Mark Emmert disturbed by findings of FBI investigation

NEW YORK -- NCAA president Mark Emmert said that the college athletics community is "disgusted and embarrassed" by the FBI investigation into alleged corruption in college basketball and must address several areas to clean up the sport.

Speaking Wednesday at the Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, Emmert outlined five areas of focus for the newly formed Commission on College Basketball: the NBA, shoe companies, agents, youth and summer basketball competition, and the involvement of the NCAA's national office to enforce greater accountability in the sport. In October, Emmert appointed former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to chair the committee, which also includes former college and NBA stars David Robinson and Grant Hill.

The committee began to meet last month and will deliver recommendations for change at the NCAA's Division I board of directors meeting in April.

"The worst possible outcome," Emmert said, "is that, confronted with these kinds of facts, the association, the member universities and colleges say, 'Nah, that's OK' and [move] on."

The FBI probe in late September targeted shoe company executives, agents and four assistant basketball coaches accused of taking bribes to push players toward certain agents. Auburn's Chuck Person, Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans, Arizona's Emanuel "Book" Richardson and USC's Anthony Bland were all arrested in September, along with James Gatto, director of global sports marketing for Adidas.

"We all in higher ed enjoy good, constructive relationships with the shoe companies," Emmert said. "We become important for their marketing model and vice versa, but at the same time, there's obviously some things that have gone awry. We've got to fix that.

"The shoe companies are some of the most creative marketeers in the world. I've got to believe you can sell shoes without bribing people to do it."

Emmert said the commission is meeting monthly and bringing in experts to address all five issues as they formulate recommendations for the board, which is "fully committed to taking action" at its April meeting. He wants the commission's proposals to be "as concrete as possible," which then can be turned into legislation the NCAA can incorporate.

Emmert reiterated his support for a system where NBA-ready basketball players could enter the league right out of high school rather than spend a mandatory year in college, as current NBA rules state, while adding that the NCAA has no legal right to enforce such a policy.

Asked later for his opinion on LaVar Ball, the father of former UCLA basketball players Lonzo and LiAngelo, Emmert declined to comment on the Ball family but said if players view college basketball as simply a platform to prepare them for a professional sports career, they should go elsewhere.

"If you don't want to, and you don't think you should, and you don't think that's right for your family, then don't come," Emmert said. "Don't be a part of this. Don't muck around in the system. Just go."

Emmert addressed other issues, including how the possible legalization of sports gambling in states other than Nevada could impact the NCAA. He said the NCAA board is examining whether to change the rule prohibiting NCAA events from taking place in Nevada.

Asked about Tennessee's messy football coaching search, Emmert referred to remarks made earlier Wednesday by several Power 5 athletic directors about the need for agreement in leadership when making key personnel decisions.

"When you don't have the board, the senior administration, president, chancellor, the AD in alignment of why are we doing this? Why do we play football? What are we trying to achieve here? What are our goals and aspirations? And we all agree on it. And by the way, when we make this personnel decision, it's because we're being consistent, then you get Tennessee," he said.