It doesn’t require much more digging than is possible with a cheap computer and an Internet connection to find a plethora of reference points calling out Mark Emmert’s hypocrisy.
Take Ken Armstrong’s op-ed in the Seattle Times, for example. In essence, he opined that the culture at the University of Washington that Emmert walked into was just as corrupt, as would be just about any big-time football school.
Then, there was Emmert’s famous quote, “Simply put, success in LSU football is essential for the success of Louisiana State University.”
In 2010, Mark Emmert called Joe Paterno “the definitive role model of what it means to be a college coach.” He sang a much different tune on July 23 this year.
Then, there’s Ty Duffy’s piece, in which he states:
The punishment and the manner of its delivery, though, still carry the whiff of catering to the prevailing wind and charging triumphantly into an already razed village to plow salt into the fields. The true work has been and is being done and this distracts from it. The NCAA piled on, largely because it can right now with impunity.
Or, Bob Kravitz, of the Indianapolis Star:
It’s as if the NCAA looked in the mirror, didn’t like what it saw and reacted by lashing out at Penn State.
Of course, an equal number of writers have excoriated Penn State for its transgressions, stating that the penalties were deserved and appropriate. It is hard to fight public opinion where child victims are involved, where rationality and reason often take a backseat to emotion. Who can argue with the fact that children were mistreated and nobody did anything about it? Anything up to and including revocation of Penn State’s charter is on the table when child protection hysteria sets in.
Mark Emmert viewed this emotional climate as the perfect opportunity to pile on in order to show that the NCAA was “doing something” about the ignominious influence of football over academics, exceeding his authority by making Penn State the poster boy for all formerly good universities that have become vacuous football factories. If he could, by virtue of the unfortunate Sandusky scandal, make a negative example of Penn State, a purported paragon of athletic cleanliness and academic excellence, then other institutions would quake in their boots. No one was safe. Moreover, the public’s thirst for blood would be assuaged and the NCAA would be viewed as the hero.
A hero hiding a dirty not so little secret: that it actively promotes the football culture it condemned so visibly with Emmert’s Penn State grandstand play. To paraphrase Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel: never let a good crisis go to waste. Emmert hopped onto Penn State; it was his perfect “wag the dog” opportunity.
One problem with this approach, aside from its dishonesty, vindictiveness, and inappropriateness, is that throwing all the heavy artillery fire Penn State’s way left the ammunition locker empty. Having described Penn State’s issues as “unprecedented”, calling for maximum punishment, Emmert gave himself no leeway for penalizing schools that transgress in the areas of his purview, the confluence of athletics and academics.
That leads us to the University of North Carolina, a classic case of a big-time athletic program making a mockery of the so-called student-athlete. As you may recall, an internal audit revealed 54 ghost classes that never met yet yielded credit-hours and grades for the lucky students, most of whom were athletes steered to them by academic advisers. The university has expressed a reluctance to dig deeper, afraid that what its investigation revealed is only the tip of the iceberg. Chancelor Holden Thorp is hoping this will all go away, but he is pledging his support to whomever cares to get involved. He has now asked for a former state governor and a national management consulting firm to investigate the scandal.
But where is Mark Emmert? Having lunch with Vicky Triponey?
The NCAA has been mum on the subject.
Isn’t this the type of scandal that is completely under the NCAA’s purview? When will we see some action on this, Emmert? I want to know when the NCAA takes on the basketball and football culture at UNC. Shadenfreude perhaps, but I’m willing to bet that UNC gets off easy.
What’s your next move, Mark? The clock is running.