Mark Emmert spoke at Marquette University about many issues surrounding the NCAA, none bigger than the gigantic gap between the haves and have-nots in college football. Though Emmert has twice tried to add a stipend to pay players a minimal amount, his efforts were rebuked by the poor university presidents who couldn't spare the extra cost.
At Marquette, Emmert cemented the NCAA's position.
"One thing that sets the fundamental tone is there's very few members and, virtually no university president, that thinks it's a good idea to convert student-athletes into paid employees. Literally into professionals," NCAA President Mark Emmert said Monday at Marquette University. "Then you have something very different from collegiate athletics. One of the guiding principles (of the NCAA) has been that this is about students who play sports."
Of course, Emmert neglected to add "for free" at the end of his sentence, which is the entire problem. The NCAA's guiding principles took them to a place where money grows on trees — tax free!
He goes on, almost gloating.
"(There's) enormous tension right now that's growing between the collegiate model and the commercial model," said Emmert, who spoke as part of Marquette's "On the Issues" forum. "And, by the way, this is nothing new. This tension has been going on forever and ever. It has gotten greater now because the magnitude of dollars has gotten really, really large.
Translation: Yes, we rich folks have always held money over the unable-to-make-any-money student athletes, the only difference is that now we're making so much money that it's becoming a little awkward.
Emmert did acknowledge that change is necessary, possibly in the realm of allowing high school students to go straight to the pros, but remained firm that the NCAA would only be a place for students.
"Why would we want to force someone to go to school when they really don't want to be there? But if you're going to come to us, you're going to be a student."
Though all of this could change at what Emmert likened to a Constitutional Convention next year, it seems likely that money will not be trickling down (legally) after all.