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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Named Next NCAA President

The Republican governor will replace Mark Emmert in March during a time of transition and turmoil for the NCAA.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is set to become the next president of the NCAA, the organization officially announced on Thursday. Baker’s term as governor will end in January and he will take over his new job in March.

“I am honored to become the next president of the NCAA, an organization that impacts millions of families and countless communities across this country every day,” Baker said in a release. “The NCAA is confronting complex and significant challenges, but I am excited to get to work as the awesome opportunity college athletics provides to so many students is more than worth the challenge… Over the coming months, I will begin working with student-athletes and NCAA members as we modernize college sports to suit today’s world, while preserving its essential value.”

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The NCAA’s current president, Mark Emmert, announced earlier this year that he would step down from his post, but would still serve in an advisory capacity for the first half of 2023. In an April statement, Emmert said he was proud of his “focus on the experience and priorities of student-athletes.”

“With the significant transitions underway within college sports, the timing of this decision provides the Association with consistent leadership during the coming months plus the opportunity to consider what will be the future role of the president,” NCAA Board of Governors Chair John J. DeGioia also said in April. “It also allows for the selection and recruitment of the next president without disruption.”

And the verdict is in — with someone who has no leadership experience in the sports or collegiate world, but comes to the table with bipartisan respect. Thus, it’s worth pondering whether the NCAA can bridge the rift between the organization and federal lawmakers through Baker’s political ties. This comes while state governments continue to operate independently from one another in providing guidelines around athletes’ name, image, and likeness rights.

Baker, 66, played basketball at Harvard and has experience as CEO of a medical group. He also served as the Secretary of Administration and Finance in Massachusetts.

“We know that to be successful, the NCAA president needs to possess the ability to balance competing priorities, inspire a shared vision, and create a broad sense of trust,” said Grant Hill, an independent member of the NCAA Board of Governors and member of the presidential search committee. “As Governor of Massachusetts and a successful private sector CEO, Charlie Baker has demonstrated the type of results-oriented, bipartisan approach that we will need to bolster the well-being of student-athletes, realize the opportunities, and overcome the challenges facing the NCAA.”

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a former Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.