Mark Emmert Is Emphatic That Student Athletes Are Amateurs, Believes Coaches Should Be Held To Higher Standard Than Student AthletesMay 31, 2011 – 7:30 am by Steven Cuce
In light of Jim Tressel’s resignation as head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes on Memorial Day the hot button issue in Division I collegiate football presides over the controversy of coaches’ being held accountable for violation that their student athletes commit behind closed doors. Ohio State football surely isn’t the first program to have reports surface regarding current and former football players selling awards and equipment for some quick cash. Ohio State will definitely not be the last major collegiate sports program to have a major scandal occur either. In the case of Jim Tressel the story is more about the head coach’s failure to disclose his knowledge of these violations due to the fact that he knew they were occurring and didn’t believe there were any wrongdoing.
The collegiate sporting world’s use of scholarships in Division I football and basketball is a growing issue that any talk show host, professor or casual sports fan could argue until the particular person is blue in the face. In our modern world collegiate sports are dirty and quite a bit of the “student athletes” who play the sports that we love to watch want a “piece of the financial pie” because they are bringing in the entertainment and revenue to their particular school. It seems many student athletes have lost the concept of going to school on scholarship to get an education and the coaches have one job and that is to win games. NCAA President Mark Emmert understands this notion for the common sports fan, but wants to let everyone know that he draws a hard line in the sand over the issue of student athletes being amatuers in the following interview.
NCAA President Mark Emmert joined 790 the Zone in Atlanta with Mayhem in the AM to discuss student athletes being paid, student athletes being amateur athletes, coaches being held to a higher standard in terms of violations compared to student athletes, players and coaches getting the same punishments for similar offenses and a playoff system being set-up to determine the NCAA Division I champion.
Have you softened your opinion on student athletes being paid?
“No, I disagree with that. I’m as adamant as I’ve ever been about having student athletes be students. We do in fact provide it to many of our universities – full cost of attendance scholarships and financial aid. It’s really consistent with everything that goes on inside of universities and it wasn’t widely covered in the media. This was something I’ve been talking about again for six months. The notion of converting student athletes to employees and providing them with a salary and changing their status from one student athlete to ‘quasi-professional’ that’s where I draw the line and I draw it sharply.”
Do you believe college athletes are amateurs? Do they get insurance? Do student athletes have an insurance policy?
“Yes. Yeah of course it varies a little bit from school-to-school. Yeah sure they do. We make insurance available to students again based on specific universities position to all of the student body.”
Do you believe coaches should be held to a higher standard than the student athletes themselves in terms of punishments for violations?
“I think this is again a pretty straight forward question. I see coaches as part of the university environment. They are coaches. They are teachers. They are mentors. Of course you want to have your teachers or mentors held to higher standards than the student. That’s just common sense to me. I think that should be true whether it’s a faculty member or a coach or a teacher or administrator.”
Similar offense for players and coaches. Should the coach be given a bigger punishment?
“At least the same. Of course the problem is defining an offense is always easier in the abstract than the concrete, so you gotta always know what the details of the offense are. There’s no circumstance that I could imagine that you shouldn’t hold the coach to at least the same standards that you hold a student or higher.”
Do you see there being a day in the future where there will be a playoff in college football?
“Well that’s going to be strictly up to the university presidents I work with. It’s something we talk about and I’m sure we’ll keep talking about it whether or not that occurs is going to be a decision of our membership and right now they all like the bowl games. We have a lot of bowl games out there obviously. Some think too many [bowl games]. One thing I can tell you is I never met a student athlete that didn’t like playing in a bowl game.”