ATLANTA (AP) — NCAA President Mark Emmert spent 15 minutes documenting the progress that the organization has made under his leadership, from making sure students go to class to fighting corruption.
Then he spent the next half-hour defending his record during an often-contentious news conference Thursday that took a bit of the glow off the Final Four.
A defiant Emmert shrugged off his critics, insisting that anyone pushing for significant reform is going to rub some people the wrong way.
“The fact of the matter is that change is what we’re about in the NCAA right now,” he said, “and we’re trying to work our way through some very, very difficult changes to make the whole notion of intercollegiate athletics strong and viable going into the second century of the NCAA and of college sport.”
On his way off the podium, Emmert even took a parting shot at a reporter who has called for his dismissal.
“I know you’re disappointed,” the president said with a sly grin, “but I’m still here.”
The NCAA has come under fire for botching the investigation into a rogue booster at Miami, and there have been complaints about the way the governing body handled other cases, such as the harsh sanctions leveled against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Emmert has acknowledged that investigators overstepped their authority in their zeal to collect information against Miami.
“The Miami issue had some enormous foul-ups in it,” he said. “We’ve addressed those issues.”