NCAA appoints MA Gov. Baker as next president

The NCAA has chosen Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker as its next president, succeeding Mark Emmert.

Baker, a Republican who has served as governor since January 2015 but will complete his second term in January, will begin his new post on March 1. He played power forward for the Harvard basketball team during the 1977-78 season, but had no previous college administrative experience. . He spent most of his career in Massachusetts state government, but spent a decade in health care administration. Baker, 66, is a graduate of Harvard and Northwestern.

In April, Emmert announced he would step down. He has led the NCAA since November 2010 and in April 2021 his contract was extended until 2025. Emmert will remain in an advisory role until June.

“We are thrilled to welcome Governor Charlie Baker to the NCAA and look forward to him beginning his work with our organization,” Linda Livingstone, president of Baylor University and chair of the NCAA Board of Governors, said in a statement. communicated. “Governor Baker has demonstrated a remarkable ability to bridge divides and build bipartisan consensus, addressing complex challenges in innovative and effective ways. As a former student-athlete himself, husband of a A former college gymnast and father of two former college football players, Governor Baker is deeply committed to our student-athletes and enhancing their college experience. Those skills and perspective will be invaluable as we work with policy makers to build a enduring model for the future of college athletics.

Livingstone led the presidential search along with six others, including former Duke basketball star Grant Hill, now co-owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

Baker’s background in politics and politics has fueled his candidacy as the NCAA has faced several high-profile legal challenges in recent years. In 2021, the NCAA began allowing athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, but the rules vary from state to state as there is no federal policy, despite the wish of athletic directors and key conference commissioners. In a statement announcing Baker’s hiring, the NCAA noted that “an untenable patchwork of individual state laws” had limited his authority.

“The NCAA faces complex and significant challenges, but I am excited to get to work because the incredible opportunity college athletics provides to so many students is well worth the challenge,” Baker said in a statement. “And for the fans who faithfully fill stadiums, stands and gymnasiums from coast to coast, I look forward to ensuring that the competitions we all love to follow are there for generations to come. Over the next few months, I will begin working with student-athletes and NCAA members as we modernize college sport to fit today’s world, while preserving its core value.”

Baker supports a transitional NCAA that ratified a new constitution in January, granting each of its divisions greater authority to govern themselves. The NCAA noted that Baker’s history of “successfully forging bipartisan solutions to complex problems” stood out from the search committee.

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