Mark Emmert: NCAA 'Serious' About Making 'Systemic Change' Amid FBI Probe

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2018

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks during the NCAA Convention, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, in Indianapolis.  Emmert says the governing must act on a set of recommendations to clean up college basketball before the start of next season. He expects to receive the report from an independent commission by April 25. The Board of Governors will then be expected to vote on formal proposals at their August meeting. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

NCAA President Mark Emmert stressed the importance of making changes Saturday in the midst of a wide-ranging FBI probe into corruption in college basketball.

According to CBS' Tracy Wolfson, Emmert said: "Some of our rules have been from [a] different age, and it's reached a crescendo. We need to go in and look at the rules and see how it fits for current context. We're really serious about making really systemic change starting with spring and going forward."

On Friday, Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported federal documents named several college basketball programs caught up in the scandal and that current and former players were said to have received impermissible benefits.

The report named Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC and Alabama as schools that may have been involved.

Players mentioned included Michigan State's Miles Bridges, Alabama's Collin Sexton and Duke's Wendell Carter Jr., as well as Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks, Markelle Fultz of the Philadelphia 76ers and Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat.

ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach reported Friday that FBI wiretaps intercepted conversations between Arizona head coach Sean Miller and ASM Sports agency's Christian Dawkins. Miller and Dawkins reportedly discussed paying center Deandre Ayton $100,000 to sign with the Wildcats.

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Arizona assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson was arrested as part of the probe in September and fired in January. Ayton signed with the Wildcats and is one of the top players in college basketball.

Many in the basketball world sounded off on the probe Friday, including legendary college basketball coach and commentator Dick Vitale.

Per TMZ Sports, Vitale believes the NCAA should start paying student-athletes, saying: "[The NCAA is] making zillions of dollars. Why not allow it? ... Let them get paid. I really believe that in my heart, because this has gotten totally out of control right now."

The 65-year-old Emmert has been NCAA president since 2010.

He is deeply rooted in college athletics, as he was previously president at the University of Washington and chancellor at LSU and the University of Connecticut.

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