A Message to the NCAA on Mark Emmert’s Hypocrisy

You might’ve caught me off guard on football eve here in State College, NCAA, but I didn’t forget about UNC’s little statement last Friday.

You know, the one that declared that you found UNC guilty of zero violations. Only months ago, the University outlined fraud and poor oversight in 54 African and Afro-American Studies classes, some of which apparently never even existed. Furthermore, several football players were enrolled in these artificial classes. But evidently, you found UNC to be in violation of not one rule. Not even one, huh?

That’s interesting…and extremely hypocritical.

You see, Mark Emmert and friends, I also remember the morning of July 23, 2012. Although I’m not going to delve into that dark day too much, a sentence uttered during your “unprecedented” press conference really irked me.

“[Sports that become too big to fail, i.e. Penn State] can be an erosion of academic values…”

You’re right, Mr. Emmert, in the eye of big-time sports, academics can certainly be held to a lesser standards. Except they weren’t at Penn State, where the 87% of the football team you sanctioned graduates on a yearly basis. But you deemed a “culture” problem at University Park, so you assigned the Penn State football program with an academic integrity monitor for good measure.

Which leads to my question: Where’s the academic integrity monitor, let alone NCAA sanctions, for North Carolina, Mark Emmert? I don’t know about you, but this certainly looks like a case where major college sports “eroded academic values.”

I’d be remiss to compare child abuse to academic fraud, yet isn’t this the Athletic Department with a more concrete, scholastic “culture” problem?

Oh and look, you actually have jurisdiction here! Or maybe I’m naive and several years of academic fraud is perfectly acceptable? Because that’s the message being sent to your 340 Division I member institutions.

Here comes the good part.

You were so perturbed at the Penn State “culture” that you denied 40 young men a free, state-of-the-art education for crimes that they had no part in. You placed the demise of Penn State Football in front of 40 men earning a world-class degree. Hell you even went as far as to assign an academic compliance officer, even though there weren’t any pre-existing academic issues within the football program. However, the same man who was so quick to criticize Penn State’s scholastic values and “culture” issues seems quite content to allow years of academic fraud go unpunished.

On its website, it says that the NCAA was founded as a way to protect “student-athletes.” Sadly, the organization you reside over has failed. Last month, you seemed so concerned about the academic landscape at Penn State. However, when North Carolina blatantly buried academics below athletics, your NCAA friends didn’t seem too disturbed by the dozens of unattended and uninstructed classes and by extension have basically validated future academic fraud.

Good going, Mark.

Starting to look like the NCAA cares about what it wants, when it wants, doesn’t it?

Fact is, Mark Emmert can serve the student or athlete-aspect of his 500 million-dollar amateurism machine whenever he decides, but it appears as if he won’t be supporting the “student-athlete” mantra anytime soon. He can grandstand to the world and insist that he cares about the students under Bill O’Brien’s wing just like he can naively protect the program in which several athletes fell victim to academic fraud at UNC.

But he won’t be doing both, not concurrently at least. So what’s it gonna be today, Mark Emmert, the student or the athlete?

About the Author

Ryan Beckler

Ryan is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He is a Lion Ambassador who loves giving tours to prospective students. His favorite activities include distributing news and consuming Chipotle.

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