- Last Updated: 8:48 AM, May 13, 2012
- Posted: 12:10 AM, May 13, 2012
Judging from two recent high-profile TV interviews — one with CBS’ Jim Nantz, the other a more extensive chat with NBC’s Bob Costas — it’s difficult to imagine that the NCAA could have chosen a more genial and sincere-sounding academic reformist (aren’t they all?) as its new president than Dr. Mark Emmert.
The man sounds like the upbeat grade-advisor every student would be lucky to have.
But then, a quick switch to the Big Ten Network to see big crowds and big media attention paid to spring football. Televised scrimmages, depth charts, red-shirt issues, playbooks, assistant coaches frantically running the sidelines.
Slo-mo replays from intra-team spring scrimmages! Geez, you would think it were nationally televised Signing Day — when grown men hold their breaths to see what school’s name is on the cap as the 18-year-old turns to TV cameras!
Emmert, if he’s for real, is delusional.
In just the case of football, “student-athletes” lost the first semester to football. Now, while the rest of the student body preps for and takes second semester finals, the schools’ football players had better show up trained and ready to compete in April and May for starting positions early next semester!
Round and round it goes. If we logically were to conclude that recruited Division I football and basketball players are among the minimal academic qualifiers for full scholarships, the mere notion that these enrollees are pursuing — or even able to pursue — legit college educations defies the most rationalized applications of practicality and just plain common sense.
Emmert’s “Gosh, we’ve got to do better” assertions, hopeful and convincing as they sound, refute what we see and know: They’re enough to make Pollyanna gag.
Nothing will change — not for the better — under Emmert, as nothing changed for his predecessors. Coaches still will be hired and fired — and issued bonuses — based on wins, losses and full houses, not ensuring, or improving, academic integrity.
Student-athletes, granted full scholarships, their presence on campus predicated on nothing else and nothing better than winning ballgames, still will be aggressively pursued, fought over.
Jerry Tarkanian, notorious for coaching renegade basketball teams — first at UNLV, then at Fresno State — once attended an NCAA academic reform convention at which he shocked other schools’ reps by supporting every motion designed to put some college back into college ball.
At the hotel bar, after one such session, the athletic director from a school, with better-than-most academic standards for athletes, asked Tarkanian why he would support such reforms.Follow @NYPostsports