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Emmert once again suggests paying players would doom college sports

Mark Emmert AP

NCAA President Mark Emmert took the stand as a witness in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust lawsuit Thursday in one of the more anticipated days of witness questioning in some time for college sports fans. While on the stand Emmert had his moments he would likely wish to have back, but the statements made by the president of the NCAA, an organization that has been under attack from all angles in recent years, are now officially on the record and are fair to analyze.

One of the more notable statements from Emmert, aside form suggesting players should not be paid for playing or for their likenesses, was regurgitating the idea that paying college players would destroy college sports. It is an idea that has been flying around for a while, but few seem to take it too seriously as a threat to the pillars of college football, basketball and so on.

“To convert college sports into professional sports would be tantamount to converting it into minor league sports,” Emmert said, according to the Associated Press. “And we know that in the U.S. minor league sports aren’t very successful either for fan support or for the fan experience.”

Honestly, that last statement likely varies by organization or franchise, but so does attendance at college football games.

“It’s one of the most fundamental principles of the NCAA and intercollegiate athletics,” Emmert said. “They have always seen and assumed that intercollegiate athletics is about the notion that these are members of the student body. They’re not hired employees conducting games for entertainment. They’re not a random group of folks that just come together to play sports.”

One of the flaws in Emmert’s logic is a failure to recognize the NCAA of 2014 is not the same NCAA that was needed 20 or 50 years ago. Perhaps the NCAA as a whole has failed to evolve and keep pace with the changing landscape in collegiate sports. The student-athletes are more in view than ever before, and the TV money that flows as a result has grown exponentially over the years as well. Meanwhile, the NCAA’s logic appears to say if it was good enough in 1950, then it should be good enough now. That just cannot be the case.

Whether you believe players should be paid or not, the one thing that appears to be something everybody can agree on is the NCAA is in dire need of adapting to a new world. It is an organization that has shown its cracks, but it is not beyond being repairable. The NCAA can still play a role in college sports today, and it should remain a fixture in the sports scene. Changes are already in the works, and that could be a good thing. Emmert even deflected some questions about the NCAA’s role when asked about bowl games. The NCAA does not run bowl games, but with conferences beginning to take larger roles in organizing bowl games, even that statement can be put under some scrutiny.

The world is changing, but the NCAA and Emmert are not keeping up. That was put under a microscope on the witness stand Thursday.

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11 Responses to “Emmert once again suggests paying players would doom college sports”
  1. pawloosa says: Jun 19, 2014 9:50 PM

    P.t.P… No no no…

    Find another way to evolve the scholarship with the game in the 21st century but simply throwing money at players to pacify them IS NOT the solution… It’s the easy way out….. In 10-15 years schools will be over committing their resources…legal battles will be the new norm…agents will start representing players…then the players start suing their agents for signing contracts they don’t understand…

    I agree something needs to be done but $$$ is not the answer… I have to confess it would be refreshing to see “an enity” within our country solve a complicated problem for once without throwing $$ at it (which never works)….
    See Labor Unions…
    See Education
    See Government debt
    No no no!!!!

  2. binarymath says: Jun 20, 2014 9:54 AM

    Been following this case and the one at Northwestern, and have some questions.

    Assuming the players get some combination of NU verdict upheld, O’Bannon wins, NCAA makes some reforms…

    1. Can a paid college player be cut or traded like their pro counterparts?
    2. Will the Big 5 conferences be able to “raid” conferences like AAC, MAC and others for players?
    3. Will paid college players be able to eliminate the sit-out-for-a-year transfer rule? (no similar rule exists for paid college COACHES)
    4. Will a reserve (but still paid) player in a Big 5 conference be able to transfer to a “student athlete” conference, or does being paid at the former school cancel their eligibility in conferences that use the old model?

    Regardless of how the court battles unfold, it is clear that the NCAA is about to undergo some MAJOR changes.

    Will be interesting to see how all of this unfolds.

  3. huck222 says: Jun 20, 2014 10:00 AM

    You people have a twisted view of this! You don’t want to flat out pay the players or Cap their scholarship…. While the institutions are able to make money with no cap in sight is insane! That’s the mentality of a “Slave Master”! I went there, because there is a racial component to this that no one wants to discuss, but that’s another topic for another day. Everyone involved need to sit down and come up with something fair… If that’s possible?

  4. corvusrex96 says: Jun 20, 2014 10:08 AM

    One of the solutions to this situation is making the college football teams of the big 5 conferences only affiliated with schools with no expectation to attend classes . You can pay the players and cut out the title 9 BS

  5. pawloosa says: Jun 20, 2014 11:24 AM

    Huck.. Not sure I follow any of your rant…or your hint of the so called “racial component”….

  6. mogogo1 says: Jun 20, 2014 12:14 PM

    The NCAA’s greed is what has doomed college sports. Whether the actual end comes from paying the players or something else will not change the fact that Emmert and his cronies killed the golden goose a long while ago. It is just taking a while for it to die.

  7. Maurice Barksdale says: Jun 20, 2014 4:08 PM

    The only thing that matters here is what the judge thinks. And I would wager the judge is more of an academic than a sports fan. So the perspective of the person making the ruling on this issue will be much more diverse than your average sports fan or writer.

    And even if the prevailing opinion is that the NCAA is behind the times on this issue, the fact is that the law will dictate what happens moving forward. And the law might determine that the times we live in are fundamentally flawed.

  8. packhawk04 says: Jun 22, 2014 1:43 PM

    Huck, no its not possible. Unless you are willing to eliminate all athletics from non-power conference schools, and even some power conference schools.

    So, if we do that and start with 40-45 schools, we can sit down and figure out a fair way to do it. Until then…

  9. rponciano says: Jun 23, 2014 1:01 PM

    Emmert say’s “It’s one of the most fundemental principles of the NCAA and Intercollegiate athletics”
    Just like their slogan;
    Accouintability(BIG TIME FAIL)

  10. brownsmakemecrazy says: Jun 24, 2014 10:14 PM

    This is the problem with the gravy tain. They want their cake and be able to eat it too. Emmert says the NCAA has nothing to do with Bowl games yet College Presidents who are NCAA members were able to prevent the Playoffs until this year. What a bunch of hypocritical gravy training windbag Emmert is. JIM DELANEY LITTLE 14 CONFERENCE COMMISH MAY BE A BIGGER LIAR AND CROOK.

    Only thing paying players will do will cut into this gravy trainers pockets and profits. It won’t destroy college sports. It’s an embarrassingly ignorant, false statement

  11. huck222 says: Jun 24, 2014 10:16 PM

    The TRUTH! ^^^^^

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