NCAA President Mark Emmert has not exactly been a fan favorite over the course of his tenure. His decisions have been seen as arbitrary, his rulings heavy-handed, and the culture of the massive bureaucratic organization he leads as untrustworthy.
A USA Today report, however, makes it clear that Emmert has a history of being the media savvy front man for failing institutions with systemic issues of corruption.
The article takes readers through the case studies of the universities of Montana State, Connecticut, and Louisiana State where corruption and failure loomed large and were swept under the rug during Emmert’s tenure only to be revealed once he had moved on to greener pastures.
Most notably, Emmert oversaw a massive construction project while the Chancellor at the University of Connecticut saw tens of millions of dollars in waste. Former Governor Jodi Rell called the episode “an astounding failure of oversight and management.”
Emmert’s timing seems to be impeccable, and he always seems to have an escape route just before things get messy. Additionally, he is seen as a deft self promoter and a “master of public relations.”
In his current high profile role, however, the spotlight has shined a little more brightly and the blemishes have emerged a little more clearly. Emmert’s handling of the major controversies during his tenure, including the disciplinary actions against Penn State and Miami, has been widely criticized.
He has surrounded himself with individuals who have abused their authority or allowed corruption. Notably, Julie Roe Lach has been dismissed for improper behavior in the Miami investigation and she was also heavy-handed when the NCAA looked into allegations involving Cam Newton and Auburn University.
In no case, however, has Emmert taken any responsibility, and the USA Today report notes that “Emmert has drawn criticism over whether he uses the job description to shield himself from blame.”
This general dissatisfaction on the outside of the organization has led many to question whether Emmert, a man with a history of leaving behind wreckage and failing to address issues within his organization, is the right man to continue leading the NCAA.
College basketball commentator Jay Bilas has been particularly critical of Emmert and the NCAA as a whole, saying it is too massive and fails to operate like a free market.
In an interview Bilas specifically said regarding Emmert, “I think he’s compromised his ability to lead and I think the support ofthe membership has been wounded, and his credibility as a leader isgone. I think he’s compromised his ability to be effective in his job.There are other reasons why I think he should no longer remain.”