Mar 20th, 2021 |
5. The NCAA's "Omnipotent Czar"
This episode answers a question that has been the bane of college sports fans and stakeholders for years: what does the NCAA president actually do? The NCAA president is perhaps the least understood power player in the business of BigAmateurism. While NCAA President Mark Emmert does the Indianapolis sashay at the mention of the word accountability, the office he holds has extraordinary powers that have come to define central components of BigAmateurism’s business model in the 21st-century.
Buried in the basement of the 451-page NCAA Division I Manual are Executive Regulations (Article 31, “Executive Regulations”) that indeed make the NCAA President the “Omnipotent Czar” of college sports (quote from former NCAA President NCAA President Myles Brand referenced in the intro clip to this episode). The NCAA President’s authorities as set forth in provisions 31.6 (“Rights to NCAA Properties and Marketing Restrictions”) and 31.8. (“Personnel”) give the President powers that leave the future of college sports in the President’s hands; or, more accurately in the case of Mark Emmert, in the hands of an army of lawyers, lobbyists, and public relations/marketing experts whom Emmert has retained to lead the NCAA out of an existential crisis of its own making. These experts, not NCAA member institutions or governing boards, are the true decision-makers in perhaps the most consequential era in the history of college sports. In exercising these authorities, Emmert is not doing the will of people or serving the interests of athletes. Instead, he is engaged in a cynical, dishonest campaign to preserve the NCAA administrative state and its lavish accoutrements. To save the bureaucracy and the status quo, Emmert must also appease the Power 5 football interests, CBS/Turner, and downstream beneficiaries of March Madness money. This year’s March Madness tournament is like no other in its desperate tone and make-shift production. None of the in-system stakeholder-beneficiaries have debated whether the tournament should be played. The only real question is how much money they will get from this Indiana-only spectacle funded by the labors of elite athletes, the overwhelming majority of whom are black.
Resources for this Episode:
NCAA 2020-21 Division I Manual, Article 31 (“Executive Regulations”), secs. 31.6 (“Rights to Properties and Marketing Restrictions”) and 31.8 (“Personnel”)