Mark Emmert Wants ‘Meaningful Change’ to Corruption in College Basketball

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks during the NCAA Convention, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

NCAA president Mark Emmert said he wants “meaningful” change to corruption in college basketball after an FBI investigation led to multiple arrests within the sport.

“Scandals that call into question our commitment to academic integrity make whatever praise we have of our highest graduation rates ring pretty hollow,” Emmert said in his address on the state of college sports at the NCAA convention. “And we have to recognize that we can’t dance around those things. We can’t make excuses for them.

“How do we respond? Well, I think first of all, by not retreating from it. By not getting under our desks.”

Ten people, including four assistant coaches, were arrested in a widespread corruption case that’s caused a massive ripple effect across college basketball. Coaches were accused of taking kickbacks for persuading players to sign with certain agents or financial investors. The investigation also uncovered shoe company employees, most notably Adidas, were involved in the alleged corruption.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who was not charged with a crime, was fired after he was named in the documents.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Emmert said he hopes widespread change is in place by the beginning of the 2018-19 season. He has empowered the Commission on College Basketball, led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to come up with ways to fix the sport. 

“What we saw with that FBI investigation is Exhibit A for demanding action,” Emmert said. “A coach, allegedly, who takes a bribe in order to steer a student who has placed his trust in that coach—to steer that young man to a financial adviser who is going to bilk him out of money is disgusting.

“It’s corrupt. It’s just wrong. And it feeds all the cynics.”

So far, no details on possible changes have been shared by Emmert or the commission.