NCAA president Mark Emmert makes $1.7M to players’ 0
BY RICK TELANDER Sports Columnist July 15, 2014 11:18PM
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President Mark Emmert testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on the NCAA's treatment of athletes. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Updated: July 16, 2014 2:30PM
Well, what new things do we know about the NCAA today?
That it is a monster with so many probes, fingers and tails that it barely can control itself, let alone the vast array of grubs, worker drones and servant mites that live off its residue and provide for it?
No, that’s old stuff.
What we know now is that president Mark Emmert made $1.7 million in compensation in 2012, the last year for which we got to see his federal tax return. It’s not a leap to say he likely got a bit more than that in 2013. And that he will get a bit (a ton?) more than that in 2014.
Chief operating officer Jim Isch — the laugh-a-minute Pancho to Emmert’s Cisco, if you will — pulled in $1.01 million in 2012, according to the returns the NCAA just revealed.
Good gigs if you can get ’em.
We also got to see the unveiling of the trophy that will be given to the football national champions this season, the first with a major-college playoff. And when I say ‘‘this season,’’ I mean now because USA Today proclaimed: ‘‘The college football season had its unofficial opening [with the unveiling] Monday.’’
The ceremony took place in Irving, Texas, the home of no Division I football school that I can think of (unless you want to call the Dallas Cowboys, who once played there, a college and owner Jerry Jones a dean). It means the season unofficially runs from July 14, 2014, to Jan. 12, 2015, when the title game will be played in nearby Arlington, Texas, the current home of the Cowboys’ massive, retractable-roofed AT&T Stadium, often referred to as ‘‘Jerry World.’’
As I count on my fingers, I see that is a six-month season for our unpaid-worker football players. I won’t call them student-athletes any more than I would call a college kid in a geology class a student-student.
But this four-team playoff will be huge. Money will gush. It will, in my opinion — if given enough drumrolls and big names — be right on par with the Super Bowl for fan interest. And TV revenue. And, yep, gambling.
Meanwhile, the NCAA keeps plowing ahead in the capitalist environment it has found, like a nightcrawler in black dirt, so much to its liking.
The new trophy itself is a graven image, saluting cash. Weighing in at 35 pounds — the same as the Stanley Cup — the trophy is made of 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel and sits atop a 30-pound bronze base. Melted down, the trophy could be made into about 5,000 Ohio State ‘‘gold pants’’ trinkets, each worth roughly three neck tattoos or two credits. (OK, I made that last part up.)
The trophy is a ‘‘priceless, one-of-a-kind piece of art,’’ College Football Playoff executive Bill Hancock said. (I didn’t make that up.)
The players will be striving for that trophy/statue with all their might. The coaches will, too, because winning it will be worth millions of dollars in bonuses and future contracts for them. The winning — and losing — players, of course, will get nothing. So it goes.
Or so it went.
The NCAA is under fire now, and it might not be able to dodge the bullets of logic and economic fairness forever. Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter began the worker revolution, just as former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon started the fight against the NCAA’s use of players’ images.
And a bill was just introduced in Congress that woud require the NCAA to file easily understandable financial reports. It would make conferences, bowl games and the brand-new College Football Playoff group do so, too.
This marks the third time in less than a year that a bill related to college sports has been introduced by Washington lawmakers. Those guys on Capitol Hill are a back-patting, grandstanding, big-promising bunch, but even they can get off their behinds when inundated with facts and public ire.
The problem is, every one of those congressmen went to college somewhere, and they start singing their school’s fight song and saying how their boys can lick your boys as soon as anything such as real sports reform comes up.
That trophy is something. Sharing the money with the workers will be something else.