Mark Cuban vs. OSU response/apology

Submitted by Hard-Baughlls on September 20th, 2018 at 6:03 AM

For those who have seen the Mark Cuban interview on ESPN (Rachel Nichols grills him pretty well IMO), I'd like to get your take on his response to the sexual abuse/harassment that took place within the Mavs organization.  While it is impossible to ever know how somebody really feels in terms of empathy and remorse, his interview came off as one where he is at least taking 100% blame for the culture within his organization, under his watch, that led to women and other employees being treated poorly and creating a toxic working environment. 

Again, what he knew, how much he knew, etc, will always be up for debate - but it seems as if they went through an exhaustive investigation where his "crime" was being blind and clueless as to how his President and other executives were behaving.  While this is no excuse for what occurred, and the buck always stops at the top, at least he is willing to say just that and takes full responsibility for what occurred. I don't foresee Cuban making apologies for his apologies about his apologies, ala Meyer - but instead expect him to fix the problem, as he seems to already be on top of with his new hires.

Contrasting this with Meyer (who undoubtedly knew of Zach Smith's history and had intimate knowledge of the danger Courtney Smith was in), I see text book case of how to react (Cuban) and how not to react (OSU, Meyer) in crisis situations - specifically those in which others are harmed.  How OSU (and MSU and PSU prior) could be so tone deaf and incompetent in responding (even assuming it is disingenuous and purely for PR purposes) is absurd.

So for the board (putting aside easy attacks like - Meyer is a dirtbag/ Aaron Hernandez, etc)...are universities simply more vulnerable to hive mind mentality and a "protect the fort" stance due to their insular campus "community identity" and do they have a dangerous ability to avoid / dodge the national media, scrutiny, and accountability because of this?



September 20th, 2018 at 7:01 AM ^

Mark Cuban is a billionaire who owns a sports team as a hobby, not his primary or secondary source of income. Not somewhere he frequents daily I'm sure, unlike Meyer who directly oversaw Smith at more than 1 job for a decade.


September 20th, 2018 at 8:18 AM ^

That's true about a lot of sports owners. It isn't true about Cuban. He is on record on several occasions talking about how extensively he's involved in the day-to-day operations of the franchise. How much he actually knew can be debated, but given his own comments regarding how much he is there, I'd argue that similar to Meyer, it would be fair to ask how much he should have known. That being said, unlike Meyer, he does seem to have a level of concern that rises above "How much does this affect our brand."


September 20th, 2018 at 10:46 AM ^

But do you think he does it from an office in Dallas? Or via computer while he's filming Shark Tank in LA and working on his other forms of income?  You may be right, but I'd bet a dollar Mark Cuban spends very little time in the facility outside of games, regardless of how involved he is. Understanding (or recognizing problems within) culture almost requires you to be present. Urban Meyer was working beside Smith every day. They did things as  a staff outside of the office. Pretty sure they spent a good bit of time together socially and professionally. Their wives had something of a relationship. I still think Cuban needs to be responsible, but in a different way than Urban.


September 20th, 2018 at 2:48 PM ^

i would think it would be much easier to attend meeting with the mavs on short notice from his dallas home than living in LA.  there is also this from another article:


"An acquaintance who used to work the business side of the Mavs once told me that Mark Cuban was so intent on micromanaging each department's actions, they came up with a defense plan so they could get some work done. Any time the boss asked about the day's events, they'd have a story. Only it might not reflect the actual scope of their actions."


September 20th, 2018 at 9:17 AM ^

We can't look at it like that. It absolves him of any blame for many issues in his organization. If things are happening under some of the executives he hired, that's still on him because he hired those executives that were either committing the transgressions or sweeping them under the rug. He may not be in the office every single day, but he's around enough to be able to have an idea of what goes on. I work in a small non-profit but there is a clear heirarchy. But there are clear guidelines, that we thoroughly explain to every new employee or intern, about who to go to if Person X, Y, or Z is harassing you or wronging you in some way. Even if it's the director, we still have contact information available for who they need to go to. I'd like to think we've created an environment where someone would be safe and comfortable if they were coming forward with an allegation. If billionaires aren't creating that kind of environment in their organizations, that's on them. 


September 20th, 2018 at 11:45 AM ^

This always baffled me. If we say "th3 buck stops at the top" , where is the "top"? Is it the HC, since he hired him? What about the AD, who hired the HC? Continuing, why not the President, who hired the AD, BOT who (I presume) selects the president, and finally* the voters, who elect the BOT? Like. . . isn't it arbitrary where we decide the buck stops?

I'm not saying either is exculpable, but the logic was always funny to me.

*in MSUs case. 


September 20th, 2018 at 1:50 PM ^

Yes, I do agree it’s different and Meyer is more directly responsible than Cuban. However, I just think we need to be wary of looking at billionaire owners as people just having a side gig. This was happening for a significant amount of time under his watch - whether he is there everyday or not. If he’s going to own a team, he needs to set it up in a way in which lower level employees feel comfortable to come forward. If he didn’t set it up that way, a lot of blame should fall on his shoulders. 

Fortunately, he appears to be taking the criticism to heart in a good way and not in a defensive way. 


September 20th, 2018 at 7:05 AM ^

Professional sports teams have one person at the top, and problems in culture reflect on them personally, universities are run by the culture itself, with no one person to take blame it responsibility.


September 20th, 2018 at 7:36 AM ^

The administration and those in power have an impact in culture. The culture of a university  is never completely made. Each smaller part of a college is also created by its leaders and who is hired.

As a college professor, I have experienced this for two decades. Presidential and other large administration changes do influence culture, and then mindset.

At a D1 institution, the richest coach of the most important program is as powerful as the AD and President allow them to be. Look at how Texas was being changed by Strong—but because his AD and the alumni like winning more, they didn’t care what he was doing to make mature men.

Look at the Patriots. You don’t fuck with Belichik—he ain’t afraid to cut a snitch or anyone who messes up or wants too much money. Conversely, look at the Cowboys, whom Jerry Jones the Party God doesn’t know  how to manage his team and has a puppet coach. 


Blue In NC

September 20th, 2018 at 8:07 AM ^

I would also add that IMO universities have or should have a higher ethical standard than private businesses regarding this issue.  Private businesses are there to make money.  Universities should, in part, be there to educate and strive for a certain standard.  In this case, we should expect that a university should adhere or aspire to a standard at least as good if not better than that of a private business.


September 20th, 2018 at 9:10 AM ^

OSU (and UF before) is influenced greatly by the culture of the football program. FB runs the AD, and debate how much the AD + fan base (including donors) runs the rest of the university, but Meyer runs the FB and AD. These incidents happened within his program, not out in the university culture. He is the "one person" in this saga.


September 20th, 2018 at 7:46 AM ^

Sorry to clog up the blog with something other than, "what are you drinking tonight", but I was curious about opinions around professional sports / organizations vs. collegiate environments when it comes to scandal and crisis management.  Next time I have a question for grown ups, I will try to remember that this blog has unfortunately devolved from thoughtful conversation to mlive / RCMB / 11 Warriors banter.


September 20th, 2018 at 9:54 AM ^

Again, I apologize for another Meyer take, but that wasn't the intention of the thread.  It was supposed to be a comparison of how respective institutions (in this case universities vs. privately owned professional teams) deal with crisis / scandals - and I felt this was a fairly good comparison considering timing and the nature of assault/harm occurring to women in vulnerable situations.

My curiosity is why universities (OSU, MSU, PSU) seem to react in a tone deaf manner, whereas corporations tend to get out in front of the story.  IE, do universities feel insulated from scrutiny.


September 20th, 2018 at 7:30 AM ^

are universities simply more vulnerable to hive mind mentality and a "protect the fort" stance due to their insular campus "community identity" and do they have a dangerous ability to avoid / dodge the national media, scrutiny, and accountability because of this?

Only if they want to be.  Historically Michigan has shown itself to be willing to put integrity and reputation ahead of wins.  When the Ed Martin scandal surfaced, we didn't obstruct or deny; we opened ourselves up for investigation and cooperated fully, to our extreme detriment.  U of M basketball had to wander in the wilderness for the better part of a decade while our hated rivals danced on our grave, but we emerged on the other end the better institution. 

The OSUs and MSUs will roll their eyes at such Pollyannaish outlooks, but the stain of compromise will always be on their institutions.  Glory is fleeting, but reputations, reputations take a long time to repair.  Sometimes they never recover.


September 20th, 2018 at 9:56 AM ^

I can't believe I am saying this, but comparably, OSU took the "high road" when contrasted with MSU.  Even if far too late in the game, they at least acknowledged there was a problem that was handled improperly and inadequately, and while it has taken several "amended" apologies, I have to believe that Meyer understands that he can longer act as though the rules don't apply to him.

If you contrast that with Michigan State, that entire University as a culture, (fans, students, players, coaches, administration) continues to deflect and obfuscate to a truly alarming degree.  Their ability to rationalize the most ridiculous aspects of what transpires in their programs has been staggering, and has been aided significantly by a dismissive local media who protect them at every turn with minimization and false equivalencies.  That is a truly systemic issue, it is not just Izzo, or Dantonio, or just the coaches, or just Hollis (formerly) or just the media, or just the fans, etc. etc., it is very truly a comprehensive cultural problem. 

I do not understand quite how the Michigan State athletic department has reached the point it is at, or how it has been allowed to get there, but the entire identity of those programs has been completely hollowed out to the extent that it really doesn't matter whether they win or not, they are not really winning.  There are certain alums, like my dad, who has been a lifelong fan but simply does not follow Michigan State anymore because he can see the forest for the trees and no longer sees anything in those programs "worth rooting for."  It is one thing for an institution to not be defined by specific ideals, it is quite another for it to be distinctly defined as the lack of anything resembling them. 


September 20th, 2018 at 7:39 AM ^

Clearly Mark Cuban does not take the same memory-loss inducing drugs as Urban  (he...he...) . 

I also take it that he didn't run out to find someone to help him figure out how to erase incriminating text messages. 

Seriously though..I think Universities are much like the catholic church..and other large insular institutions with a herd/"Us against the world" mentality. 


September 20th, 2018 at 8:16 AM ^

I am a romantic and I understand that my view is utterly naive. I feel that the world is a dark and sometimes miserable place. Universities should be our collective ray of light that punctures the darkness. They are our most important arsenal for liberty. As such, universities should be held to the highest possible ethical standards. No gray areas, no compromise, no excuses. 


September 20th, 2018 at 8:24 AM ^

I’m pretty much done with the whole urban Meyer osu thing, please make it stop.  He was wrong, that coach has issues, Meyer is not going anywhere.  Can we please just stop with this topic. 


September 20th, 2018 at 1:41 PM ^

Dude there is no connection. No one outside of the rivalry cares about the Meyer scandal anymore. If that idiot would quit talking about it, it would go away. Hell the police have never done a thing with regards to it. It's over, except for the people butt hurt he didn't get fired. Move on. 


September 20th, 2018 at 9:11 AM ^

This is an interesting question, and you shouldn't feel bad for bringing it up. 

Personally, I think that businesses and business leaders are caught off guard less by a scandal than educational institutions due to the nature of the beast: universities, especially venerable universities, and especially athletic departments, like to have a holier than thou view of themselves, as if they actually belive their own rhetoric about making young men better. 

Contrast with the business mindset, which is one goal no soul. They know that they will eventually face a scandal, because if they haven't already someone in their peer group has, and they prepare. Mark Cuban has been through his share of (self made) controversy, so he's better prepared, and as full of himself as he is, I doubt that he's ever pretended to be making the world a better place. 

Or, it could be as simple as: a guy like Cuban is more likely to consult a PR team before speaking than a guy like Meyer...


September 20th, 2018 at 9:13 AM ^

New Mavs CEO is impressive

This ESPN clip should be shown too for a better understanding of what Cuban/Mavs have done to fix things.

All insulated organizations can learn from what Don Canham said in never making a one day story into a two day story (or three months). 

Mr Wonderful >Daymond> Lori> Robert > Mark Cuban> Barbara on the Shark scale.

Blue in PA

September 20th, 2018 at 9:15 AM ^

NCAA football is a money making machine for big universities, that's the reality.

It SHOULD be another part of the academic establishment and SHOULD be just as interested in mentoring young men as it is in winning football games.  That isn't the case in too many programs, maybe the majority, maybe all of them....

Corporations need to follow the law, which doesn't require always doing what is 'right' as long as its not illegal.  Collegiate programs should be doing what's legal and what is right, yet it seems that's less common. 

When you have the responsibility of young men, 300# or not, they're still learning, maturing and impressionable... the standard should be higher.  It does all starts at home, but when these kids roll through college programs where getting around the rules to win is common, its no wonder there are so many professional athletes running up the wrong side of the law.

or so that's how I see it.   


September 20th, 2018 at 10:37 AM ^

Private vs. public (Mavs vs. OSU) plays a part.

I'll stop after this because of no politics, but as a teacher who has worked in both independent (private) and public high schools, the faculty and administration in independent schools are - in general, not always, but in general - more responsive and empathetic to parent and student concerns.


September 20th, 2018 at 10:42 AM ^

I mean, I guess in general it's a better way to respond, but until programs are discouraged from looking the other way and covering things up, it will continue to happen.  NCAA oversight is a joke.  They don't care about the players, the students, or anything aside from money and power.  This is why tuitions are so high and the NCAA over regulates every cent a current athlete may be getting.  Morality?  What's that?  None of your business until politicians or the press or the public give enough of a shit to push back.

matty blue

September 20th, 2018 at 12:42 PM ^

awful announcing has a piece on this exact comparison - the focus of the piece is more about how rachel nichols nailed the interview (which she did), but also compares how cuban's reaction vs msu / osu / baylor / maryland / psu's reactions might help make it a more "manageable" story.