Brent Schrotenboer wrote a profile of NCAA president Mark Emmert for USA Today, and it's necessary reading material.
As many call for Emmert's ouster over the NCAA's mishandling of the Miami investigation, Schrotenboer looked into the past of college sports' head honcho, and it isn't pretty. During his time as Montana State's provost, UConn's chancellor, and president of LSU and Washington, the organizations he ran got into ethical trouble, but Emmert managed to escape in each scenario, ending up at one of the cushiest and most prestigious jobs in his field.
Just one example. With regards to a construction project Emmert oversaw at UConn, which overran costs by $100 million after various safety regulations were overlooked:
Gov. Rell called the fiasco "an astounding failure of oversight and management."
It had no bearing on Emmert. By the time the problems were found, he was long gone, having become chancellor at LSU in 1999. Connecticut officials said their efforts to question him about his role in the matter were unproductive.
The case fits a pattern for Emmert. Rightly or wrongly, he has a history of dodging blame in scandals that have festered on his campuses, sometimes moving on to a more lucrative job before their full extent becomes known. Now as the top cop in college sports, he has talked tough, calling for more integrity in college sports and cracking down on wayward programs, including those that failed to blow the whistle, such as Penn State and Miami. But in his previous positions, Emmert has drawn criticism for not moving nearly as aggressively against problems that occurred under his watch.
It's damning. Read it.
I think it's safe to say
that we at SB Nation are not particularly fond of Mark Emmert. We have called him an unpopular dictator. We have written that he's the wildly incompetent head of a morally corrupt organization. We have endorsed his firing, even while acknowledging that the association he's in charge of has been a mess for decades before his arrival. We have... well, we've called him a horse.
The overlying image here is of Emmert as a man trying, but failing, to take charge of a hypocritical organization bigger than he can handle.
Schrotenboer's piece doesn't disprove that picture, but expands on it. Emmert might be overmatched for his job, but he's been so at every rung. He's made a career out of being overmatched by his various jobs and somehow manages to stick the landing each time. He's a professional incompetent, someone who has mastered acting like everything's under control when it's smoldering behind him. And at an organization that's by nature morally flawed - you know, the whole making money off athletes that don't get paid thing - that made him the perfect guy for the job.
And we probably should mention the rampant hypocrisy of Emmert's holier-than-thou approach towards management at institutions while in charge of the NCAA when he was in fact a failure himself as manager at similar institutions. That's dandy.