Mark Emmert NCAA President: Let’s make no mistake: Today’s violations in collegiate athletics are utterly indefensible. They overshadow all that is good in college sports. They cast doubt over the motivations of all involved and give credibility to the cynical view. Worse, they encourage others to cheat. That is why they cannot be tolerated.
These concerns — among others — prompted me to gather a group of Division I college presidents this month to address these problems and resolve them quickly. The result was a strong consensus and a clearly stated agenda for action, an agenda the Division I Board of Directors and I will enact in the coming weeks and months.
First, we agreed student-athletes must be just that, students who are athletes. Winning on the court or field is not enough. College athletes must also perform well in the classroom. The board took an important first step by creating serious academic standards that teams must meet to play in NCAA championships. Higher eligibility standards for college freshmen and junior college transfers are also coming shortly.
Second, we all agreed that the NCAA’s rules need to be simplified with clear emphasis on integrity — weed out unenforceable and irrelevant rules and focus on serious threats.
Next, we are addressing the needs of student-athletes, looking to increase grants to cover the full cost of attendance and providing opportunities for multiyear scholarships and greater support for summer school.
Finally, I am committed — with the full support of our presidents — to hold all those involved in college athletics responsible for following the rules. It is not too onerous a burden to expect participants in college sports to not cheat. For those who do, we must be clear about the consequences.
We are changing our enforcement practices and our penalties to reflect these common-sense values. There must be shared responsibility — among presidents, athletes, administrators, coaches, conferences, agents and boosters alike — that cheating will not be tolerated and the cost of doing so outweighs any benefit. Words, of course, do not mean much; only action counts. We cannot legislate integrity. But we can and will define it, expect it and hold ourselves accountable.