College Sports

Former UW president Emmert takes first steps heading NCAA

INDIANAPOLIS - NCAA president Mark Emmert had a full schedule on his first full day at headquarters.

Sports fans are watching every twist in the wide-ranging agent investigation, university presidents want to see how Emmert will enhance academic reforms, schools are eager to get their big paychecks, and Emmert is still going through the basics of Transition 101.

“The first order of business is to meet everyone in the office and to get out there and start listening to the constituents and hearing what their concerns and ideas are,” the former University of Washington president said. “I’ve talked a great deal about the need to stay focused on the student-athlete, the academic progress of the student-athlete.”

It has been five months since the NCAA’s executive committee chose Emmert to be the late Myles Brand’s long-term successor.

During that time:

College basketball teams have gone to a 68-team tournament, after the season that begins in less than two weeks. Rules enforcement has become a focus after the Southern Cal decision, the forfeiture of Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy, and concerns have grown about keeping agents away from college players.

But it has given Emmert time to establish a broad philosophy that could have a major impact on how the NCAA goes about its business.

Like Brand, he embraces big ideas, big concepts and wants to build consensus.

So, where will he begin?

Emmert already has outlined a few areas of interest.

Last month, he said he supported stronger punishments for rules violators, which could lead to a larger enforcement staff. He’s also met with NBA commissioner David Stern to discuss new requirements for underclassmen entering the NBA draft in hopes of eliminating the one-and-done trend.

Emmert also wants to make sure the NCAA is containing costs, and has announced a restructuring that has seen some of the NCAA’s longest-tenured and highest-paid executives exiting.