The Infinite Job Security Of NCAA President Mark Emmert
By Joe Jenkins
Depending on what website you read, there are a lot of options for “the most secure job” one can have in America: Biomedical engineer, accountant, software engineer…
None of them are correct.
Teachers, government employees and truck drivers? They can get fired — or at the very least, placed on administrative reassignment — in the name of job performance.
Being president of the NCAA is where the real job security is. Mark Emmert could wipe orange Cheetos powder from his hands on the Pope’s hat and get away with it. Heck, he probably already has.
Emmert has had a pretty brutal run since the 2013 college football season ended and the recent run of conference media days — that are intended to promote the upcoming season — have only proven that things aren’t getting any better.
Just take stock of what’s happened since Jameis Winston and Florida State edged out Alabama in the Rose Bowl back in January:
March 27, 2014: The National Relations Board in Chicago rules that football players at Northwestern are employees of the school and are allowed to unionize.
Sure, the Northwestern players were only looking for medical reform and scholarship reform, but clearly these ideals don’t fit within the NCAA’s “amateur model.”
April 18, 2014: Someone in the NCAA office decided it would be a good idea to agree to let listeners from ESPN’s "Mike & Mike Show" submit questions to Emmert using the hashtag #askemmert.
This went about as poorly as you could imagine. In high schools, they call this cyber-bullying. and everyone who participated would have been sent to the principal’s office.
May 19, 2014: A North Carolina union for public workers invites scholarship athletes at state institutions to join as state employees. Proving that this union stuff wasn’t an isolated idea.
Who knew even teenagers and young 20-somethings desired decent treatment?
May30, 2014: SEC commissioner Mike Slive went on the record saying that if the NCAA doesn’t make the concessions the five major conferences want, they’ll simply form their own division.
If you’re keeping score at home, it marks one of the first times a conference commissioner from the Power FIve has said what everybody already knew: The NCAA needs the Power-5 more than the Power Five needs the NCAA.
It’s also the most mature rephrasing of “I don’t get what I want, I’m just going to take my ball and go home” in recorded history.
June 9, 2014: After five years of trying to figure out how to weasel its way out of court, the NCAA finally has to sit in the defendant’s chair against Ed O’Bannon for the continued free use of athletes’ image and likeness on television and in video games.
It went well. While trying to extol the benefits of the NCAA model of amateurism, the defendants failed to call on a single current student athlete.
The three former NCAA athletes who were called? Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, NCAA director of academic and membership affairs Diane Dickman and Texas athletic director Chris Plonsky.
In other words: the NCAA found three people who are completely financially vested in making sure the status quo remains in place.
A verdict in the case is expected within days.
July 15, 2014: Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive repeats his threat to break away at SEC Media Days.
July 21, 2014: Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that cheating pays during his conference’s media days. He said it out loud, to ... Into a microphone ... In front of reporters.
July 21, 2014: North Carolina State running back Tony Creecy gives a virtual “vote of no confidence” to the NCAA. His statement came in front of reporters and microphones too.
You can pretty much pencil in a few “diplomatically unhappy” comments from Delany and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott when their two conferences have their respective media days as well.
Blaming all of this on Emmert is unfair. The system is broken. Emmert is just the captain allowing the ship to be navigated into the rocks.
Even still, in six months, Emmert and his organization have successfully infuriated current and former players — the people who don’t profit from this system — as well as coaches, and conference commissioners — the people who profit a great deal.
Congratulations, President Emmert. You’ve managed to spend half a year being magnificently awful at your job, and yet you still somehow remain employed, along with your $1.7 million salary.
How's that for job security?