All she needs to know about how fractured the NCAA is as an organization, how disconnected it is from the people it is meant to serve and how its leadership has become aloof is that its response on Thursday to a week-long PR crisis over equity issues between the men’s and women’s basketball championships was … more than hours Invoices?
Apparently, the NCAA has never encountered a problem that it cannot spend money on expensive lawyers to solve – even if it’s easy to understand and even simpler to fix.
With all these mental faculties at NCAA Headquarters – unlike the place comics, most of the people who work there are smart and deeply concerned with doing their jobs well – you wouldn’t think it was necessary. Hire a law firm in New York Kaplan Hecker To commission a costly report on whether your tournaments have gaps in gender equality after problems were announced by women’s basketball players and coaches last week.
Unless this is, of course, less about gender equality and more about NCAA president Mark Emert covering his ass, an event in which he won titles multiple times.
You want a real investigation, Mark? Maybe you pick up the phone and talk to your constituents on the ground, not your fellow college presidents who mostly keep you like a pin cap of $ 2.7 million a year so they don’t have to feel a tingling when things go sideways and the media, the courts, or Congress need to blame someone.
Unfortunately, that’s what the academics decided they wanted the NCAA president for. They don’t want a leader, a problem solver, or a visionary for the future. They want someone to do the job exactly the way Emmert does: Don’t risk anything, get little done, build a maze of committees and subcommittees, and hand over the hard work in a crisis to a specialist law firm that will advise them to do obvious things they should do. It was done in the first place.
“While many of the operational issues identified have been resolved, we must continue to ensure that we do everything we can to support gender equality in sport,” Emmert wrote in a press release. “As part of this effort, we are assessing the current and past resource allocation for each tournament, so we have a clear understanding of costs, spending, and revenues. Moreover, we are studying all tournaments in all three divisions to identify any other gaps that need to be addressed, in terms of quality and quantity, to achieve parity between Genders “.
As usual, the NCAA is focusing on the wrong solution. When your windshield wipers stop working, you don’t need to look at your fuel tank. Don’t go to the dentist when your shoulder hurts.
The NCAA problem that led to disaster in the Women’s Championship is right in front of them, and it is a product of poor leadership at the top, and a heavy culture of operations that often leads to a lack of common sense in simple decisions and a complete disconnect with what is actually happening on campus.
When she speaks to athletics directors, particularly during the past year during the COVID-19 crisis, Emmert’s contempt and frustration with the NCAA’s struggle to manage its own affairs has never been higher. People who are actually forced to run these processes day in and day out have not only lost confidence in Emmert’s ability to lead, they don’t feel well heard or served by an organization whose big picture over the past two years has been almost perfect. It is consumed by the fight against court cases and leads from behind to the inevitability of college athletes taking advantage of their names, photos, and likenesses.
The inability of the NCAA to solve this problem on its own, instead of going to Congress at hand to demand a federal law and antitrust exemption, would end up as a decisive failure of the Emmert period, even if this was a flap on heroism that the amenities generate a kind of cultural friction And the war that embarrasses him even more personally.
Now, of course, the NCAA is going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorneys – money that could have been better spent on the front end. Few emotionally intelligent people have been looking at rest budgets between the two tournaments and realizing that in 2021 there could be no A difference between men and women.
Somewhat surprisingly, the NCAA – arguably the greatest driver of gender equality in sport ever – finds itself in this position. I’ve spent much of the week talking to past and current administrators, including some with a long history in women’s basketball, and none of them see this as a classic gender discrimination issue.
It’s about people who just don’t have enough common sense to realize that despite losing money in women’s basketball, you don’t cut corners on food, gift bags, provide a workout facility, or brand the floors so that they actually look like an NCAA contest. . You do it right, and you don’t think twice because you’re smart enough to know that if you don’t, you will end up on social media and the cycle of rage will go straight down your throat.
This is not the kind of problem you solve with a 10-point plan. You solve it with a leader who is not afraid to ask questions, seeks direct feedback from voters and who makes clear that the priority in the events that will sign you is to ensure that the men and women who share great experiences have equal access.
This is a difficult concept only if you are someone like Emmert, and he doesn’t have many relationships with athletics directors, coaches or athletes because they are not the ones to decide whether to extend his contract.
By hiring a fancy law firm, Emmert will be attending the NCAA Women’s Course this week and appears to be serious about solving a problem. But you don’t need an expensive investigation to find out what to do. You only need to do your job.