Friday, March 13

Emmert & NCAA Board Blow Call on Tournaments

Mark Emmert and the NCAA again rushed to judgment in penalizing athletes and harming communities

Ray Blehar
March 13, 2020, 1:25 PM EDT, Updated March 14, 8:30 AM EDT

Yesterday morning, opined that the NCAA and conferences should suspend play until the nation overcomes the coronavirus pandemic and then resume play later in the year.   That solution would not have endangered the health of the athletes and would have allowed for communities to reap the financial benefits of hosting the tournament.

However, instead of a suspension, Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors decided to cancel the remaining winter athletic seasons and spring championships.

The move is reminiscent of Emmert's and the Executive Board's rush to judgment in penalizing Penn State Athletics based on highly questionable data furnished by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

Given the time frame of the decision, this was a knee jerk reaction.  Emmert and the NCAA Board did even less research on this issue that it did in the PSU case.

In that case, former Executive Committee Chair Ed Ray admitted to not reading the Freeh Report and emails (obtained in the Corman case) revealed his decisions were driven by media reports and reader comments.  As a result of the Corman litigation, the NCAA reversed some of its decisions, notably the restoration of wins for the PSU football program.

What could not be reversed, however, was the NCAA's punishment of PSU athletes who had done absolutely nothing wrong and were not permitted to fight back.

The difference this time around is that the college athletes are not prohibited from -- and are -- fighting back.  So should the communities who planned on hosting tournaments.

Right now,  there is a petition for athletes to receive a fifth year of eligibility from the NCAA.

Update:  At 2:30 PM on Friday, the NCAA announced it is working to provide "eligibility relief" for spring sport athletes.   No such accommodations have been made for winter sport athletes.

Nick Albicocco created a well reasoned petition more along the lines of notpsu's approach of moving the tournament to a future date.   

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