I said from the beginning of the report of the Miami investigator scandal that the only thing Emmert should do is have an investigation, (seems like a pretty light one now) clean house (he shouldn't be done...but he is) and then step down. Only way to give any credence that he was a man of integrity. He wouldn't on his own, but this is the sound of the hounds in the hunting perty. He will leave soon, but his integrity is in shambles and so is the NCAA's imvestigative and enforcement.
NCAA president Mark Emmert is a man under fire. The organization he runs is one of the least popular in the country, it’s mired in a scandal regarding its own handling of an investigation, and it’s facing a potentially landscape-changing lawsuit.
Now the press is getting involved, too. USA Today has begun digging into Emmert’s past.
It’s this writer’s opinion that any time you dig long and hard enough into someone’s past — especially someone who’s worked at a number of different jobs — you’re going to find dirt. That’s because people who work in a number of places are bound to make a number of enemies. All it takes is for one or two enemies at each stop to start hurling accusations and a man’s reputation will go bye-bye lickety-split.
That said, one of the places Emmert worked was at LSU as the school’s chancellor from 1999 through 2004. People there are talking. We’ll let USA Today pick it up from there:
“At LSU, an academic fraud scandal emerged in the football program under then-coach Nick Saban in 2001-02. Emmert oversaw an investigation into the allegations made by a university instructor that eventually acknowledged five minor and isolated violations and declared most of the claims ‘unfounded.’
Emmert even met on LSU’s behalf with the NCAA, which accepted LSU’s findings. But after Emmert decided to leave LSU in 2004, a witness testified in a deposition that the instructor was telling the truth and that the problems were far more systemic than the school admitted, even extending to grades being changed for football players, according to court records.
The culture was ‘appalling’ and ‘like Romper Room,’ the employee said in 2004 testimony.”
Whether Emmert was guilty of a cover-up or not, LSU is back in the news today. So is Nick Saban, who will have to provide answers about this situation and how it might pertain to his current program at Alabama. Already enemies of Emmert — Penn State fans, duh — are taking the USA Today report as Gospel.
The old saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity is just that — an old saying. The phrase was coined long before talk radio, the internet, and social media made the rush to judgement oh so much easier. USA Today’s decision to re-open the vaults on Emmert will most assuredly cause headaches for a few folks in Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa over the next few days.
Not to mention for Emmert, upon whose head currently rests the NCAA’s presidential crown. As well as the weight of the world.
Here’s hoping Emmert doesn’t complain about any of this. After all, it was his organization that decided last summer to take out-of-its-jurisdiction, precedent-setting, PR-driven action against Penn State. The public was outraged by the Jerry Sandusky scandal and only massive penalties could sate its bloodlust. The public wants a smaller, less powerful NCAA right up to the point that it wants a body to overstep its bounds and hammer some school, coach, or president.
Well now the sporting world is outraged by the NCAA over, well, over anything and everything. Emmert is the face of this year’s big scandal. He’s got the lynch mob on his tail this time around.
Emmert probably feels as though he’s not being given a fair opportunity to defend himself. But I seem to remember a few folks at Penn State saying the same thing just a few short months ago.
It’s funny how quickly public opinion can change. One minute you’re cheered as the righteous executioner. The next you’re the one who everyone wants stoned.
Unfortunately in this case, LSU, Saban, and Alabama might get a little bruised, too, just for having connections back to Emmert.
SIDENOTE – Not surprisingly, the first couple of comments under this have completely missed the point and taken this as some sort of hit piece on Saban/Alabama.
1. LSU officials and Saban will be asked about the USA Today story. Though the story is old, the witch hunt to bring down Emmert has dug it up.
2. I think I made it clear to most folks who actually took the time to read the piece that I don’t think this is Gospel regarding Emmert, but the court of public opinion will.