Calls for NCAA president Mark Emmert to resign not enough to solve problems of college sports

adell@bradenton.comFebruary 24, 2013 

The public outcry for Mark Emmert to resign as president of the NCAA is swelling.

He oversees a system that exploits collegiate athletes and has committed misdeeds similar to those he has admonished.

When we hear the term lack of institutional control, we used to think of SMU's Pony Express and other football behemoths that have committed acts the NCAA deems sinful.

Now we think of Emmert and his staff of witch hunters.

Emmert must resign, but it won't solve the real problem.

It is the NCAA that needs to have a crane put to it, demolished and rebuilt.

The organization lives off the players who have made college football a billion-dollar business and funded the bloated salaries of Emmert and much of his staff, along with athletic directors, many head football coaches and those football bowl executives who are involved in what

only can be described as legalized racketeering.

If the NCAA doesn't alter its way of doing things, nothing will change unless it destroys itself; money will change hands under the table and every now and then the NCAA will come down on a school, hold a press conference and tell the world what a great service it provides.

Emmert's bubble burst with his botched investigation of the University of Miami. His staff paid an attorney to get information the NCAA could not obtain by deposing witnesses in the personal bankruptcy case of Nevin Shapiro, who is alleged to have funded the Miami football program with improper benefits.

Emmert claimed he didn't know about it until some of the money changed hands. It sounds like a lack of institutional control, which he subsequently charged Miami with and has used to justify punishing other universities.

If this was a court of law, the NCAA's case against Miami would be declared a mistrial and tossed out.

Walter Byers, who served as NCAA executive director from 1951 through 1987, has cried out for an overhaul. Unfortunately, his plea has fallen on deaf ears.

Emmert acts as judge, jury and executioner, but the Miami case might be the tip of the iceberg that melts the NCAA into the bottom of Davy Jones' Locker.

Byers has charged the NCAA President's Commission with being committed to the belief that the enormous proceeds from college athletic events belong to the overseers (administrators) and supervisors (coaches).

Emmert has allowed misdeeds when such non-action fills NCAA coffers up with cash.

There was the Ohio State "tattoo-gate" when he permitted the Buckeyes to play in the Sugar Bowl to satisfy bowl officials and then vacated the results and slammed the Buckeyes as if they robbed Fort Knox and took the secretary of the treasury hostage.

He allowed "Cam-gate" Newton to slip into the NFL untouched rather upset the BCS title game.

He went after UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad until a Los Angeles judge ripped the NCAA for its handling of the basketball player.

The NCAA overstepped its bounds in leveling penalties against Penn State in the Sandusky case without conducting an investigation or engaging in an appeal process.

The people the NCAA really punished were the players who were the age of the Sandusky victims when he was committing his heinous crimes against children. It was a grandstand play by Emmert, who always appears to be on a damage-control mission.

Two summers ago, Emmert stood next to former Penn State President Graham Spanier as both proclaimed the NCAA was going to crack down on those evil violators. Then Penn State fired Spanier for his role in the Sandusky coverup, and Emmert had hypocrisy splattered all over his face.

There is no uniform medical insurance policy that governs all the FBS schools, despite the nature of football and the potential for a catastrophic injury.

It would make sense for college athletics to adopt Olympic rules and allow athletes to earn money off their names.

Emmert and his cohorts have called that immoral, though it is really about money the overseers fear they won't get.

They say boosters will get involved and the wealthiest football programs will get the top players if athletes are allowed to promote themselves.

But that is already happening.

According to data supplied by U.S. Department of Education, the top seven revenue-producing football schools for the 2011-2012 school year were Texas, Michigan, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida and Notre Dame.

But here is a sad reality: The NCAA was created to help athletes and not engage in legal fisticuffs with its members.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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