A politician becomes the president of the NCAA
The GIST: How does a governor become president without an election? They’re selected by a search committee. Yesterday, the NCAA announced that current Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will succeed Mark Emmert, who gave his resignation notice last April, as the collegiate sport governing body’s president. Runnin’ the NCAA on Dunkin’.
The details: Baker, whose second gubernatorial term with the Commonwealth ends on January 5th, will officially take the NCAA role on March 1st, and Emmert will advise until June. Unlike all previous NCAA leaders, Baker’s background does not include employment in college athletics or education, though he did hoop at Harvard for one season.
The reasoning: As a surprisingly well-liked two-term Republican governor of a Democratic state, as well as a former CEO in the private healthcare sector, Baker has been tapped for his “results-oriented, bipartisan approach” and his political background in both initiating and navigating policy.
- Amidst the proliferation of the name, image and likeness (NIL) era, the athlete transfer portal mayhem and the myriad of legal and political issues the NCAA has faced, the org sought out Baker to help build and define an entirely new business model for college sports.
The response: While many in and around college sports initially thought Baker was a head-scratching hire, given the increasingly intricate challenges the NCAA continues to face, the appointment of a politician might actually make…sense?
- Not only could the bipartisan dealmaker help navigate federal and state legislative pressures, but Baker’s private-sector experience may help define the main conflict warring within college sports: Is the NCAA a business or an amateur organization?