Emmert ambivalent about NCAA’s role in vetting prep courses
NEW YORK (AP) — NCAA President Mark Emmert says he’s “personally ambivalent” about the organization’s role in vetting incoming athletes’ high school classes.
In a high-profile case this fall, Kansas officials sharply criticized the NCAA about its delays in declaring top recruit Cheick Diallo eligible. The university had determined that Diallo’s education at a New York prep school met its standards, but under current NCAA rules, college sports’ governing body prevented him from playing while it investigated whether the coursework was legitimate.
“That would be a huge shift, and the members aren’t ready to go there — I want to be really clear nobody is advocating that right now,” Emmert said at the Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in Manhattan on Wednesday.
“But it does create this tension where a school says, ‘Yeah, we’re fine with this student’s academic preparation,’ but the membership has also asked the national office, ‘Go in there and verify because we don’t like these kinds of schools.’”
Emmert acknowledged “that process would not be going on for any other student.”
“The membership has got to decide: Do they want to have the national association in the business of verifying whether a high school is a legitimate high school or not, or not?” he added. “And I’m personally ambivalent about that.”
Speaking to reporters after his annual appearance at the forum, which is sponsored by IMG and presented by SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal, Emmert said he was concerned by declining numbers of minority and female head coaches.
But he insisted the NCAA was limited in its ability to enforce change, saying a college equivalent of the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires clubs to interview at least one minority candidate for any vacant coaching or general manager post, is unrealistic.
“The biggest challenge is that we’ve got literally 19,000 teams,” Emmert said. “The NFL’s got 32; we have 19,000. They all operate in independent labor law environments, and all the hiring authorities are decentralized across 1,100 colleges and universities. So legally, no, that probably isn’t there.”