BOB SCHIEFFER: What did you make of the president's comment?
DAVID IGNATIUS: I thought it was a first-rate interview. It's worth seeing in its entirety. But in the clip that you showed, President Obama, I thought, was trying to do something that I just heard Henry Kissinger at a private gathering at Yale say, which is that it's crucial for statesmen to try to see the world as their adversaries see it.
And in that comment about the deeply-held grievance that motivates Putin, I thought Obama was trying to do that. And the trick is to understand your adversary, but maintain your demands that your adversary behave in a responsible way. So I think that little piece, if Putin watched it, he would say, "Here's an American president who's at least trying to understand the way I see the world."
BOB SCHIEFFER: If he reacts to things the way we in the West--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --we don't know what. At least they're talking. And so we'll see what comes from that. We'll come back to this, David. And we're going to be back in one minute on a totally different subject. Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, the ruling body of college athletics is going to be here to talk about what could be a groundbreaking rule for college sports.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We're back now with the president of the NCAA, Dr. Mark Emmert. And Dr. Emmert, I think it's fair to say this was a surprise, it was a bombshell when the National Labor Relations Board ruled last week that college football players at Northwestern had the right to unionize. Now it's my understanding you think this would basically be a disaster for college sports.
MARK EMMERT: Well, I certainly, like I think many people, understand the need for people to pay attention to and be concerned about the welfare of student athletes. That's what the NCAA was created for a hundred years ago. And that's what we keep our attention on. But I don't think that unionizing the student athletes and turning them into unionized employees of universities is a way to improve their success. So no we're not particularly--
BOB SCHIEFFER: What would happen if they declared them to be employees? I guess that would mean their scholarships would be considered wages? They would be taxed?
MARK EMMERT: Yes, I assume so, as well. So if you look at Northwestern, for example, the value of scholarship, tuition fees, room and board, books and supplies that they get is around $75,000 a year. So we assume that becomes taxable. But more importantly, it completely changes the relationship from a student who's there to get an education and enjoy all the benefits of being a student at a place like Northwestern to being an employee. We don't even know what that looks like. If they drop a ball, do they get fired? How do you recruit them? Do you hire them? Do you trade them? I mean, what does that relationship look like is anyone's guess now.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But aren't you going to have to do something? I mean, this has now become a multi-billion dollar industry. And people say, "Look, everybody's making money out of this but the students themselves. And they're being used. They're not being treated fairly."
MARK EMMERT: Yes. To me, at least, and I'm sure this is true for our more than 1,100 member universities and colleges, the game changer for a young person in life is that they get an education. We know that means they'll make a million dollars more than they would have otherwise. So if we're making sure that the focus is on students getting an education, graduating from a university without debt, without any burdens on them. And they go on into the world. And they're successful, because of what they learned as a student athlete and what they gained in the classroom. That's the real game-changer for them.
The billions of dollars that come in (and it is a very large amount of money that universities receive for intercollegiate athletics in two sports, football and basketball) that also is what drives and pays for all of the other expenses in intercollegiate athletics. So track and field, soccer, women's volleyball, women's basketball, all of those sports are paid for by the revenue that comes in from two sports that drive all of that activity. So the notion that somehow universities are taking that money and putting it in the bank is utterly erroneous. They're using it to pay for nearly a half a million student athletes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But what happens to those other sports? Would they continue on if these people are declared to be employees rather than athletes?
MARK EMMERT: Well, they'd be deeply threatened, to say the least, because of the change in that relationship. And I'm not sure how you can rule that a student athlete who spends as much time as our student athletes do in women's basketball is different than one in men's basketball. The time commitment's the same. The work's the same. Their dedication's the same. If one's a unionized athlete and an employee, then I suspect the other is, as well.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Where do you think this is going? Do you think it finally winds up in the Supreme Court?
MARK EMMERT: Yes, I think it does. It so fundamentally changes the nature of what college sport is about. And it blows up what is one of America's iconic activities. I think it winds up in the Supreme Court.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Are these students really student athletes? Because after all, some of them are working. Then you add up your practice times, 50 hours a week. They are different than the other students who go to school. There's no question about that.
MARK EMMERT: You're right. There is no question about it. And I think one of the things that the NCAA and our member universities have to address is how much time demands are being placed on successful student athletes. Across the board, they commit an enormous amount of time. And unfortunately, it begins in the sixth grade these days. We have kids playing sports 12 months out of the year. And I think we as a society need to rebalance that a lot.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, can you think of any solutions, any reforms, any way that maybe these kids could share in what's happening here in college sports?
MARK EMMERT: Sure, there's a lot of things that we need to do and the members are actively engaged in looking for changes. One, we've been talking about increasing the size of the scholarship to cover, in our jargon, full cost of attendance, which would add several thousand dollars worth of resources to all those scholarships. We're talking about those time constraints and can we get them to be more reasonable? Because again, the game changer for life is getting that degree and that education.
Three, we need to make sure that we're doing everything humanly possibly around health and wellness and the support of student athletes around their wellbeing. Those things and a handful of others, I think, are critical changes that are well in the works right now. And we'll see that happen in the next few months.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right, well, Doctor, thank you so much.
MARK EMMERT: Thank you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: This is a very interesting situation. We'll be coming back to this story as it continues to develop and get in some other (UNINTEL) down the road. For now, I'll be right back with some personal thoughts.
BOB SCHIEFFER: James Schlesinger died last week after a long life of public service. I came to know him when he was Secretary of Defense during Watergate and I was a young Pentagon reporter. Before coming to the Pentagon he headed both the Atomic Energy Commission and the CIA and later served as Democrat Jimmy Carter's secretary of energy. What set him apart from today's Washington crowd was that he actually knew something about something other than politics and fund raising. Truth to tell he was one of the worst politicians I ever knew. After Nixon left and Gerald Ford became president, the joke was that Secretary of State Kissinger would begin his briefings to the new president by saying, "Mr, President, as I'm sure you're aware..." Schlesinger would just blurt out," Mr. President you probably don't know this but.." What he lacked in finesse, he more than made up for in character and courage. When Nixon operatives told him to remove Watergate files from the Justice Department and bury them at the CIA, he told them in so many words, "make me." In the final days of Watergate, he became so concerned with Richard Nixon's stability that he ordered safeguards to prevent the White House from issuing direct orders to the military. It was years before any of that became known but in one of the country's darkest hours he was one of those who held the government together. Back in a minute.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but for most of you we'll be right back with a lot more Face the Nation, including the former head of the CIA and NSA, General Michael Hayden, CBS News Consultant Michael Morell and our panel. Stay with us.