If you thought NCAA president Mark Emmert on the witness stand in the Ed O’Bannon trial was something, his day in front of a Senate committee must surely be a spectacle. The Senate Commerce Committee arranged to have Emmert as a witness for questioning regarding the promoting and well-being and academic success of college athletes. The goal of the committee is to get a better understanding of how the NCAA is integrating athletics with academics and to determine if student-athletes are being exploited in the process.
“Critics of the [NCAA] and intercollegiate athletics have contended that the NCAA and its member schools are not carrying out their mission to protect and promote the well-being of college athletes, and that reports of exploitation of athletes by colleges and universities have become commonplace,” a statement about the hearing read, according to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com. “In response to these concerns, Chairman Rockefeller, along with Commerce Committee Members Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), wrote the NCAA earlier this year to ask about the organization’s policies and its oversight of member institutions so that student athletes can be protected from potential exploitation.”
Emmert ws given plenty of time to prepare for this hearing. The NCAA president was sent a letter outlining the requested information and reason to have him as a witness back in late May. The letter highlighted various quotes from Emmert as well as relevant data from various reports and studies to support the reason for concern by the committee.
Emmert tends to keep his cool when under fire, sometimes by dismissing questions in a jovial way. That will not likely fly in front of a Senate committee.
Emmert will not be the only witness called to testify before the committee. Former Florida State player Myron Rolle and former North Carolina player Devon Ramsay and former athletics director at Temple, Bill Bradshaw, are also on the list of expected witnesses.
You can watch the hearing live online starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.