Mark Emmert’s ouster was long overdue with NCAA’s relevance eroding, president’s power fading

Jaws did not drop Tuesday despite another typical end-of-business-day news dump by the NCAA. President Mark Emmert is stepping down — and absolutely no one should be surprised. It was expected in the sense that it was about a decade overdue.

However, jaws actually did drop nearly one year ago to the day when the NCAA Board of Governors announced it had unanimously decided to extend Emmert’s contract through 2025.

Remember, this was before the Alston v. NCAA decision, before name, image and likeness rights made it free-range pay-for-play, and before Emmert slipped on one more banana peel on his way out the door by calling the national champions the “Kansas City Jayhawks” on the podium after the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

No calls were necessary last April when the NCAA board extended Emmert two more years. The outrage reached me as athletic directors and administrators called to share their incredulity. One AD begged his president, a member of the board, not to extend Emmert as the CEO was leaving for the vote in Indianapolis. The president did anyway.

That’s evidence, perhaps, of how Emmert kept holding onto his job despite one misstep after another. If he didn’t stack that board with his toadies, it sure had warmed to him for unknown reasons.

In the middle of the association’s deepest turmoil in its 115-year history, board chair John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown, actually gave Emmert a vote of confidence. This was last March when inequities regarding the NCAA Women’s Tournament that went viral were leaking into the nightly news.

Out of touch doesn’t even begin to describe it, and apparently, it doesn’t end with Emmert. The 69-year-old leaves office with his enterprise foundering like a bass flopping around on a dock on a summer day….


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