Does anyone pay attention to what Mark Emmert says?

I don’t know if you bothered to click on yesterday’s link to a Q&A with the NCAA president, but if you didn’t, you should have, if just for one exchange that John Infante highlights here.

But included in his interview with CBS Sports’ Jon Solomon is one bombshell:

Q: So give players representation. We already know that happens in baseball, although NCAA rules still restrict those players to an extent.

Emmert: I think that’s what I’m talking about. … I’m more than happy to have us all consider what should the model look like in relationship between us and professional sports leagues. OK, if you go play a year in the D-League, does that mean you never, ever come back to college to play? I don’t know. Maybe that’s something we need to think about.

Q: So if a player gets drafted and goes to the D-League, you’d be OK with the player returning to play in college?

Emmert: I’m open to consider that. But again, that’s me and not the members. I’m sure coaches would have their concerns about that and I understand why. You wouldn’t want it to be a revolving door that one year I’m here, the next year I’m in the D-League. You’d have to structure it.

Bombshell might be an understatement, honestly.  That’s huge.  That’s Emmert acknowledging an enormous change in the NCAA’s amateurism protocol might be something to consider.  The thing is, once you go there…

Emmert’s comments about this idea are vague and he acknowledges that any proposal or rule would be more complex with more structure. But some parts of that structure are assumed in the idea. To allow D-League players to return would mean a major rethinking of other amateurism rules. Having an agent would have to be allowed in some form, as would accepting endorsement money. The odds that those changes would not extend to other sports, especially in the current legal and political climate, seem very low.

But even more fundamentally, this idea represents a major rethinking of the philosophy of amateurism. Currently, amateurism is like a delicate object that each student-athlete has. Some things the student-athlete or others do damage the object. In some cases the damage is minor, repairs can be made, and the object is fine (i.e. reinstatement). Other times, the object is damaged beyond repair (i.e. permanent ineligibility).

What Emmert is proposing changes amateurism to a simple state an athlete might be in or not and one they could potentially switch back and forth between. College basketball players might still be amateur athletes, but only for the moment. Whether they were amateurs before or whether they will be amateurs continuously throughout their college career is of little or no concern.

Whoa, Nellie.

Now Infante goes on to say that he doesn’t see the membership going for this idea, which is probably also an understatement.  And I wonder how much of that was Emmert talking off the top of his head without much thought.  Because it’s one helluva retreat from what the organization has defended vigorously all this time.  I’ll be curious to hear if a retraction is coming.



Filed under The NCAA

13 responses to “Does anyone pay attention to what Mark Emmert says?

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    Just another indication that what we have suspected all along is true. The dumbassery really begins in the university president’s office.


  2. The other Doug

    I would like to see the NCAA allow the players to put their name in the draft and talk to agents, but still have the ability to come back if they don’t like where they were drafted. The player would need to stay in school during draft prep.


    • What does the team that drafted them do when that happens, are they just SOL and lose their draft pick?…………I doubt very seriously that will fly with the NFL


      • GaskillDawg

        I suspect the NCAA does not care whether the NFL likes it. The NFL did not care if the NCAA liked the NFL rule change allowing teams to draft players who still had eligibility, and value, to NCAA schools. The NFL gets great value from the NCAA fir which the NFL pays zero dollars. Nada. Player development, strength and conditioning, and, just as important, the top players already have star quality when drafted.

        Same with the NBA. The NBA rules allowing, as it was, players to go straight from HS and skip college, and now allowing players in the league after just one year, were not made with any concern for the NCAA in mind.

        The NFL is the biggest sports enterprise in America, and probably the world. It will survive.


        • My point is, teams in the NFL will not allow someone they drafted just to decide no I’m gonna go back to college because I did not go where I felt I should. Although it does make for the argument the NFL will quit drafting players until they have exhausted all years of eligibility.


          • GaskillDawg

            I understand your point and I respect it.

            That said,

            1. I do not want the NCAA to make policy decisions based upon what is good or bad for the NFL.
            2. The details of the players entry into the NFL, such as, the details of the draft, what college players are eligible for the draft, salary slots for the players drafted, the number of rounds, etc. are subject to collective bargaining with the NFL players association. The Players Association is an effective advocate for the players. I understand that prospective draftees are not members of the Association but the Association is concerned about the prospective players access to the league. My view is that the NCAA should let the Players Association advocate for the prospective NFL players.

            3. Teams are not going to stop drafting underclassmen if those underclassmen are in demand. There was a trial run of that issue. The NCAA at one time allowed NCAA basketball players to retain the eligibility to play NCAA basketball even if they made themselves available for the draft and were drafted. The players could, if they did not like their draft position, return to school and play, s long as they did not hire an agent . UGA had a 7 foot center, Charles Claxton, who did that. He was drafted as a junior (I think) by the Phoenix Suns. He did not like the offer from the Suns and played his senior year at UGA, fully eligible. NBA teams did not stop drafting desirable underclassmen. The NCAA changed the rule to eliminate players from testing the draft waters and returning because NCAA coaches did not like it; not because the NBA did not like it. (The NCAA coaches whined that million dollar coaches couldn’t figure out who to recruit if there was a chance a player could reject the team that drafted him and returned to school. )

            4. The NFL an protect itself by negotiating with teh players association reasonable rules changes such as awarding a team an extra draft pick in the same round if the previous year’s draft pick went back to school.

            Let the NFL and the NFL Players Association solve NFL problems. Let the NCAA make policy which is best for NCAA athletes rather than what is best for the NFL.


      • The other Doug

        Most kids won’t go back to college for another year just because they were drafted by the wrong team. They would go back to college because the money they will make in the NFL was too low or non-existent.

        Also, I’m sure NFL teams would ask potential draft picks if they would sign or go back to school.


  3. Kenneth

    Excuse me, but why then did we ever offer up Todd Gurley as a sacrificial lamb to a sanctimonious bastard like Emmert?

    The NCAA is the LAST place you give any credence to as they do not even know what the hell they are doing. Somebody should have long ago told them to STFU already and go away. But no…UGA had to give this dimwit outfit new life.

    Once Gurley figures all of this out he should hire a good lawyer and sue their pants off. Truth be told, he ought to take action against UGA as well.


    • What did UGA do to him that would deserve action against them? They paid for his lawyer, they provided substantial insurance for him to protect against a loss of value in the draft…..


  4. AusDawg85

    Not only has the Humpty-Dumpty of amateurism taken a fall, he was shoved off the wall by his supposed protectors…the NCAA and member institutions. Rational minds recognize that even if the pieces are glued back together, it ain’t ever going to be the same. Amateurism simply needs to be redefined for purposes of college athletics. Start with some simple premises:

    • Schools own their brand and image marketing rights to sell collectively to the WWL, licensing deals, etc. You can’t have star players wearing UGA uniforms and promoting car dealerships.
    • OTOH, kids can promote themselves and control their marketing rights other than when participating in athletics for the school. That’s how you get around players signing individual deals with ESPN or boycotting games. So Gurley can promote a car dealer, just can’t wear an UGA uniform doing it.

    • To control the money flow, caps on outside income could be placed in order to preserve amateur status. Schools should also provide the cost of living addition to the scholarships so that all S-A’s can benefit, not just the star athletes. You might even consider some type of offset to the COL fees to the stars who do earn more outside of the school, freeing up those dollars to go downstream to the other SA’s.

    • Compliance oversight can be done through tax returns…you got to declare your income, so schools can see exactly what a SA is earning and from where. Businesses have to do this all the time for loans, projects, regulation, etc. So…if boosters still cheat, they still have to do it under the table and now rather than sic the NCAA on the cheaters, drop a dime and let the IRS know about Cam’s…errrrr…somebody not declaring income. Frankly, the cheating exists now and will in the future, so if you can just keep any new proposal from making it worse you’ve probably succeeded.

      • Let kids have access to professional advisors…legal, tax, etc. While I’d like to exclude agents, not sure how you could carve-out the exception.

    None of this will ever happen.


  5. Beakerdawg

    Has anyone else noticed that when games are on TV and they splash the starting line ups on the screen that they never show the player’s major anymore?


    • Kenneth

      LOL, thank you Beakerdawg…you just made me laugh. If it was not a truly sad situation, I would actually have laughed even more.