Facing increasing public backlash for making money off college athletes, NCAA President Mark Emmert is doing his best to weather the storm.
With the Johnny Manziel money-for-autographs scandal and an epic Twitter rant from college basketball analyst Jay Bilas serving as motivation, Emmert said on Thursday that the NCAA will no longer profit from selling jerseys that correspond to specific players on collegiate teams.
ESPN's Andy Katz had this tweet with the news:
NCAA pres Mark Emmert comes out strong saying NCAA won't be in business of selling school jerseys. He said NCAA will exit that business.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) August 8, 2013
USA Today's Dan Wolken also posted tweets with Emmert's comments:
Emmert: "I can't speak to why we entered into that enterprise but it’s not appropriate for us and we’re going to exit it."— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 8, 2013
Emmert: "I certainly understand how people can see that as hypocritical."— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 8, 2013
As noted by Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated:
To be clear, Emmert is talking specifically about the online store on NCAA's site. Doesn't mean schools won't keep selling jerseys.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 8, 2013
Emmert, who has been the president of the governing body for just over three years, has had little to be excited about just days before college students and athletes alike return to their campuses.
The issue of providing college athletes with compensation for the money they bring to the NCAA has been a hot-button topic for quite some time. Manziel, Terrelle Pryor and others have been connected to making money as amateurs, causing some to question the motivation of restricting player compensation.
Additionally, conferences continue to push for change. SEC commissioner Mike Slive took a few shots at the NCAA at the 2013 SEC media days earlier this summer, and other conference commissioners haven't been shy about the possibility of leaving the governing body behind.
All that said, Bilas might have been the straw that broke the camel's back with respect to selling jerseys for profit.
Using the Manziel story as a springboard, Bilas launched a full-scale attack on the NCAA on Twitter earlier this week.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Doing his best to challenge the idea that the NCAA is taking advantage of college athletes everywhere, Emmert took a small step toward change on Thursday.
This could be just the first of many changes the NCAA may have to ultimately make.