The calls for for Mark Emmert to step down--or be fired- have been coming from all corners recently.
But powers-that-be at the NCAA say that they have full faith in Emmert--a man that they say has what it takes to "lead a major transformation of the NCAA."
I mean, that's what they're saying publicly anyway.
On Feb. 23, Lou Anna K. Simon, executive committee chair for the NCAA and president of Michigan State University, issued a statement of support for Emmert, a man who promised massive reforms when he was hired as president of the NCAA in 2010. Emmert, a former university president himself, has certainly talked a tough game, and has backed those those words with tough actions (in some cases, at least), but his inconsistency, his public relations snafus and, most importantly, the failings of the entire organization during his stormy tenure has led many to question not only his leadership, but also his ability to continue as head of the organization that supposedly oversees and polices college athletics.
The criticism of Emmert, which had been building since his sweeping and unprecedented actions to punish the Penn State football program in the summer of 2012 because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, came to head in February of 2013, when Emmert and his organization admitted that NCAA investigators acted improperly during their investigation into the athletics program at the University of Miami. Despite that admission, the NCAA went ahead and delivered a so-called Notice Of Allegations to Miami anyway, a move that many decried as deeply hypocritical. At that point, many sports columnists began to call for Emmert to be removed.
In her statement, however, Simon backed Emmert--a move that was apparently intended to put an end to questions about the NCAA head's future.
The full text of Simon's statement can be read here.
"The NCAA Executive Committee continues to support the association's broad-based reform agenda. This reform agenda must include meaningful change in the regulatory process beyond the changes in enforcement that have already been enacted.
We, as the Executive Committee, on Friday affirmed our expectation that the association move forward with the next phase of its regulatory review. A thorough examination and subsequent improvement of processes, policies, procedures and investigative tools is necessary. Developing a mechanism for monitoring adherence with policies, while also reviewing the interaction between the legal and regulatory staffs, is key to moving forward. In short, we demand the highest level of integrity and accountability not only from our peers but also from the national office. While progress has been made, additional important work remains.
Mark Emmert was hired to lead a major transformation of the NCAA. Much has been accomplished without fanfare, such as academic reforms, enhanced fiscal accountability and organizational transparency. The Executive Committee and President Emmert recognize there is much yet to do and that the road to transformational change is often bumpy and occasionally controversial. Therefore, on Friday the Executive Committee unanimously affirmed its confidence in Mark's leadership as president and its support for his ongoing efforts to implement these essential and historic reforms."