There are few figures in sports more widely derided than NCAA president Mark Emmert. It’s hard to find one person who defends him in any context, and yet, he’s extremely well-compensated for a punching bag.
The NCAA’s 2019 tax records are now available. Steve Berkowitz of USA Today combed through them, discovering that Emmert made $2.9 million that year.
That puts him on par with Arkansas head football coach Sam Pittman, the No. 53-highest paid coach in college football per USA Today‘s database. He’d slide in between South Carolina’s Frank Martin and Northwestern’s Chris Collins in men’s college hoops. Of course, Pittman and others who make that much in that role are at significant risk of being fired after just a few disappointing season.
Emmert isn’t going anywhere, either. As the NCAA continues to get raked over the coals at every turn, most notably with the changes to Name, Image, and Likeness rules this summer, he remains under contract until 2025 after landing a unanimously approved contract extension.
NCAA president Mark Emmert credited with $2.9 million in total compensation for the 2019 calendar year, association's new tax records show.
— Steve Berkowitz (@ByBerkowitz) July 19, 2021
“I think this is a really, really propitious moment to sit back and look at a lot of the core assumptions and say, ‘You know, if we were going to build college sports again, and in 2020 instead of 1920, what would that look like?'” Emmert told reporters this week, in light of the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling against the NCAA that has helped open things up for athletes. “What would we change? What would we expect or want to be different in the way we manage it? And this is good. This is the right time.”
It is a pretty rich quote, given the fact that the NCAA fought these changes tooth and nail, all the way up to the highest court in the land, where they were handed an embarrassing defeat.
If that evolution happens, against all odds it looks like Mark Emmert will oversee it, remaining in a position he’s held since 2010.