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Emmert continues push for change in college sports

NCAA President Mark Emmert addressed media Thursday at a critical time in college sports. Interim policy has created new opportunities for college athletes to use their name, image and likeness, but state laws on the topic vary across the country. According to Emmert, the door is open for more change.

"The new environment is one that creates some pretty remarkable opportunities for the schools and the Association to rethink and reconsider a lot of the long-standing components of what college sports has been about," Emmert said. "I think that could be very exciting for where we are in college sports and what we can do."

Emmert emphasized that although the need for a federal NIL law still exists, members of Congress still want more from NCAA member schools and conferences.

"You can do one of two things: You can lean back and do nothing and wait and see what happens. Or you can say, 'Look, this is a new era. We need to take advantage of it,'" Emmert said.

He went on to outline three priorities for the future: providing new opportunities for students; reconsidering the roles of conferences, schools and the national office; and rethinking how nonrevenue sports are supported.

On new opportunities for students

"I've been pushing for a notion that our core rule for student-athletes should be that they are able to do anything that any other student can do unless there's a compelling reason not to. NIL is the perfect example of that."

Reconsidering roles

"I hope this creates some sense of urgency among the schools and membership to reconsider the roles of the three key institutions: the national office, the conferences and the schools. For decades, the tendency has been to move an issue up to a national rule…It should only be at the national level if that's the only way it can be enforced."

Rethinking nonrevenue sports

"We've had this tendency over decades to try and be as homogenous as we can in trying to treat every sport identically. That just doesn't work. We need to be ready to say field hockey is different from football. Wrestling is different from lacrosse. We need to think about some of them really differently than the way we approach football or basketball…It might include changing the way we look at the divisional models for those sports, as well, to make sure we're getting enough participation and we're accepting that responsibility to be partners in developing our (Olympic) national teams."


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