Rather than assessing the NCAA president's arguments regarding amateurism and the mounting legal challenges to major college sports, let's talk strategy. Specifically, this:
The commentariat roundly derides Emmert as a tone-deaf boob every time he starts talking near a microphone. In effect, however, he answers to the schools, and they're showing no signs of dissatisfaction with the NCAA's boss. Do they:
- Believe in Emmert's arguments; or
- Lack the cohesion to clip him; or
- Evaluate the role of the president by a different set of criteria?
It's appealing to portray these kinds of stories in terms of Great People and leadership, but Emmert isn't running the show. He can push an agenda, but NCAA executives don't rule college sports by fiat.
Emmert himself draws a hefty salary, but it's the schools that really profit from college sports as we know them. Emmert serves their interests, and they wear the NCAA like a flak jacket. Emmert sticks to the script, absorbs the fallout and keeps the attention on his Byzantine association, not the institutions that enable it. While Dan Patrick and his ilk wail on the schools' whipping boy, the people who actually call the shots are lighting cigars with ESPN's checks.
So keep dogging Emmert if you'd like, but that's soooo not the point – or maybe it is.