Since it was announced that the Senate Commerce Committee would hold its meeting on the state of collegiate athletics on Wednesday, rescheduling a hearing originally scheduled to be held in May, one of the questions was how the committee would handle NCAA president Mark Emmert. The much-maligned Emmert serves as the face of the NCAA, acting on behalf of the institutions that he represents.
And in discussing his responsibilities as president Wednesday, Emmert opened himself up to a pointed remark/question from Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.
McCaskill to Emmert: Can't tell if you're a minion or in charge. "Why should you even exist?"—
Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) July 09, 2014
This was one of many key moments during Wednesday’s hearing, which consisted not only of criticisms of the current model but also questions/suggestions as to what can be done to improve the situation. Also of note during Sen. McCaskill’s comments was her referencing a study she’d done with regard to the way in which schools handle sexual assault cases.
According to the study more than 20 percent of institutions in the national sample provide no sexual assault response training at all for members of their faculty and staff, and more than 30 percent of schools do not provide any sexual assault training for students. Also of note was the finding that more than 20 percent of schools conducted fewer investigations than the number of incidents they reported to the Department of Education.
And there was also the fact that more than 20 percent of the schools allow their athletic departments to have oversight in incidents involving athletes.
In his testimony Emmert expressed his desire for multi-year scholarships (“scholarships for life”), something that some member schools have already made strides towards doing with Indiana and USC being two of the institutions, and the need to meet the full cost of attendance for scholarship athletes. Emmert wasn’t the only person to testify, with former Florida State football player Myron Rolle also participating, and Sen. Cory Booker used the word “exploitation” in offering his thoughts on the current state of college athletics.
It’s been stated that regardless of what the verdict handed down by Judge Claudia Wilken in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, changes are coming in collegiate athletics. If Wednesday’s hearing on Capitol Hill is any indication, more people with influence are looking to make sure that happens.