I mean, it’s understandable, in a sense.
The N.C.A.A. is embroiled in perhaps the most crucial stretch of its long relationship with Washington, where top government officials have increasingly voiced doubts about the management and restrictions of college sports.
On Wednesday, the 115th anniversary of the N.C.A.A.’s founding under pressure from President Theodore Roosevelt, the Supreme Court will hear the association’s appeal in a case about caps on certain benefits for student-athletes. This summer, around the time the justices could announce their ruling, a Florida law is scheduled to take effect and allow players to profit off their fame, disrupting the uniform rules that have regulated college athletics for generations.
Those potentially seminal developments were brewing before this month’s N.C.A.A. basketball tournaments demonstrated unequal treatment between the men and women competing in them, prompting new outrage from members of Congress. And, encouraged by Huma, star athletes at both tournaments called attention to what they condemned as overly restrictive N.C.A.A. rules that have remained in place even as the industry’s financial might swelled.
The confluence of events could ultimately push Washington toward a few outcomes, including national protections for student-athletes or sustained scrutiny on the N.C.A.A. from Capitol Hill and the Justice Department. What lawmakers say is already clear, though, is that the N.C.A.A.’s political standing has eroded in recent years, diminished by protracted internal debates and bipartisan, coast-to-coast pressure for changes that benefit athletes.
I doubt that qualifies as times that try men’s souls, but, still, an existential threat to a business model is an existential threat to a business model. So, if you’re someone at a school in a P5 conference that’s concerned about what kind of hit your bottom line might be taking, there’s a certain logic to… um… creating a little separation between you and your front man.
NCAA president Mark Emmert has long passed the point where the failures of his tenure register as shocking news. Emmert has been so ineffective and so unpopular for so long that leaders within college athletics have long given up hope that he could evolve into a functional leader.
So when Emmert became the face of the equity issues between the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments last week, it only further entrenched opinions among leaders around college sports.
… Yahoo Sports spoke to multiple commissioners who estimated that there’s at least an 85% disapproval of the job Emmert is doing among college commissioners. Among Division I athletic directors, his support is about the same. And those estimates are considered conservative. All are quick to point out that his job is hard and thankless because it lacks unilateral power, but there’s a consistent message that they want more for the $2.7 million he was paid in the last reported year.
One major conference had an athletic directors conference call recently where the unhappiness with Emmert was so unanimous that the athletic directors all agreed to take their issues with Emmert to their president.
Ooh, look, Martha! The natives are getting restless.
Don’t get me wrong. Mark Emmert is a contemptible human being. But he’s been doing what the schools that are paying him millions want him to do. He may be a shitty messenger, but it’s the message that generated the political reaction.
That being said, I don’t think there will be a moment’s hesitation if it’s deemed necessary to hand over Emmert’s head on a platter in order to move forward on a new amateurism platform that keeps the cash flow rolling.