Sep 17th, 2022 |
134: Mark Emmert Unplugged
On Friday, September 9th, 2022, NCAA President Mark Emmert sat for an interview with sports business analyst Kristi Dosh. Emmert’s free-wheeling comments covered an array of issues, including NIL regulation, athlete employee status, and the future of college sports. Emmert proposed that athletes be treated as “brand ambassadors” for their institution. Emmert explained that athletes—particularly revenue-producing athletes at big-time schools—provide enormous value to their university’s brand and should be paid accordingly. He suggested that these payments could be deemed NIL-related based on the value that individual sports and athletes contribute to overall university branding. Under Emmert’s model, athletes would not be employees of their university. Emmert also advocated for congressional intervention in NIL (and other) regulation. His brand ambassador model is a stunning departure from the NCAA’s/P5’s decades-long approach to amateurism-based compensation limits. Emmert provided a distorted history of the factors that led to the current perception of regulatory chaos in college sports, particularly NIL. Emmert addressed the circumstances under which the NCAA ceased its voluntary rulemaking on NIL in January of 2021, rule-making that it had promised athletes in 2019. According to Emmert, the Antitrust Division s directed the NCAA to immediately stand down on voluntary rules changes on NIL and transfer because of “antitrust concerns.” The head of the Antitrust Division at the time, Makan Delharim, offered a much different explanation for the NCAA’s cessation of voluntary rulemaking in a June 24, 2021 podcast interview. The truth of the NCAA’s decision-making in January 2021 is a window into the NCAA’s renewed strategy in 2022 to ask for a congressional bailout that would end the athletes’ rights movement.