WASHINGTON — NCAA President Mark Emmert’s recent comments have caused a stir with a local professional sports team.
Emmert was testifying at the Ed O’Bannon trial on Thursday in the ongoing debate over amateurism in regards to college athletics. Some of his remarks, meant to support the current system of not paying student-athletes, struck a nerve.
“To convert college sports into professional sports would be tantamount to converting it into minor league sports,” Emmert said, according to the Associated Press. “And we know that in the U.S. minor league sports aren’t very successful either for fan support or for the fan experience.”
The Potomac Nationals begged to differ.
The P-Nats took to their Twitter account Friday, eviscerating Emmert for his remarks.
“We are all about the fan experience,” said P-Nats Vice President and General Manager Josh Olerud, who called Emmert’s remarks “a complete 180 wrong statement.”
Other teams in the Carolina League and around Minor League Baseball also chimed in, using the hashtag #ReallyMark. Olerud explained that the biggest reason for the campaign was to defend his organization’s success.
“We just wanted to back up who we are and what we do,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of Minor League Baseball is doing the same thing.”
Minor League Baseball drew more than 41.2 million in paid attendance across 160 clubs in 2013. The organization also sold more than $55 million in merchandise last year.
Mark Emmert had this to say: "To convert college sports into professional sports would be tantamount to converting it into minor league…