The president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association paid a visit to Wright State, applauding the academic performance of Wright State’s student-athletes and saying their commitment to community service should serve as a national model.
Mark Emmert, whose association regulates collegiate athletics programs around the country, said Wright State was among the first universities to recognize the importance of community service and engagement by its students.
“The fact that that’s an important part of the Wright State experience makes it an exemplar for the rest of athletics,” Emmert said. “That’s exactly the kind of thing that we’d all like to see.”
Emmert was the keynote speaker at Wright State’s Tip-Off Basketball Luncheon on Oct. 22 in the Berry Room of the Wright State Nutter Center.
His appearance drew a host of newspaper and television reporters. Prior to his luncheon address, he met with reporters to detail how the operation of the 1,100-member NCAA is being transformed.
Emmert said the NCAA has raised the academic standards for incoming students and is requiring Division I teams to meet an academic progress mark that coincides with a 50 percent graduation rate in order to participate in post-season tournaments.
Emmert praised Wright State student-athletes for having 3.0 grade point averages for 30 consecutive terms.
“That kind of performance pretty much defines what we’re looking for,” he said.
Emmert said the NCAA Division I board will vote next week on changing the way violations of NCAA bylaws are classified, setting penalties and speeding the adjudication of cases.
“We’re going to have high expectations of our coaches, student-athletes and administrators,” he said. “We want fewer infractions, not more of them. We want people to play by the rules and maintain a fair playing field for everybody involved.”
Wright State President David R. Hopkins serves on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors—the most powerful governing body in the 350-member D-I—and the seven-member presidential advisory group.
“David’s got to sit there and not just represent Wright State, not just the Horizon League, but all of the NCAA and all of Division I and make judgments just like a member of the U.S. Senate would trying to represent their constituency and also the greater good,” Emmert said.
Hopkins introduced Emmert as a man who has shown dynamic leadership and integrity during some difficult times.
“I’ve been so impressed,” Hopkins said. “His heart, his values are exactly what we care about at Wright State.”
In answers to questions, Emmert said he opposes the idea of paying college athletes to play. And he said he dislikes the so-called “one-and-done” phenomenon created by the National Basketball Association of having players go to college for one year before coming to the NBA, saying it sends a message of that it’s not important to be a serious student.
The luncheon swelled the Berry Room with scores of student-athletes, coaches, administrators and members from the community.
Men’s head basketball coach Billy Donlon said he is excited about this year’s team.
“We’re faster than we were last year,” Donlon said. “What we lack in size and just physicalness and strength is still a problem for us. We’ll make up for it with our speed and some of our toughness. Our guys are going to compete. We’ll be in every game.”
Women’s head basketball coach Mike Bradbury said he expects his team to finish better than the third place it received in the Horizon League preseason poll.
“Our expectations are high,” Bradbury said. “This will be the first time that we can actually match up with Green Bay with equal talent.”