If you ever wanted to know what a digital colonoscopy might look like, look no further than the #AskEmmert hashtag now trending on Twitter.
Mark Emmert, the president of the little non-profit known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), took to the airwaves of the ESPN's Mike & Mike show Friday morning and fielded questions from Twitter users. It didn't take long for the thread to turn into a social media disaster.
Sports Illustrated has a roundup of some of the best questions posed to Emmert, but the NCAA president seemed genuinely confounded when asked to his explain why the NCAA has taken so long to act on common sense reforms like food allowances (which only went into effect after comments made by University of Connecticut basketball star Shabazz Napier) and made flippant remarks about student-athletes that have sought unionization.
"It would completely blow up the collegiate model. So if what we want to do is fix up all the problems that are out there—of which there are plenty—that's the wrong answer," stated Emmert on this morning's program.
If unionization is the wrong answer, Emmert and his colleagues at the NCAA have failed to provide any answers at all. The NCAA president contends that the organization has been working on major reforms related to food allowances and student-athlete transfer rules for years, but nothing had been passed until after the recent NLRB ruling in March. Since then, the NCAA has acted quickly in reforming stingy food laws for athletes (Emmert spent a good portion of his interview detailing how a bagel could be construed as a meal violation) and promises more changes on health care and student-athlete transfer laws.
Though Emmert couldn't explain why these changes weren't enacted sooner, I've made the argument here at Reason that the NLRB decision is finally forcing the NCAA's hand when it comes to making any concrete changes:
The NCAA has spent decades doing the easy thing, using its power to inconsistently impose and enforce outmoded and overly complex eligibility rules upon student-athletes, who have lost their athletic eligibility for rapping and have been punished for washing their cars with university water available to other students.
The NLRB ruling and growing number of other major lawsuits may finally force the NCAA to do what we as student-athletes learn on day one: make the hard choices.