CRAWFORD | NCAA's Emmert talks about self-imposed bans, North Ca - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | NCAA's Emmert talks about self-imposed bans, North Carolina case

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NCAA president Mark Emmert. (AP photo) NCAA president Mark Emmert. (AP photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — After the last of the NCAA Elite Eight games had gone final on Sunday night, TBS aired a portion of an interview with NCAA president Mark Emmert which dealt with, in part, the practice of self-imposed postseason bans.

It’s an interesting question this year because one of the Final Four teams, Syracuse, was one of the last teams into the field during a season in which Louisville and SMU, two teams that would’ve made the field, took themselves out of contention because of NCAA violations. Louisville announced in February it would forgo this year's NCAA Tournament, for violations related to a sex-for-recruits scandal currently under investigation.

Syracuse did the same midway through the season a year ago, because of academic and other violations within the program. North Carolina, which will play Syracuse in one Final Four matchup, is in the midst of a lengthy academic fraud allegation, but has not moved to self-impose any sanctions, even though the fraud was first reported in 2010 and findings of a full investigation were released in 2014.

The alleged fraud occurred over an 18-year period and included more than 3,000 student-athletes, including members of North Carolina’s basketball team. Last May the NCAA charged the school with five Level I (major) violations. Before responding, North Carolina said it had uncovered other violations, and it continues its investigation.

When asked by USA Today about the status of North Carolina’s case, Emmert said, “It has obviously been a long, drawn-out process. It took the university a long time to gather the facts on their end. They wanted that opportunity and everyone was pleased to give them that opportunity, or willing to give them that opportunity. And it’s actually been moving forward well and in a cooperative collaborate fashion like these things are supposed to.’’

Asked when he thought the matter would be concluded, Emmert told the newspaper, “Sometime in the relatively near future we’ll move toward a resolution."

In his interview with Seth Davis, Emmert was asked about the practice of schools self-imposing postseason bans during the season currently underway, citing Syracuse, Louisville and SMU, and also noting that Hawaii had acknowledged violations and self-imposed a ban, but not until next season.

"Postseason bans are effective in that everybody hates them, and they change the behavior of the university, and people do a lot to avoid them,” Emmert told Davis. “That’s a good thing. On the other hand, we all look at that and say, ‘Gee, you’re penalizing often some students who didn’t have anything to do with it, sometimes they weren’t even around when the violations occurred.’ We need to do everything we can to impose sanctions on the adults in the room, as I like to call them, who have some long-term involvement and responsibility in all this. Now it’s easy to say and hard to do, but I know the members are interested in moving in that direction and I’d sure like to help them go there.”

Davis asked Emmert about Louisville coach Rick Pitino’s proposal that there be no postseason bans, but that coaches and programs be fined substantially.

“Even though they (coaches) didn't know about it, it doesn't matter, they should be fined 50 percent of their salaries because they were leading," Pitino said shortly after Louisville announced its self-imposed ban. "You should kill the university pocketbook right away and take that money and put it in a scholarship fund for needy kids to go to college and athletes and so on. This is wrong. It's a bad system, but that does not mean we are not wrong in what we've done."

Emmert said the NCAA doesn’t have the authority to issue fines, unless the rules are changed, but he was open to discussing it.

“I think that a set of financial penalties could be a useful thing to do,” he told Davis. “They’d have to be scaled to the university, because a million dollar fine to one school is nothing, to another it puts them out of business, so you’d have to figure that out. The association doesn’t have any legal way to fine an individual. The NCAA could say we’re going to fine this coach or that AD, but it could impose sanctions if the members chose to on individual schools’ athletic departments. But we’re not in that place. The members have to sit down and talk about whether they want to change the rules to allow that. I would certainly welcome that debate.”

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