Embattled Emmert Extended; Niners Select Lance; 'Bama Dominates

Last week, to the dismay of most college sports fans, administrators, coaches and athletes throughout the country, the NCAA Board of Governors extended President Mark Emmert's contract through 2025.


The criticism of Emmert’s leadership—or lack thereof—from athletic directors and commissioners, as well as from fans, players and coaches, has become an increasingly loud and steady drumbeat.


With good reason.


Emmert has been an obstacle to needed change, being dragged kicking and screaming into acknowledging the need for NIL (name, image and likeness) compensation for his cherished “student-athletes,” then trying in every way imaginable to obstruct NIL legislation.


Earlier this year, Emmert convinced the D-I Council to table a vote on NIL, a decision that destroyed the NCAA’s credibility and undermined the hard work of many administrators attempting to navigate a workable compromise on NIL legislation.


Last summer, as schools and conferences dealt with COVID and struggled to decide whether or not to cancel the 2020 football season, Emmert and his highly-paid cronies went AWOL and provided no leadership or direction.


Last month, his reaction to the gross disparities in training facilities, COVID testing, and accommodations for the participants in the men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball tournament was embarrassingly tone deaf. Then, in true Emmert fashion, he deflected blame and threw his subordinates under the bus.


The Board of Governors didn’t shoot off any fireworks in publicizing Emmert’s two-year extension. The announcement was buried at the end of an NCAA press release sent out last Tuesday night at 9:00 under the heading “other business.”


Perhaps they anticipated the unanimous negative outcry.


The timing of Emmert’s extension was especially inappropriate given the fact that his organization is in the middle of a high-profile, potentially lethal review of gender inequities at NCAA Championship events being conducted by a heavyweight New York law firm.


Yet he will continue on for four more years, validated by a group of out-of-touch presidents and chancellors, when everyone involved in college athletics would like to show him the door.


NFL Draft Notes:


Niners Pick Lance: The 49ers No. 3 selection in the first round was one of the most over-analyzed draft picks in recent history. They had traded two future first round picks to move up nine spots in the draft and announced their intention to draft their quarterback of the future.


Most observers expected GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan to go with Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, a pick that would’ve disappointed most 49er fans who preferred a more mobile QB along the lines of current NFL stars Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Kyler Murray.


But they went with 6-foot-4, 226-pound Trey Lance, who led North Dakota State to an FCS national title in 2019 by throwing for 2786 yards and 28 touchdowns, while rushing for 1100 yards and 14 more scores. Most impressively, Lance didn’t throw an interception in 287 passing attempts, completing 67% of his throws.


And he did all this as a redshirt freshman in a complex, traditional pro-style attack. Like the 49ers, NDSU gives its quarterback a lot of latitude at the line of scrimmage, and Lance took most snaps under center.


We would’ve preferred Ohio State’s Justin Fields, who has a very similar skill set to Lance, but had two full seasons and played a much tougher level of competition in the Big Ten, where he was two-time Conference Player of the Year.


But Lance has great upside, and after a year behind Jimmy Garoppolo, should step in and flourish, in much the same way Mahomes was mentored during his rookie year by veteran Alex Smith.


Bama, SEC Dominate: How good is Alabama? The Crimson Tide had 10 players drafted, including six first round picks and two early second round selections.


Think about that. Eight of the first 38 players drafted by NFL teams were from Alabama.


They’re pretty good.


As for conferences, the SEC had almost three times as many players drafted (65) as the Pac-12 (22). The new Pac-12 commissioner will have lots of work to do to try to bridge that gap.

Gary Cavalli - Bowl and League co-founder, author, speaker 

Gary Cavalli, the former Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University, was co-founder and executive director of the college football bowl game played in the Bay Area, and previously was co-founder and President of the American Basketball League.

Get in touch//@cavalli49//gacavalli49@gmail.com