Well, folks, the NCAA internal review ordered by its leader, Mark Emmert, is done, and the scapegoat properly identified, as expected. As those of us who have run consulting assignments know, the ostensible object of the assignment is one thing and the actual desiredresult is another. In this case, it was a “who shall we fire to deflect public criticism from Mark Emmert” assignment.
The result? Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach got the ax. See the Yahoo Sports story on the subject.
So, what do you think? Emmert comes off as the enforcer’s enforcer and slithers cleanly away from any culpability himself? You’re thinking like I’m thinking. Emmert is the “Teflon Don” of the NCAA.
Julie is the fourth member of the NCAA investigative staff to go to the guillotine, voluntarily or not. Her severance follows the dismissals of Ameen Najjar (who also botched the Miami case), Abigail Grantstein (whose boyfriend bragged that she had the power to deny UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad the right to play), and Bill Benjamin, whose short, eight-month tenure as director of enforcement turned quite a few heads, lemme tellya.
Lach was well-respected and broadly regarded as competent. Nevertheless, someone’s head had to roll and you can be damn sure it wasn’t going to be Emmert’s.
I would say that the NCAA is more screwed up than ever, and this scapegoat-seeking review did nothing to dispel that notion. In fact, by taking the action he did, Emmert affirmed the notion.
Meanwhile, Emmert is doing additional damage control by “initiating the process of seeking feedback from NCAA member schools about the best way for [the enforcement arm] of the association to operate.” Expect that to go in one ear and out the other.
Jonathan Duncan has been named interim vice president of enforcement. Anyone want to predict how long he’ll last?
Read more in ESPN.com.
By the way, I’m not the only one who believes that Emmert is hiding behind the contrived culpability of his underlings for the sorry state of the NCAA. He is a grand scale shirker. Dana O’Neil of ESPN has some interesting opinions on the subject.