Mark Emmert: It's Time to Deregulate, Decentralize College Sports amid NIL Changes

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 15, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 09:  NCAA president Mark Emmert listens during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on “NCAA Athlete NIL (name, image, and likeness) Rights” on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress hopes to pass legislation on NIL compensation at the federal level before it takes effect in several states across the country on July 1. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

NCAA President Mark Emmert advocated for sweeping changes to how college sports is overseen across the country.

The Associated Press' Ralph D. Russo reported that Emmert "laid out a vision for the future of college sports that puts fewer limitations on athletes and de-emphasizes the role of a national governing body like the NCAA" during a media call Thursday.

Included in the hypothetical changes were "shifting power to conferences and campuses and reconsidering how schools are aligned."

Emmert's comments don't represent an official policy or any concrete forthcoming developments, but they're noteworthy nonetheless because he's talking about a massive transformation in what the NCAA actually does.

Granted, the 68-year-old and his colleagues might see the writing on the wall.

In June, the organization adopted interim policies allowing athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness after watching numerous individual states pass their own NIL legislation. That same month, the United States Supreme Court voted unanimously against the NCAA in a case centered around the limits to which schools can provide education-related benefits.

College sports may be approaching—or already crossed—a point of no return when it comes to the role of the NCAA.

Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger

Whether Emmert wants it or not, it's coming. <br><br>Too many high-level conference commissioners - specifically one located in the Southeast - have expressed the need for governance change. <a href="https://t.co/LJo5vVw0Vh">https://t.co/LJo5vVw0Vh</a>

This past spring, The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach, Dana O'Neil and Chris Vannini spoke to college administrators who were sharply critical of Emmert and the NCAA.

This was on the heels of the organization having to answer for a wide gulf in resources provided for the men's and women's basketball tournaments. The story garnered significant attention and thus brought persistent scrutiny upon the NCAA.

"He’s had a lot of missteps over the years and blunders — so when something like this happens, it’s not like he’s got the goodwill built up," one Power Five athletic director told The Athletic.

The piece also quoted a Power Five commissioner who said, "The business nature of college athletics has outgrown the structure of the NCAA."

An athletic director also used the Ever Given's ordeal in the Suez Canal to describe the expediency with which the NCAA addresses issues.

Whatever happens from here, Emmert can rest easy knowing he has an extension keeping him in his current role through 2025.