March 23, 2021
Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images
The Economic Club of Indiana has been hosting luncheons since 2008 with current and emerging leaders in each industry. March's luncheon featured NCAA President Mark Emmert. He met with Indianapolis entrepreneur Cathy Langham at the NCAA Headquarters to discuss respective opinions on particular subject matters that he was questioned about. Here's what Mr. Emmert vocalized during Monday's meeting/videoconference.
Question: The second round of the NCAA Division I tournament will conclude today. How do you think the NCAA Division I tournament has gone thus far from an administration and financial vantage point?
Answer: The NCAA Division I tournament from an administration vantage point has been tough, but everyone's working through it. We've had an ample amount of struggles down in San Antonio during the women's tournament because we made ill-timed and costly miscalculations, despite the goodwill and hard work from the staff and employees on location. However, we have now fixed those miscalculations making the NCAA Division I tournament about the student-athletes and their prominent storylines. Financially, it's not going to be as strong as usual because of limited ticket sales affecting revenue throughout the NCAA tournament for the city of Indianapolis. The logistics of having full crowds would've been impossible, but fun. The NCAA needs March Madness to economically thrive as an organization. After last year's cancellation of the tournament, I had to personally make phone calls to some Head Coaches to break the news to them. One distinct phone call I can recall was the one I had to make was to Dayton Flyers Head Coach Anthony Grant where I verbalized to him about the NCAA Division I tournament being halted forty-eight hours before Selection Sunday. Grant expressed to me that he brought the student-athletes into the gymnasium crying with them and telling them this will serve as an essential life lesson as there are things that are more vital in life than basketball. Dayton was a legitimate number one seed, which has never happened before NCAA Division I history; I can't imagine what that feels like and no one in the NCAA wanted to make such phone calls again to see two years of heartbreak for certain programs as the athletes are so excited when they see their squad get into March Madness on Selection Sunday so as an organization we were gonna make sure that abolition of the NCAA tournament would never happen again. It's been a spectacular tournament thus far and I hope we get the same result from the women's side as well.
Cathy Langham interjects.
Langham: Everyone at the Indiana Economic Club is just delighted that the NCAA Division I tournament is back and student-athletes are competing; There is nothing better than seeing college athletes play sports because of the passion they have for the sport they are participating in is incredible.
Mark Emmert responds.
Emmert: This type of high-level competition doesn't transpire in the professional sports leagues.
The video of this interview is now available on YouTube. You can choose to view it down below.
A special thanks to The Economic Club of Indiana for arranging and conducting the videoconference exceptionally. Another special mention goes to Cathy Langham, who selected this particular question to be answered live. Make sure to tune into the NCAA Tournament resuming on March 27th and going through April 5th on CBS, and TBS.