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Office of the President: On the Mark

Quotes from President Emmert on various NCAA topics.

Priorities of the Association:

“The priorities are student-athlete well-being and protection of the collegiate model that we all know and feel viscerally about, but that which we have to convert into language and actions that are meaningful to a public that doesn’t quite understand it – or if they do, they don’t always believe us. We have to fix that. The stronger the link is between our athletics programs and our academic programs – the more those athletics experiences are incorporated into the academic experiences – then we don’t have to talk about athletics and academics as separate entities but as part of the whole academic experience.”

Fiscal Responsibility:

“We have to make sure people know what we stand for and what we care about. Yes, we want to maximize our media contracts, but we have to talk about why. What do we do with those resources? Where does that money go? How does it enhance students’ lives? How does it help shape the championships across all our sports?”

“It is not a sin or fundamentally wrong (for the NCAA to increase revenues). It is a good thing to have more resources, if you are using those resources for the right purposes.”

Differences between Divisions:

“It’s critical that, going forward, we make sure everyone understands that while the NCAA’s three divisions are distinctive, they also are joined by common values. The goals and values of student-athlete learning and well-being are the same, whether we’re talking about a football game at the Big House at Michigan or a soccer game at Hobart.”

The NCAA Mission:

“Our mission is to be an integral part of higher education and to focus on the development of our student-athletes.”

On Diversity:

“We simply must make sure that our athletics programs represent all of the United States and all of our complexity. We have to be committed in higher education and intercollegiate athletics to the philosophy of promoting diversity in our work…We are not the NCAA for part of America but for all of America. We have to walk that talk.”

On Championships:

“Our championships are one of the primary tools we have to enhance the student-athlete experience. We have advanced a handful of our championships into premier events, led by the Division I Men’s and Women’Basketball Championships. I want to take advantage of what we’ve learned with those events and elevate the experience of student-athletes in other championship events. This will be a critical goal as we move forward.”

On telling our story:

“It has become clear to me that intercollegiate athletics has a great story to tell, and we need a focused approach that will take advantage of all the traditional modes of communications, as well as the Internet and other new media opportunities.”

On balancing amateurism and commercial activities:

“The NCAA did a fabulous job of negotiating the most recent media rights agreement, but the $10.8 billion is what makes the headlines. Then you all go to your Rotary Clubs and say that in college sports we care about amateurism. And they look at you and say, ‘$10.8 billion and amateurism? Help me understand that.’ We have to make sure people know what we stand for and what we care about. Yes, we want to maximize our media contracts, but we have to talk about why. What do we do with those resources? How does it enhance students’ lives? How does it help shape the championships across all our sports?”

On the value that football and basketball add to the enterprise:

“As a president, I say to my women’s golf fans, ‘The most important thing you can do is buy football tickets.’ If you love rowing, buy football tickets. If you love cross country, buy football tickets. We couldn’t do any of those other sports if we weren’t successful in football. In the NCAA, we can’t support anything else we love unless we’re successful in Division I men’s basketball. Whether you like that or not, it’s just a fact. But we have to make the case for what we do with those resources.”

On the collegiate model of athletics:

“We must be student-centered in all that we do. The Association was founded on the notion of integrating athletics into the educational experience, and we have to make sure we deliver on that 100-year-old promise. We have to remind ourselves that this is about the young men and women we asked to come to our schools for a great educational experience. We have to collectively deliver on those promises. That’s what you care about That’s why we’re in this business.”