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Jeff SchultzJeff Schultz

It’s ‘Mark Emmert Appreciation Night!’ (sorta)

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Mark Emmert: Making friends everywhere. (AP)

Mark Emmert: Making friends everywhere. (AP)

Congratulations, Mark Emmert: Now you have alienated minor league baseball.

Emmert, the NCAA president, has made a habit of saying the wrong things while defending the organization’s antiquated and disingenuous stance to not significantly increase the value of scholarships for student-athletes, even in the wake of mega-million revenue streams for this “amateur” enterprise. It happened again last week when Emmert testified in the Ed O’Bannon class-action anti-trust lawsuit: “To convert college sports into professional sports

Mr. Emmert, "Skipper" the mascot would to have a word with you. (Lake County Captains)

Mr. Emmert, “Skipper” the mascot would to have a word with you. (Lake County Captains)

would be tantamount to converting it into minor league sports. And we know that in the U.S. minor league sports aren’t very successful either for fan support or for the fan experience.”

One great thing about  some minor-league baseball teams is they know a great lampooning promotion when they see one.

The Lake County (Ohio) Captains, the Single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, will hold Mark Emmert Appreciation Night on July 2. Punctuating this mock celebration of Emmert and the NCAA:

• Fans will be permitted to move from their ticketed seat location to another season, following a one-inning waiting period.

• Prizes will include “one and done” player basketball cards and copies of college football and basketball video games (a reference to NCAA’s loss in EA Sports lawsuit).

• Fans wearing a “generic” college jersey that may or may not correspond to a specific player at the same college will be given “$100 handshakes” from a Captains’ booster.

• Fans working in pre-game promotions will not be compensated but “will have the satisfaction of just having the opportunity to participate.” Later, one promotional participant “will be crowned BCS (Big Captains Superstar) Champion via a subjective vote taken by members of the media and a computerized scoring algorithm.”

The team said it will give college students $2 discounts to the game, saying they would’ve given them tickets for free but were afraid it would compromise their amateur status. Also, four college students can win wristbands for an all-you-can-eat pass for a future game, a reference to the NCAA’s belated decision to finally expand meal privileges for athletes.

The Captains also invited Emmert to attend the game, where he will “have the opportunity to greet some of our hundreds of thousands fans who annually enjoy” games.

Just guessing: They probably have a better chance of getting O’Bannon to throw out the first pitch.

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