A cryptic email from the bigwigs of the Mountain West came out of the blue Tuesday evening and seemed a bit puzzling.
The email expressed confidence in the leadership of the NCAA and, in particular, its president Dr. Mark Emmert.
Why the need for the letter? Why now?
I didn’t know. I asked Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh. He didn’t know either.
It finally came to light that the statement – signed by Anthony Frank, the president of Colorado State and the chair of the Mountain West Board of Directors as well as the Mountain West’s Colorado Springs-based commissioner Craig Thompson – was in response to a leaked email from FresnoState president John Welty to the league’s presidents.
According to Chicago Tribune, an email from Welty, who is retiring this year, said:
“Is it time for the presidents to seek new NCAA leadership or a new organization? The NCAA has evidenced decisions that focus on trivial and penalize our athletes. The salaries for the NCAA leadership are excessive and an embarrassment to the Mountain West schools. Their decision making is cumbersome and oblique.”
Emmert has been central in recent discussions of the NCAA’s handling - or perhaps mishandling - of the Miami investigation as well as the harsh penalties imposed on PennState following the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
What all this means, who knows? Sounds like some high level gossip simply found itself in the public domain.
Anyway, at least we’re not scratching our heads as to what that initial release from the league was all about.
Here’s the full text of the Mountain West statement:
This is a challenging era for governance within intercollegiate athletics and Dr. Mark Emmert’s leadership during these times is greatly appreciated. He has initiated much needed reforms in the areas of academic enhancement, student-athlete well-being and athletic certification. As a conference, the Mountain West is committed to working within established governance channels. If we ever arrive at a situation where we have concerns with the NCAA, we will express them via appropriate channels within the formal NCAA governance structure. No such concern has been expressed by our conference.