption is that by converting them into a professional athlete, they are no longer a student-athlete,” Emmert said. “They are not part of the academic environment. They’re not in a position to gain the advantages of being a student-athlete and being a student at that university. They are not there avocationally but vocationally.”
Wilken asked one more follow-up question. “And that is what you consider to be exploitation of them?”
“Yes,” Emmert replied. “In this language, yes.”
I guess anybody with a paying gig is exploited, then. Or just having a moneyed family. No, really.
In earlier testimony, Emmert said payments to players would “separate” and “isolate” the athletes from other students and from the academic life of the school. Wilken then asked whether the same isolation would apply to “students whose parents were rich and had money that other students did not.”
“It is the same problem,” Emmert said.
Hoo, boy. What’s the NCAA gonna do about that?
By the way, it’s not just student-athletes having money now that’s a problem for Emmert. It’s anytime in the future, too.
When Pomerantz asked whether Emmert and other NCAA officials had discussed the trust fund idea, Emmert replied, “Yes, we have discussed it and concluded that even it were paid after graduation, it was still not amateurism. It is still pay, whether paid today or paid tomorrow.”
But you know what is amateurism?
It didn’t get any better for the NCAA when Isaacson produced several images of current and past NCAA athletes appearing in promotional materials for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and other NCAA-sanctioned events. A photo of Wisconsin’s football players appearing at a Rose Bowl news conference — in front of a Vizio logo — also was presented into evidence. So was a photo of Texas A&M’s football players celebrating a bowl victory in front of a table featuring the Chick-fil-A and Kia logos.
“And that’s perfectly fine?” Isaacson asked Emmert.
“That’s fine under the rules,” Emmert replied. “It’s not something I’m personally comfortable with.”
Well, at least there’s that.
It’s not that Emmert is a putz. Okay, check that – he is a putz, but that’s not why he foundered so much yesterday (and probably will again today). He, just like everyone else on his side, is stuck having to defend the logically indefensible. It’s enfeebling.
To paraphrase the immortal words of Michael Corleone, Mark, you’re part of the same hypocrisy.