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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Time for Emmert to get on down the road

by Wally Hall | April 28, 2022 at 2:17 a.m.

It may not have been heard nationwide, but it should have been.

The sound that was heard was the sigh of relief when NCAA President Mark Emmert, 69, announced he was stepping down.

After 12 years of bungling, mishandling and downright ignoring college athletic issues, he is going away and will most likely be known as the man who destroyed the NCAA.

His final finger up his nose was announcing the Kansas City Jayhawks as the NCAA basketball national champions.

The University of Kansas was established in Lawrence, Kan., 157 years ago. What isn't much talked about is that the Kansas Jayhawks are under NCAA investigation, proving once again an NCAA investigation today is nothing like it was before Emmert and Myles Brand took control.

Last year, Emmert extended the NCAA Tournament broadcast rights with CBS and Turner Broadcasting for another eight years. It was due to expire in 2024 and now will in 2032.

He took no bids from anyone else, just agreeing to a 3% increase.

Immediately, experts and analysts pulled out their calculators and determined the dude had just cost the schools he's paid $2.7 million annually to represent at least $3.5 billion.

Can the NCAA be saved is a huge question as Power 5 schools move toward self-government. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Ohio University Athletic Director Julie Cromer co-chair the Division I Transformation Committee with the latest talks being that college athletic departments will be businesses not connected to specific colleges.

Three names come to mind to replace Emmert: Sankey, Cromer and Tom Mars.

Sankey may not be interested. He is the cog in the biggest wheel in college athletics and he makes more money than Emmert. Sankey is a proven leader with vision, ethics and is a shrewd negotiator.

Cromer has risen in national respect among colleges since her short time as interim athletic director at the University of Arkansas. Her one and only news conference at the UA was an awful mess, but it was her first one. You don't get appointed to a committee with Sankey unless you learn from your mistakes. Plus, she worked at the NCAA for 10 years.

Mars is an attorney who has become a powerful advocate of athletes. He took on the NCAA several times, and it is believed he is undefeated against the governing agency of college sports. The NCAA tried to hire him at one time.

There no doubt are others, but the question is can the NCAA be saved after 12 years of Emmert, who lost appeals to the Supreme Court, stuck his head in the face of name, image and likeness and is part of the reason it isn't governed?

Emmert will take the blunt of the blame if the NCAA falls apart, but it began before him.

In 2002, the world of academia -- chancellors and college presidents -- took the NCAA out of the hands of athletics. After three presidents who had been athletic directors began to bring in envious amounts of revenue, the academicians who did the voting wanted their fingers in the pie and installed Brand as its leader in 2002.

Brand was Indiana's president, and his athletic experience was firing Bob Knight. After him, a year's search found Emmert, who was hired after stints as chancellor at LSU and president at the University of Washington.

The NCAA gradually lost its hustle and muscle under Brand and Emmert.

The one thing that grew -- which had nothing to do with them -- was the NCAA basketball tournament, although Emmert was scolded last year for the difference in treatment of the men and women during their tournaments.

The NCAA basketball tournament will survive with or without the NCAA.


Print Headline: Time for Emmert to get on down the road

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