NCAA president faces backlash after saying university president 'the hardest job in America'
December 9, 2021
Emmert shared controversial comments and discussions for the industry's future development
NCAA president Mark Emmert gave his remarks as part of the Sports Business Journal/Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
In his media appearance, the 68-year-old discussed his time as a university president. While there were many notable comments in his speech, one really caught the internet's attention.
"Being a university president is the hardest job in America," Emmert said.
Given his many controversial views on college athletics, Emmert often comes across as out of touch with reality. However, no comment he has made in the past couple of years can compare to the anger and disgust he received after this one.
Emmert might have been joking based on the context of the interview. Yet anyone who has seen the quote doesn't give him the benefit of the doubt.
The reaction to Emmerson's comment has been brutal. Many argue that teachers, doctors, and military personnel have much tougher jobs than he did at the University of Washington
"I would go with doctor, firefighter, epidemiologist… you know… people actually making life and death decisions," one tweet says.
"Mark Emmert’s PR guy might actually have the "hardest job in America"," says the other.
Regardless of the backlash, Emmert has made it clear that he doesn't care what other people think about it.
NCAA president complains about trust issues
On the other hand, Mark Emmert also commented that the latest round of conference reorganization and other changes in college athletics have undermined trust and fellowship within the industry, calling it the worst of any time during his 11-year tenure as president.
"When you have such movements, it disrupts a lot," Emmert said. "The NCAA and everything in higher education operates through self-regulation. There is no Department of Education or Department of Sports. Schools regulate each other. Sports is just another example of that. And that depends entirely on camaraderie, collaboration, and trust."
"If you can’t organize a self-environment on the spirit of fellowship, trust, and good communication, you have a big problem."
With advancements relating to school sports activities, such as title, picture, likeness, and a brand new NCAA structure, Emmert hopes that trust can start to be repaired.
An additional draft of the NCAA's structure was launched on Monday, and it could further embrace NIL and focus on providing greater support for college athletes.
"Working together on all of these issues, including what we are doing now to reshape that, especially the first division structure, people have to put some personal concerns and frustrations aside and look at the common interest of the company," Emmert said. "We will get there but it will take some time."
CFP expansion plan
Despite the NCAA's limited role in college football, Emmert called for an expansion of the field, adding that winning the Power Conference championships "should mean something." The inclusion of the six top-ranked Conference Champions and six senior teams in the 12-team prototype has become a sticking point in expansion discussions.
Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson, a member of the group that proposed the model in June, believes a 12-team playoff will be approved but is unsure of the time.