NCAA establishes Division I Bowl Task Force: NCAA President Mark Emmert on Thursday announced the establishment of an NCAA Division I Bowl Licensing Task Force to examine the purpose, criteria, process and oversight of the NCAA licensing procedures for football bowl games. More »
Press conference: NCAA President Mark Emmert's press conference on Bowl Licensing Task Force. Read the transcript »
NCAA reaffirms licenses for 32 postseason bowls: The NCAA Postseason Bowl Licensing Subcommittee today reaffirmed bowl licenses for 32 football bowl games but delayed licensing decisions on the Tostitos Fiesta, Insight and TicketCity bowls until later this spring. More »
Transcript of press conference with NCAA President Mark Emmert
PRESIDENT EMMERT: Let me thank you also for joining us. I want to make a couple of announcements about NCAA actions that are being taken today and will have an impact on the manner in which we license bowl games going forward.
The first is that I'm going to be forming a Task Force to look at the bowl licensing process and criteria. That Task Force will be asked to report back to me and to the Division I Board no later than October of this year.
That Task Force is going to be asked to look at the criteria by which we currently license bowls, including making sure that each of the bowl organizations have appropriate oversight and governance that's being conducted by the bowl sponsoring agencies, that they have established conflict of interest rules and policies, that we address the issues of advertising and title sponsorship standards, and that the oversight and transparency of the financial management of bowls is understood and explained.
I will ask the Task Force to expressly look at how we can incorporate those and other standards into the way bowls are run before we approve of the licensing of any one of the new bowls coming forward.
The Task Force will also be asked to look at the process by which we internally in the NCAA make those decisions, including the nature of the committee that makes those judgments, the processes by which information is reviewed, and the manner in which those inquiries are conducted.
The Task Force is going to be co‑chaired by Harvey Perlman, the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska. I'll also be asking another individual from outside higher education and the athletic world to join Dr. Perlman as a co‑chair. It will be a small Task Force. It has not been fully appointed yet, but I am talking to individuals about their membership right now. It will be 10 or fewer people on it from across the NCAA and some individuals from outs collegiate athletics.
Because their work will be predominantly aimed at not the nature of bowls themselves but the way in which bowls are conducted and the licensing process itself, those individuals will be people with experience in oversight and management of non‑profit organizations as well as collegiate athletics.
The Task Force will also include some presidents of universities representative of FBS schools in Division I and the charge for this Task Force has been approved just now by the Division I Board meeting here in Indianapolis.
The second piece of the announcement is that I asked the Division I Board, and they just unanimously approved a declaration of a moratorium, beginning immediately, on the licensing of any new bowls going forward for a period of not more than three years, but a period that's to run concomitant with the reviewing of this licensing process so that we will abstain from looking at any new proposals for new bowls during that time frame as we figure out exactly what the criteria should be and the process should be by which we license bowls.
Those two actions do not have an impact on the current licensing requirements for the bowls that are existing right now. Those requirements will stay in place. That means that every year on an annual basis the existing bowls will be reviewed to make sure they are meeting the current licensing requirements and that all those requirements are satisfied. So that process will continue during this moratorium period until we have determined what the new licensing requirements and process will be.
Again, both of these actions have been supported unanimously by the Division I Board, and I look forward to moving forward with both of these actions.
With that, we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Q. I'm curious if the current revision of the bowl licensing process means that the process by which the NCAA has been reviewing bowls to date has been inadequate. Would you describe it that way?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: Well, I certainly know that going forward I want to make sure that the bowl licensing process is robust enough and thorough enough that we have great confidence that when we license a bowl that we know how it's being governed, what the oversight processes are, and that all the appropriate policies and practices are in place.
What that says about the past process is less important to me than where we go from here.
Q. What specifically prompted this action?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: We've actually been talking about it for a number of months. It's an issue that I brought up to the Board back in January as we were looking at all of the potential issues around the role of the NCAA in what used to be called 'certification' and is now labeled the 'licensing process'. It became clear to me that it was a review of those criteria and processes were overdue.
Q. Is there any word to the major bowls, having them do at their expense an independent audit each year? Doesn't seem to be a financial issue with any of these bowls. Is that worthwhile to consider?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: I think that's certainly one of the expectations that I have of the Task Force as they bring back recommendations as to what is required to make sure all the fiduciary responsibilities of the sponsoring agencies are handled. In most any non‑profit organizations, external auditing would be one of the major expectations.
Q. Could you speak about your thoughts on what's gone on with the Fiesta Bowl, what was uncovered, and how they have dealt with the issues since the special report came out last month.
PRESIDENT EMMERT: The special report obviously was extremely detailed and outlined behaviors that none of us would be supportive of. I think the board was very forthright in putting all that information before the various bodies. As you know, it's already gone before the BCS folks and will be going before the licensing subcommittee shortly, though that body won't be rendering any decisions until after they've seen a report of the BCS Task Force as well.
I think it's fair to say that those are the kinds of things that none of us find acceptable and we all find completely contrary to the values of intercollegiate athletics. We simply can't abide by those kinds of behaviors.
I think the Board itself seems to be responding extremely aggressively to all this, and I think that's a good sign.
Q. You talked earlier about the conflicts of interests. Today in the subcommittee, nine of the eleven members of the subcommittee all accepted free gifts from the Fiesta Bowl. Don't you think that could pose a conflict of interest, to have people deciding their future actually accepting gifts, including free golf and staying at a resort in Phoenix?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: One of the points I was making about the Bowl Licensing Task Force is that the expectation that I have of the Task Force is that they bring back to us recommendations not just about what we need and expect from the bowls themselves but also from the licensing decision‑making process on our end so that it's a process that we would all look at and have confidence in, including dealing with any potential conflict of interest issues.
Q. Speaking of the bowls, I was wondering since the Sugar Bowl situation this past year when Ohio State had six players play who were going to be ineligible to play in the first game of this coming season, five will miss the first five games, have you and your organization gone back and addressed the situation that allowed that to happen? Also, just your general reaction to what has gone on with Coach Jim Tressel since then. I know you can't give any final analysis on that, but how you would describe what's going on with Coach Tressel right now.
PRESIDENT EMMERT: In reverse order, as you note, I'm not in a position, because of ongoing processes, to comment on the situation with any case that's open, including that of Coach Tressel.
As for the Sugar Bowl events, the Bowl Licensing Task Force and the actions we're taking today is focused only on the licensing of individual bowls themselves, not on any of the issues related to any action about student eligibility, Sugar Bowl or any other game. Those issues are really quite separate.
Q. I understand they're separate. I was wondering if you've gone back or asked people to relook at that situation that allowed those players to be able to play or if you feel like that's in concert with your current rules or bylaws which allow those kinds of things to happen?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: We constantly look at our processes around all of those issues, not necessarily around any one individual case. Those are things we do on a routine basis.
Q. Mark, this action speaks to what the NCAA can do in regard to football post‑season. Have you picked up any sentiment from the membership that the NCAA expand that role?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: Well, this is the role that we have traditionally played in the bowl system, if that's the right word. My focus is on making sure that we do that role as effectively as we can. That's what our task is; that's what we're going to make sure we do. Anything beyond that is just speculation.
Q. Have you picked up any sentiment that that role expand? I understand what you're doing for the time being, but what kind of chatter is out there?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: You probably have a better feel for that than I do. No, I've not picked up any of that.
Q. You said the moratorium would be no longer than three years. Is it your expectation that that would lapse in three years or end as soon as this report comes out?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: I would hope it could lapse sooner than that. The Task Force is going to be reporting back to me and the Board no later than the October meeting of the D1 Board. But then, of course, any recommendations would have to be converted into an action agenda and approved by the Board. That may take a little bit longer.
I want to be really clear: I want this to be a process that moves along with as much dispatch as we can while still making good decisions. So the three years is simply a drop‑dead date by which we need to have this all done.
Q. Was there also consideration of the fact that in the last couple years it's going to run up against the number of eligible teams?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: No. This is strictly about the licensing criteria and the process by which we make those decisions.
Q. I was wondering, are there other issues you were considering appointing Task Force level studies on to deal with problems in college football?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: I'm glad you asked the question. This Task Force is limited in its scope to the question of licensing of bowl games, the traditional NCAA role in bowl games, and that's it. There are no other task forces planned or in the works right now.
Q. I'm curious what, if any, conversations you've had with Bill Hancock of the BCS and if you almost consider those BCS bowls as a different class of bowl when you examine them?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: First of all, I've talked at length to a number of the BCS presidents about these issues, and also to Bill. They are well aware of my actions around these two questions. I don't want to speak for them, but they're very supportive of this move, I believe. You'd need to ask them.
But the fact is that we need to have a set of policies and criterias and practices that are consistent across all of our bowls, whether it's the largest bowl or the smallest bowl. Doesn't matter. The standards and expectations should be exactly the same for their accountability and their role in working with the NCAA licensing committee.
Q. Currently you're only charging about $12,000 to license the bowls. Has there been any thought in maybe increasing that figure?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: Well, that figure is a number that's really just in there to try to cover some of the expenses associated with the licensing process. It's more of a recouping of costs than it is a revenue stream. So we have not had any conversation about that at all.
Did you have a number in mind (laughter)?
Q. I'm curious, if a bowl came to the Licensing Committee today and wanted to start up, legally how would they be prevented from doing that? It was my understanding before this, if they met all these criteria, let market forces apply.
PRESIDENT EMMERT: What this action is saying is that from this moment on, there is a moratorium about revealing any new bowl. So that bowl would be told that until we have new licensing criteria and processes in place, that their application would be held in abeyance.
Q. You're never going to have control over this process where you can ensure absolutely what's going on unless you own it, unless it's your own. I'd like to know how you personally feel about the NCAA's role in the post‑season, has what has happened with the Fiesta Bowl (indiscernible), that the NCAA should run college football's post‑season in the same way it does with men's and women's basketball?
PRESIDENT EMMERT: As I've said on a number of occasions, my job is to serve the membership and their interests and their desires. Everyone right now is supportive of the current bowl structure that we have in place on our boards. So we're going to continue to do the job that we've been asked to do as well as we possibly can.
Our role in the bowl games right now is to license them. I want to make sure that we're doing that to the best of our ability.