Fresh off his well-publicized appearance on ESPN radio on Friday, NCAA president Mark Emmert called into the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning for some more fun discussion.
While first making it clear that he is “not on a media tour,” Emmert was queried about the new unlimited food and snacks rule (that Shabazz Napier’s comments had nothing to do with apparently) before being asked about paying student-athletes.
Emmert has made it clear that he and the NCAA membership are not in favor of that idea.
“I’m in favor of making sure that student-athletes have all the things that they need to be successful as student-athletes. For most people that means covering the full cost of their attendance, providing a variety of things, some of which are not provided now, but the membership is not in favor of converting student-athletes into paid employees—especially not unionized paid employees,” he said.
The NCAA doesn’t want to share any of its revenue with student athletes either. Emmert said that there is a misconception about how the majority of the revenue that comes into college sports is distributed.
“If you look at the 900 million dollars the NCAA brings in, the vast majority of that money right off the top goes back to the schools themselves who use it to run their athletic departments. The other balance is used to support the 89 championships. We have one that has a lot of cash flow coming off it – the men’s basketball tournament. But we run 88 other championships and it’s used to support all of those activities and it’s used to support division two and division three,” Emmert said.
As an example, Patrick posed the idea of paying student-athletes minimum wage for the hours they put in on a weekly basis and Emmert predictably toed the company line.
“If the notion is to convert students into employees and change their status from being student athletes to being employees of the university – then that’s a completely different model. (The universities) want them to be students. They want them to be interested in getting an education – not to be employees,” Emmert explained.
Emmert said that if the upcoming unionization vote at Northwestern is successful, then “it would completely change everything about college sports” and that university presidents he has spoken to “are not particularly interested in continuing sports as they exist now if they are going to be converted into employees that are going to be hired rather than brought to the university.”
Patrick also pressed Emmert about players not being able to profit off of their likeness, using the money Johnny Manziel brought into Texas A&M as an example. Emmert said that the system of college athletics made it possible for Manziel to pursue an NFL career.
“(Manziel) was provided an opportunity to have world-class coaching and have world-class exposure in a system of collegiate athletics that allowed him to satisfy his professional ambition,” Emmert said
You can watch the entire 18-minute interview below.
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