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NCAA's Emmert proud of accomplishments despites naysayers

NCAA President Mark Emmert has become the easiest of targets, the face of an unpopular and seemingly ineffective bureaucracyGETTY IMAGES

NCAA President Mark Emmert said he is "incredibly proud" of the association's accomplishments under his watch despite much of the criticism he has received, according to Ralph Russo of the AP. While leading the NCAA through a period of unprecedented change, Emmert "has faced relentless criticism." For those outside college sports "skeptically peering in," he "has become the easiest of targets, the face of an unpopular and seemingly ineffective bureaucracy." The NCAA has been "hammered over gender-equity issues at its showcase basketball tournaments, saw its authority undercut by a stinging antitrust ruling from the Supreme Court and was forced into a hands off solution allowing name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes." Russo: "If the 68-year-old Emmert is so unpopular, why is he still the NCAA president? Why did he receive a contract extension through 2025 in April?" Athletes can now receive "cost-of-attendance stipends, guaranteed four-year scholarships and better medical coverage from their schools." Loosened guidelines "make it easier for athletes to switch schools," and more restrictive rules "force coaches to respect players' time now more than ever." But the progress "has been obscured." The NCAA has "been hammered in court and the losses have cost the association hundreds of millions in damages and legal fees" (AP, 9/2).

THE BIG PICTURE: The AP's Russo in a Q&A with Emmert asked the president if "people inside and outside of college sports often ask, 'Why does Mark Emmert still have this job?" Emmert said, "It's certainly the case that there's a lot to be frustrated with and disappointed in in college sports right now." Emmert: "There’s no doubt that we are in a pivotal moment where not just moderate, but pretty dramatic changes are needed to accommodate the period that we’re in. The differences between the wealthiest schools and the least wealthy schools have never been higher. The legal problems and challenges that the schools are facing, not just the association -- never been higher. The challenges around competitiveness and the ability to maintain sports, keep all your sports under your athletic department -- never been higher. All of those tensions are rising." He added, "And I’m not surprised that people say, 'You know, why isn’t this get fixed? What’s Emmert doing?' You know, and people also, they want to look to somebody and say, ’Well, fix this, damn it.' You know, and I get that. I understand. And I say it in the mirror sometimes. But the truth is, it’s a very complex system. I think we do need to find ways to fix that and streamline it" (AP, 9/2).

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