Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.

Before we get into today’s news, I’d like to share a quick announcement from an Extra Points sponsor, The University of Texas Sport Management Program.

Join sports industry professionals, academics, and students worldwide as they discuss current trends and the future of the sports industry at the inaugural Playing the Long Game conference presented by The University of Texas Sport Management Program.

YOU are invited to join panel discussions on the immediate and long-term impact of COVID-19, innovation, and the long-term future of the industry, diversity, and culture and ethics in the workplace.

The event kicks off on Monday April 12th, with a keynote conversation featuring former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, and will continue on the 13th and 15th.

For a complete list of panelists and sessions, as well as free registration, please see our website: https://longgameconference.com/

I plan on checking that conference out myself, and I think many of you would enjoy the discussions as well.

If you want to listen to folks talk about existential questions of the college athletics industry, but aren’t sure if you can make that conference, good news!

We have another episode of Going For Two!

In today’s episode, I chat with my co-host, Bryan Fischer, about some of the biggest off-the-court storylines from the early rounds of both NCAA basketball tournaments. This conversation covers:

  • A closer look at the Flutie Effect, and what impacts just how  much “value” a school can derive from all that media attention.
  • Whether the outcry over the massive equity issues between the men’s and women’s basketball tournament will be the catalyst for substantial change.
  • Why we had those equity issues in the first place.
  • Whether Mark Emmert and NCAA leadership really screwed up the TV deals for the men’s and women’s tournaments, and what that would mean for NCAA institutions.
  • And more!

Going For Two is absolutely free, and meant to supplement this newsletter. You can download it wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoy it, boy, I think it’d be swell if you shared that podcast with your buddies, or maybe gave the podcast a nice rating and a nice review. That helps other folks find the podcast.

I didn’t get a chance to read this story before we recorded, but I think it dovetails nicely with what Bryan and I were talking about.

Apparently, most athletic directors really don’t like Mark Emmert

Yahoo Sports published a story on Tuesday that openly wondered if Mark Emmert had messed up so badly that now he’d finally lose his job, as large swaths of athletic administrations are very frustrated with him.

Yahoo Sports spoke to multiple commissioners who estimated that there’s at least an 85% disapproval of the job Emmert is doing among college commissioners. Among Division I athletic directors, his support is about the same. And those estimates are considered conservative. All are quick to point out that his job is hard and thankless because it lacks unilateral power, but there’s a consistent message that they want more for the $2.7 million he was paid in the last reported year.

The story also wondered if perhaps this could be one of the catalysts that pushed power football programs to eventually leave the NCAA completely.

This is a popular offseason column idea, but I think that would be highly unlikely, even now, with so much discontent among NCAA membership. The biggest reason gets to the very heart of the column…presidential control.

I’m not surprised that most athletic directors and conference commissioners are highly frustrated with Emmert and other NCAA administrators. The organization has failed to effectively manage the NIL issue, and now various statehouses and attorneys are leading the charge. It’s possible that the television deals for many events, including the basketball tournaments, are undervalued. And hey, whenever something goes wrong, reporters call up the athletic directors and the conference leaders and ask them nosy questions.

But while athletic directors and senior athletic officials are critically important to the day to day operation of athletic departments, the NCAA is run by university presidents. And Yahoo is correct to point out that this can be a cause of real frustration, since university presidents are generally not trained to manage athletics, and have to spend most of their time on issues that have nothing to do with athletics. They should spend their time on stuff that doesn’t have to do with athletics! Budgets for things like medical research centers dwarfs that of even the largest athletic departments.

Splitting away from the NCAA doesn’t really solve that conundrum. Even if you take all of the P5 institutions and a handful of others away and create their own special organization, well, the presidents are almost certainly still in charge! They’d just end up creating another NCAA, unless presidents decide to dismiss any remaining vestige of amateur athletics and go to a full fledged semi-pro model. And if that was on the table, shoot, why not just do that now?

I get why administrators are upset. I don’t think NCAA central leadership has done a good job either. But the power to change that rests with leaders at the local level…and if the schools aren’t capable of demanding and executing change, I’m not sure why we should expect better outcomes if they ditch Emmert and replace him with another haircut that answers to the same people.

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Quick reminder. I am taking next week off. I’m going to take some time to work on a few business things, work on the sequel to the Where In the World Is the Civil ConFLiCT Trophy, and just reset my brain for a few days. I’ll publish another paywalled newsletter this week and then see you again on April 12. Thanks for understanding!