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After Miami Debacle, the Media Hits Out at the NCAA

Columnists Call for Emmert's Departure--and More

By

Mark Emmert

Mark Emmert is facing heavy criticism for the NCAA's recent missteps.

(Photo courtesy of the NCAA)
Updated February 26, 2013

The NCAA has had happier times than this.

Over the past several months, the organization that allegedly polices college athletics has found itself facing criticism like never before. Some have blasted the organization for overreaching--and breaking its own rules--with its historic sanctions against Penn State. Some have complained about the incredibly slow and sometimes painfully odd investigations into such programs at Oregon and North Carolina. And most recently, pretty much everybody criticized the NCAA for its flawed and borderline illegal actions during its probe into the University of Miami.

For the NCAA, it seems, the hits just keep coming--and sports columnists from coast to coast are having a field day picking on an organization that many have seen as flawed for years.

Here, then, is a sampling of some of the harshest takedowns of the NCAA--from calls for NCAA president Mark Emmert to retire to calls for the entire organization to be eliminated.

"Amid Miami debacle and hypocrisy, NCAA should be eliminated," Gregg Doyel, CBSSports.com, Feb. 25, 2013

The NCAA has its own form of spectral evidence: If someone accuses a school of cheating, and then says the accusation a second time, it moves from allegation to fact.

I'm going to write that again, not to be a smartass but to assure you that I wrote it, and you read it, correctly: Every time convicted liar Nevin Shapiro accused Miami of cheating, and then offered the accusation a second time, it moved from allegation to fact. It must be true, according to the NCAA, because Shapiro said it twice.

A joke, right? The NCAA is an absolute joke. Should it be eliminated? I'm getting closer to that conclusion, yes. I know this: If the government jailed citizens on evidence as flimsy as the NCAA uses, the people would revolt -- and I'd be in the mob, holding a pitchfork. Because that can't happen. A person cannot be convicted based on one person making an accusation and then backing it up with nothing more than the willingness to repeat the accusation.

"Emmert's NCAA loses more credibility after Miami misstep," Stewart Mandel, CNNSI.com, Jan. 24, 2013

If this were a criminal case, the judge would immediately declare a mistrial. How do you prosecute a party after admitting you acquired some evidence through nefarious means? Yet, this being Emmert's NCAA, the governing body has hired a corporate investigator, Kenneth L. Wainstein, to conduct a review. Emmert said the probe should take an estimated seven to 10 days -- two weeks tops -- at which point it will discard whatever information Wainstein decrees was obtained inappropriately (which Emmert says is a "small portion" of the overall evidence against Miami) and proceed with the case as planned.

Wow, what a credible process that will be. But then again, credibility has moved swiftly in the opposite direction of the organization's Indianapolis headquarters throughout Emmert's tenure at the helm.

"Mark Emmert's Crumbling Credibility," Mike Lopresti, USA Today, Feb. 20, 2013

Where is the NCAA image today, when Miami is deemed the good guy?

What is happening will not move the nation's emotional meter as, say, BCS standings. Any mishaps or controversies in the tournament bracket next month will strike far closer to the public heart.

Yet this is more ominous and far-reaching, for it strikes at the ability to have law and order in the raucous land of college sport. The NCAA has lived for years with its bureaucratic tangles and byzantine rulebook. What it can't live with is broken trust.

"Prez leaves accountability to others," Dana O'Neill, ESPN.com, Feb. 18, 2013

So far on Emmert's watch, the NCAA has bungled and fumbled multiple investigations (Cam Newton, Shabazz Muhammad and now Miami); fired two NCAA investigators; saw the exits of two enforcement administrators (director of enforcement Bill Benjamin resigned in June, just eight months after taking the job); and gone well outside of its own rulebook and sidestepped due process to punish Penn State, which generated a lawsuit from none other than the state of Pennsylvania.

Yet Emmert continues to pontificate from his self-righteous pulpit, ironically employing the same line of defense that forced the NCAA to enact the new rule for head coaches: "I knew nothing.''

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