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April 4, 2013
BOB WILLIAMS:¬† Thank you, everyone, for joining the NCAA press conference.¬† President Emmert will make some brief comments, then we'll open it's up for questions.
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† First of all, thank you all for being here.¬† This is a time of year that all of us in the NCAA look forward to and to have the 75th anniversary of the men's tournament be here in Atlanta is just terrific.
We've obviously got four great teams coming together.¬† They're very different teams.¬† It's been an exciting tournament.¬† It's been a very unpredictable tournament, to say the least.
We couldn't be happier with the way it's all gone in terms of the participation of the teams that came in, work of the committee, some of the members sitting here.¬† Probably never more challenging to seed this tournament and get everybody in their places.¬† It's gone exceedingly well at every venue and we have every reason to believe it will be the same here.
Atlanta is a fantastic host city.¬† They have, as you'd expect, rolled out the red carpet in all the ways that Atlanta knows how to.¬† They're pros at hosting events like this.¬† For us it's been a delight.
I'm also especially pleased that we've got Division II and Division III championships being played here.¬† I've had a chance to chat with some of the people from those schools.¬† They're extremely excited to be here.¬† It's going to be a great experience for them.¬† We hope that having all of the usual Final Four fans in town will encourage them to go over to the stadium on Sunday and watch more basketball because the level of competition there is just as fierce as anyplace.¬† Should be a lot of fun for everyone involved.
It is also the time of year when we get to focus on what we're supposed to focus on in this whole enterprise, and that's the student‑athletes.¬† We've seen some extraordinary performances to get to this place.¬† If history is any guide at all, I'm sure we'll see a lot more in the handful of games that are remaining.¬† Should be a lot of fun.¬† I know you'll have a great time covering it.
I'm sure you have a number of questions on any given subject, so we can get to those in just a minute.¬† I did want to make a couple of other comments before we get started.
First of all, I wanted to talk about the changes that have been going on and we've been engaged in in the NCAA.
I guess anyone would describe this as a challenging, dynamic, occasionally difficult time in intercollegiate athletics, but at the same time it's one of dynamic change, one where we've got people all across the association being involved in driving some significant changes.¬† For me, that's a very exciting prospect.
About two and a half years ago I was brought in by the board because they wanted to see a lot of changes made, especially in Division I.¬† There were a lot of concerns about what was going on in intercollegiate athletics, the opportunity to make intercollegiate athletics an even stronger and more viable enterprise with something that all of the presidents involved and the Executive Committee and the Division I board made clear to me.
Then we brought together the presidents of the Division I, we outlined an agenda and we've worked hard on it ever since.
People aren't always thrilled when things are different.¬† We've, of course, been making a lot of things different.
If you look at what's happened in that timeframe with the leadership of the board, the Executive Committee, with the hard work of people across the association, we've been able to address a number of issues that were of critical importance to people.
We understood, all of us, and have talked about for years, me and my role as a campus member for 30 years, and others in other roles, that the Division I rule book was something that was too complex, it involved too much detail, it involved things that were extraneous and unenforceable and in many respects had complexities in it that didn't add to the welfare of student‑athletes or the betterment of the games.
So we started an effort to change a lot of those rules.¬† What's happening here over this weekend I think is an important milestone, because one of the first things we were able to do is working with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and our leadership council, to make a set of very significant changes in men's basketball recruitment, a series of changes that have now been carried over into the women's games.
We deregulated the way I can contact prospective student‑athletes.¬† The telephone rules have been annoying.¬† The fact you couldn't use texting was something that didn't make sense to anybody.¬† Working with those coaches, we made those changes.¬† Those changes have been in place for a year now without a single complaint being levied by coaches or prospective athletes.¬† It seems to be working very well.
The women's game is beginning to do the same thing.¬† That was something we were all encouraged by.
The next thing that happened was in January, the board approved a series of 25 changes to the rule book overall.¬† They were changes that deregulated or modified the regulations or provided legislative relief to a number of areas that were of concern to people.
We've had four of those areas, three of them directly, but four areas be raised as concerns of those 25 changes among a handful of our membership.¬† So the board will be revisiting those.¬† The D1 board will be revisiting those at their May meeting.
But the other 21 rule changes are moving forward and will all come into effect in August of this year.
So we've made some terrific progress.¬† Still have a long way to go.¬† This is at best the midpoint for those changes.¬† But I think we've been very pleased with the progress that we've made and the work that's been done by membership committees and bringing those proposals forward to the board.
The second area that we really wanted to make some headway in was we wanted to address the policies and the rules governing the enforcement process.¬† So also this past school year, we've been able to make some pretty sweeping changes in a couple of areas.
The first was everybody has been historically frustrated with the length of time it takes to adjudicate and manage cases that come before the Committee on Infractions.¬† One of the constraints in all of that was members of the committee, there's only 10 of them, they work unbelievably hard.¬† They put in a huge amount of time.¬† It is one of the most thankless tasks in college athletics.¬† So we've expanded the number of members of that committee.
We've almost tripled the number of members that can be on that committee.¬† We've reduced the workload on individuals.¬† We're putting in place these new changes in August.¬† We have every reason to believe that's going to expedite that whole adjudication process pretty dramatically.¬† That will be advantageous for all of our members in a lot of way.¬† The members are quite enthusiastic about those changes.
As many of you know and have reported on, we also at that time back in October, to become effective this coming August, put in place some changes in the way we classify cases, moving to the campuses and conferences responsibility for lesser penalties and lesser violations of the rules so that those rules that are less central to questions of integrity could be moved back to the campus and they wouldn't have to be dealt with at the national level, that's going to have a very sanguine effect on the way all of those cases are handled.¬† We feel very good about that.¬† It's also clarified for the membership what the key issues are that they need to be focused on.
We still have a lot of work to be done around some definitional issues there, especially around the concept of institutional control.¬† How is that defined in more concrete terms so our member institutions all agree on what that term means and how it is assessed and what they need to do to make sure that they are compliant with what each other believe are the concept of institutional control.¬† That work is being led by the Division I athletic directors group, and they're going to be continuing to work on that between now and August.¬† Our goal, of course, is to have that all finalized by that time.
The third big area that we wanted to address when we came out of that retreat 18 months ago was the whole notion of student well‑being.¬† There were two fundamental issues that that working group recommended to the board.¬† The first was the notion that we needed to expand the opportunity to offer multiple‑year scholarships to student‑athletes.¬† Our rules before that had been that you could only offer a scholarship for one year at a time.¬† The intent was to provide universities with the opportunity, not the requirement, but the opportunity to offer multiple‑year scholarships for student‑athletes if schools wanted to do that, or teams to do that.
As I think some of you are aware that was quite controversial at the time that was passed.¬† There was an override vote that stalled by the slimmest of margins, I think it was one vote, maybe two, it just barely survived.¬† The interesting thing is now it's been in place for nearly a year without controversy or constraint to date.
We promised we would continue to monitor any concerns that came out of that rule change, but so far so good.¬† We'll have to see where it winds up going forward.¬† But as of today, it actually has not created the kind of recruiting controversy that people were afraid of.¬† In fact, it's been handled in pretty matter‑of‑fact fashion.
The second big issue was the issue of increase in the value of scholarships to the full cost of attendance.¬† This is the so‑called miscellaneous expense allowance, the proposal to allow schools to, at their option, increase the value of scholarships an additional $2,000 to cover what's referred to in higher education jargon as a 'miscellaneous expense,' sometimes confused with 'pay for play,' which is absolutely wrong.¬† It is to cover the real cost of attendance and only the real cost of attendance for a student‑athlete.
That issue was passed by the board but immediately overridden, and it's now back in front of the working group that's been managing that issue, a group that's chaired by the president of Middle Tennessee State.¬† Their intention is to bring back several options to the board either in the next meeting or August meeting.
So we'll see if that piece can be done.¬† I'm hopeful.¬† I've been outspoken that I'd like to see that happen, but of course it's not my decision.¬† It's up to the board.¬† We'll have to wait and see.
Then the last area that we've worked very, very hard on with success that I'm especially proud of, and I think our presidents are, too, as are our coaches and ADs, are in the areas of academic performance, the notion that our student‑athletes have to be real students.¬† The success when this all began 10 years ago have been I think remarkable in terms of the graduation rates we've seen, the growth of those in every sport, and in particular in men's basketball.
What the board approved last fall were two fundamental changes, last fall and the fall before.¬† What's germane to this tournament and every post‑season play we're involved in for Division I is the idea that you have to have a 930 APR over a multi‑year period if you're going to participate in post‑season play.¬† That's rolling in now, will be in full effect three years from that beginning date.
That APR shift for post‑season play is a requirement that you perform in the classroom as well as on the court as had I think a profound impact on coaches and on athletic programs in all the right ways.
We've already seen and will be reporting out sometime in the near future, I've only seen the preliminary data, that we're having some nice success in the increase of the APR for this current year.¬† The data are incomplete, but when we report them out, I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised as I was when we saw the success we're having there.
The second piece of the academic proposals that were put in place that's the most consequential is that we've moved toward a new initial eligibility requirement of 2.3.¬† Bob Williams and his colleagues have been working on how to advertise this to freshmen, to eighth graders, to kids beginning high school right now so they understand they need more than a 2.0 in the core courses, they need a 2.3 in 2016.
It's a very important message to get out to all our high school and middle school kids.¬† They're in the midst of developing a program called '2.3 or Take a Knee.'¬† We're going to be launching a variety of advertisements that are geared toward youngsters, which means nobody in this room will get the jokes, but that's okay.¬† It's not aimed at us, it's aimed at young people to get them to understand that not only do they need a good jump shot, they need good grades in math if they're going to be successful in NCAA athletics.
All of those changes we've launched and are in the midst of right now have not been without their controversies.¬† You can't make large scale or modest change in any enterprise without people that find problems with them or concerns about them.¬† There's no question that this is very difficult work.
I've been very pleased and proud of what the board has wanted to do, what the Executive Committee has wanted to do, all the people that have worked around us to get those changes launched and in place.¬† It's still at best the midpoint in all of those reforms as we roll them out and put them into effect around the country.¬† But they certainly are things that we're pleased with movement in the right direction.
There's been a piece in the past day or two talking about my experiences, my past stops.¬† You need to know this, and I don't expect to spend any time on this today, but the fact of the matter is that everywhere I've been, I've been asked by boards or other bosses to help drive change.¬† I'm very proud of the changes that have been made at every place I've ever been along the way.¬† They're all institutions that have wonderful traditions.
I was lucky enough to work with people that wanted to make those universities better and to make them places that have higher academic expectations and greater levels of success in any objective measure you want to use for success.
While there's always people that don't like change when it occurs, the fact of the matter is that change is what we're about in the NCAA right now and we're trying to work our way through some very, very difficult changes to make the whole notion of intercollegiate athletics strong and viable going into the second century of the NCAA and of college sport.
So with that, let me pause and take questions.
Q.¬† Mark, when you talk about the kinds of changes you're making, when I talk to people in college athletics, athletic directors, conference commissioners, there's a huge frustration level with the presidents and what they're trying to do and the lack of communication and cooperation with the ground‑level folks.¬† Why are presidents equipped to drive this kind of change?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Because presidents ultimately are responsible for that change.¬† As a university president, I always recognized that the ultimate responsibility for any program on a campus lies with the presidents.¬† If presidents aren't in charge of intercollegiate athletics, then the system's got problems.
Now, I would actually agree with the critics that when we did reform, I'm using the broad 'we' here, because as you know, I wasn't involved early on in this, but I was very supportive of, at the time when I was a university president, changes that occurred in the governance structure of Division I that put presidents more central in the decision‑making process, which happened in the late '90s, I guess.
I think we did make a number of mistakes then that we're actually in the midst of trying to address right now.¬† I think when we're moved toward a more presidentially driven decision structure, that's a good one.¬† But we shoved athletic directors, coaches to a certain extent, commissioners too far to the sides.¬† So we haven't had enough conversations what policies and procedures mean on the grass‑roots level.
I'm meeting, I guess, tomorrow or Saturday with a group of ADs to talk exactly about that.¬† How do we now look at our current governance structure for Division I and make sure we're getting good input, advice and counsel from the people that manage the athletic enterprise on a daily bases, be they coaches, be they ADs, be they commissioners, though commissioners don't manage that stuff very directly, but the ADs and coaches really do.
I think we have had for some time now a lack of engagement of those folks in the process.¬† I think that's been a fundamental challenge as we've launched on this change agenda.
I think directionally the presidents, including me, got it dead right in terms of the direction we need to go in, the broad policy initiatives.¬† But then we need to make sure we have ADs and others involved in how we shape those questions.
We've worked, 'we' the NCAA staff, the working groups, all led by presidents, members, included ADs, commissioners and coaches, have worked very hard at trying to get input over the past year and a half, but it's been challenging.
Where we have done that very directly, like with the basketball coaches on the recruiting rules, that moved forward with great partnership, collaboration, the rules changes rolled out without a hitch, it's been a great success.¬† I think that's probably a really nice model of how we can drive change and get the kind of positive outcomes we all want to see.
So I think it's a very legitimate critique.
Q.¬† How much of a lightning rod do you feel for everything right now that's going on?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Me, personally?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Some of the criticisms about change or what's going on naturally get leveled at the guy at the top.¬† So, you know, I suspect that's just a natural thing.¬† If you're going to launch a change agenda, you've got to be willing to deal with criticism.¬† So, okay, I deal with criticism.
Q.¬† What do you think is the relevancy right now of the NCAA to the point they have virtually no power in football, the enforcement department, unprecedented litigation right now, what is the relevancy of the NCAA beyond a fantastic tournament?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Well, I disagree with your premise.¬† The notion that the NCAA has no power in football, or whatever your term was, the NCAA's position in football has been exactly the same since 1983.¬† Nothing's changed there.
The conferences since 1983, the NCAA versus the board of regents, have had nothing to do with regular‑season media rights.¬† Regular‑season media rights are that's controlled by the conferences.¬† They do a good job with it.¬† They put together the bowl games.¬† They put together the media deals that around the bowl games and that hasn't changed, other than the fact it's become dramatically more popular.
Those media deals have become valuable, and most commissioners describe that as a good deal.¬† The fact we don't have anything to do with the resources is largely irrelevant to our role.¬† All of the governance of the nature of the games, all the way those games are managed, all the issues around student‑athlete eligibility and the rules governing football are still NCAA rules.¬† So I don't think that's changed at all.
The issue around enforcement is predominantly the issue of Miami.¬† We can talk about Miami if you want to, of course.¬† But the Miami issue had some enormous foul‑ups in it.¬† We've acknowledged that.¬† We've addressed those issues.¬† The enforcement staff and all the people that work in enforcement are continuing to do their jobs, and they do a terrific one.
John Duncan, the interim VP, is a terrific individual.¬† I'm delighted he's joined us.¬† So, yeah, we had problems there.¬† We're fixes them and moving on.
Q.¬† And the ongoing litigation?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† If you're not getting sued today, you're not doing anything.¬† I don't know anybody that doesn't have litigation pending, so I'm not going to apologize for the fact we have a very litigious society, and there's plenty of reasons to file suit against large organizations.¬† I suspect CBS has people filing suits against it.
Q.¬† What are your thoughts on the current transfer rules?¬† Do you support the proposal to allow kids with a 2.6 GPA or better to transfer without having to sit out a year?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† My current attitude to the rule changes are in general that we're making some really terrific progress.¬† I'm very pleased we're making some headway in eliminating the minutia.¬† There's still a lot of it in there, but the rules working group is trying to damp that down.¬† I think they made a lot of really good proposals.¬† The membership has endorsed all but a handful of those issues.
I think the transfer issue is very complicated.¬† You need to try to find a balance where the young men and young women that are playing sports have legitimate opportunities to transfer.¬† You want to make sure that they can be academically successful.¬† We know that transferring decreases the probability of academic success.¬† So having an academic connection to that I think is a sensible thing to do.
But on the other hand, you also don't want to have a circumstance where, you know, you've got coaches that are recruiting each other's teams every season off of their bench.¬† You need to have some stability.¬† You need to have a way for programs to make long‑term commitments to young men and women and vice versa.
It's a very complex issue.¬† There's a lot of arguments on all sides of that one.¬† That's a long‑winded way of saying, you know, I'm going to leave that one up to coaches and people that really understand the dynamics of it, because I'm not sure, and I don't know that anyone is right now, what the right model is.
Q.¬† There was a story I read flying up here this morning, in USA Today, that talked a little bit about how the academic reforms, one result is more and more athletes are winding up in majors in general studies, interdisciplinary studies, baloney majors, designed to keep them eligible.¬† You were quoted as saying, I expected that.¬† So how in the world can you stand here with a straight face and tell us we're trying to uphold higher academic standards when you perfectly well understand that the consequence is that they're taking all these BS majors that were written about in the Chronicle of Higher Education?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† First of all, I'll let you talk to the deans of colleges, general studies, and you can discuss the value of their degrees.¬† We actually allow universities to make determinations about what academic credit should or shouldn't be.
If you think your alma mater is offering bad degrees, you ought to take it up with them.
We're an athletic association.¬† We don't accredit academic institutions.¬† We don't go into the classroom and say, We don't like the quality of this degree.¬† That's not the job of an athletic association.
I know you disagree with me, but please let me finish.
Let's start with your assertion that somehow we know, I forgot exactly how you phrased it, that the academic reforms have driven people into clusters of majors.¬† If you can provide me with that data, that would be useful to know, because I've never seen that data.
You had in that story someone referring to one school's football team's experience, and there was no pre‑ or postdate.¬† It was just saying at this school X‑number of students were general studies nature.¬† Doesn't talk about the nature of that degree, doesn't talk about whether that number went up or down, had anything to do with academic reform.¬† It was just a static number.¬† If, for you, that's compelling evidence, fine.¬† For me that's not compelling evidence.
Q.¬† I know you said you weren't going to spend too long talking about the story, but if that comes up from members of the Executive Committee and presidents, how do you address it with them?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† It hasn't.¬† If it does, I'll talk to them.¬† The Executive Committee hired me.¬† I'm sure they did an extensive search of my background.¬† I'm proud of my reputation at every place I've been.¬† That's their issue.
There's some issues of the basketball committee sitting back there that have worked with me in the past at other places.¬† If you want to talk to them, please be my guest.¬† If you want to go to my campuses, scratch around and find somebody that doesn't like some of the decisions I've made, I'm sure you can find them.
Q.¬† The Rutgers incident is at least the third this year of a coach laying hands on players.¬† Do you think it's time for some kind of a policy?¬† Given the reluctance of athletes to retaliate in that situation, what advice would you give them, whether there's any solution to this problem?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Yeah, the Rutgers case in particular is such a new case, I haven't spent any time looking at it.¬† I saw the video, like most everybody did.¬† I find that video pretty appalling, to say the least.
At the least, I think it requires us to have a conversation.¬† I don't want to suggest there's some immediate policy that can deal with it, because I don't know what that is.¬† But we need to talk with the coaches association, with the ADs, to see what we can do to make sure that young men and women aren't being exposed to abusive behavior by coaches.¬† That's just uncalled for and inappropriate.
Q.¬† You mentioned Miami, but there have been other instances of cases that have caused some distrust, UCLA, Auburn, Ohio State.¬† I can go down the list.¬† How much of that is ultimately your responsibility if there's a distrust with the association and how do you fix it?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Well, first of all, I'm not sure what you mean by the other cases.¬† The UCLA case obviously was one that caused significant concern for me and others, and we dealt with it through personnel actions.¬† We're holding our people accountable.
The Ohio State case worked its way through the Committee on Infractions.¬† While there may be people who disagree with the outcome of the Ohio State case, it was handled through normal channels.¬† I don't think the Ohio State infractions case caused a loss of confidence in the enforcement process.
So in the case of Auburn, there wasn't an enforcement case.¬† There weren't charges brought against Auburn University.¬† There was never evidence that was brought forward that allowed or provided for a charge to be brought against Auburn.
I'm not sure what you mean when you talk about those cases causing a loss of confidence in enforcement.
The Miami case is obviously a significant blow to the confidence people have in enforcement, and we've worked very, very hard to be as open and frank about that case.¬† We've dealt with it directly.¬† If we have to change, continue to change, the culture of enforcement, that's certainly on me and something I'm working hard on.
Q.¬† The latest Auburn situation to go into the news lately with the grades changing to keep players eligible, paying players to keep them in school, I don't know if you can address that situation in particular, but how do you go about changing a win‑at‑all‑cost philosophy that appears to exist right now?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† First of all, I think it's very important to recognize in that case at Auburn, what there is is a newspaper story.¬† That's it.¬† We haven't done anything with that case because we don't know anything about it.¬† What we know is what we read in the newspaper.
I think you've got two issues there.¬† There's the ‑ environment, and then there's what you read about Auburn.¬† I think 'guilty by newspaper story' isn't necessarily the right way to go about the question of win at any cost.
You know what, all we can do as an association is the people who oversee the rules can write rules that try to address those issues.¬† If allegations of that kind were true, then we'd deal with them as we have in cases in the past, and continue to do so.
The whole effort around the change in the rules is to focus on those things that are serious threats to integrity, things like academic fraud that's perpetrated by an institution, like money changing hands, like all those things that you or I would easily agree are huge problems with fundamental integrity and away from worrying about how many phone calls somebody made at a given day.
So first of all, we're trying to get the rule book to focus on the big problems and then allow our enforcement process to focus on those issues rather than minutia.¬† That's a hard thing to do, but that's what the board has asked me to do, and that's what we're working on.
The second piece is the changes that we put in place that will start in August around the nature of enforcement and the nature of penalties, the way coaches will be also pulled into the process more effectively we hope, both to prevent these things in the first place and also to be partners in uncovering what's going on, we hope is going to be effective.
Will that eliminate people's zeal to win?¬† No, that's never been the case, is never likely to be.¬† But we certainly hope we can have an impact on it, and that's what we hope to do.
Q.¬† What do you find factually or thematically inaccurate in the USA Today story about you?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† I'm not going to comment on the details of that story.¬† My comments are what I just said.
I'm really proud of my track record.¬† I'm really proud of what I got done at every institution I have been at.¬† I worked for, when I was president, boards who wanted me, encouraged me and supported me to drive very positive change.
If anybody wants to go back and look at the objective facts of where an institution was when I got there and where it was when I left in terms of its academic performance, the performance of its students, the quality of its students, the standing of the institution, be my guest.¬† I'm proud of that record.
Q.¬† Syracuse comes to the Final Four under a lengthy and seemingly significant NCAA investigation.¬† UConn comes to mind, Kansas was on probation a couple years ago, playing at the highest level being under NCAA scrutiny.¬† Do you think your organization has the power to stop that pattern?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Well, I think it's related to the earlier question.¬† You know what the association has the power to do?¬† It's not me, it's the membership itself, the membership has the authority to create rules; it has the authority to have the staff of the NCAA conduct enforcement investigations.
You and I have chatted about the limitations of that authority.¬† We're not a state actor, don't want to be a state actor. ¬†There will always be limitations to what can and can't be done.¬† The fact of the matter is that the association has provided, for decades out, a level of regulatory oversight that's had a positive impact on college sports.
Are there things that go wrong out there?¬† Of course, there are.¬† There are probably some things that go wrong in journalism, I expect.¬† But the evaluation is the best vehicle for self‑governance, and that's why people continue to support it.
Is it going to miss things?¬† Are there going to be things we can't get done?¬† Well, of course.
Q.¬† Mark, I know the Rutgers situation is only 48, 72 hours old.¬† But given what did not happen as an institutional level where the president did not view the tape till this week, the athletic director did not show it to him, does that rise in your eyes to lack of institutional control, failure to monitor?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† I don't know.¬† It would be inappropriate to comment.¬† I'm not trying to dodge a question, but I haven't had a chance in the past 48 hours to even think about it.¬† Moreover, it's not my judgment call.¬† It's the judgment call of enforcement staff and the Committee on Infractions.
Q.¬† When I saw you in Dayton in the fall, you expressed your reservations about the one‑and‑done age limit rule.¬† I asked you if you had any intent to contact, as an organization, Players' Association, the league, about altering that?¬† Has that happened since the fall?¬† If so, has the change at the top of the NBA PA had any interference with any progress that might have been made?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† As is appropriate, we've had only informal conversations.¬† There's no formal role for us in that.¬† We, of course, don't want to become ensnared in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between those two bodies. ¬†That's their work.
All we've been trying to do and I've been trying to do is express our concern about the one‑and‑done rule.¬† It's something that has very, very little support across higher education circles.¬† I've not been shy about saying that personally I think it really does a disservice to collegiate sport.¬† I think there's nothing positive about it for intercollegiate athletics.
Having transitions going on at the top of those organizations complicates the conversation.
Q.¬† Does it concern you and should it concern fans of college athletics that by your own admission a 'newspaper reporter' knows more about what's going on at Auburn than your enforcement staff?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† So you obviously believe that those allegations are true and you have evidence that they're true and you're saying, Okay, here's the facts, so why don't you throw the book at Auburn?
We have a higher responsibility when we're saying somebody's committed some offense than reading a newspaper story.¬† I mean, obviously when anything like that comes out, we conduct an investigation and look into it.
But the notion that I should be surprised or anybody should be surprised that the newspaper story talks about some alleged behavior that we don't know about is hardly shocking.¬† I'm not trying to pick a fight with you.¬† I guess I'm surprised you find that surprising.
Q.¬† My question wasn't whether you should take the newspaper article at face value.¬† By your own admission, you are saying your enforcement staff doesn't know anything that's going on at Auburn, and to a larger point, if that shouldn't be taken at face value, which I agree with, why was the Freeh Report taken at face value.
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Two good questions.
First of all, let me be clear about what I said.¬† We don't know anything about that situation, not about anything that's going on at Auburn University.¬† I've read the first report, the first news story.¬† As I understand it, a former student‑athlete made some comments to a reporter.¬† You guys probably know the story better than me.¬† Is that about accurate?
That person didn't call us.¬† He called a reporter.¬† Okay.¬† I don't know how you would expect us to have known more about that case than whatever this young man said to a reporter.¬† That's, again, hardly shocking.
To compare an assertion of an individual making a single claim to a single reporter, with, as far as I can tell, no factual basis of it, to a $6 million outside study that involved 400 interviews, review of three million documents and emails, a team of six or eight attorneys, I'm sure you would see those as fundamentally different in the weight of the evidence.
Q.¬† Can you provide any update on the investigation with Syracuse, when it will be completed, adjudicated, and also your thoughts about a process that took a senior member of this year's team off the court, missed games that he could never get back, then allowed to return, how that is beneficial to the student‑athlete?
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† No, unfortunately I can't comment on investigations.
BOB WILLIAMS:¬† Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT EMMERT:¬† Thank you all.
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