On Thursday, Emmert asked university leaders to help him turn the page on a disastrous 2011 that included a child sex abuse scandal at Penn State that overshadowed NCAA violations at a handful of major football programs.
Emmert wants to restore some of college sports’ core principles – choosing education over money, amateurism over professionalism and abiding by the rules rather than ignoring them.
“What we have to do is work together to act on those values, to let the world know which fork in the road we’ve taken so we don’t have the same story line this year that we had last year,” he told about 2,000 delegates at the annual convention, just a few blocks from the NCAA headquarters.
“I know we can do it. We can do it in 2012.”
For roughly 30 minutes, Emmert again expressed frustration with the rash of infractions charges, alleged ethical breaches and possible criminal conduct in 2011.
“I’ve heard people say that there are no ethics and no integrity in college sports and the whole system is broken. But here’s the really bad news. There’s truth in some of those criticisms,” Emmert said. “What parts of those stories are true? Sometimes we have seen behaviors that don’t match our values. We do have some people that want to win at all costs. We have some student-athletes that don’t care about getting an education and some that simply don’t get the education they deserve.
Emmert also awarded the organization’s President Gerald R. Ford Award to Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit, who could not attend Thursday because her team was playing at Kentucky.