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Outgoing Massachusetts governor named new NCAA president

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker speaks during a Juneteenth commemoration in Boston’s Nubian Square, June 18, 2021. 

The NCAA announced on Thursday that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) will become the nonprofit organization’s next president.

In a news release, the NCAA said that Baker will step into the new role in March, just a little less than two months after he’ll step down as Massachusetts governor. 

Baker, a former collegiate athlete at Harvard University, will be tasked with building on the NCAA’s latest initiatives, which include expanding the organization’s new constitution ratified earlier this year that assigned more self-governance power to its three collegiate divisions, athletic conferences and its member schools. 

Linda Livingstone, the chair of the NCAA’s board of governors, said in a statement that Baker has the required skillset to tackle the role as NCAA president. 

“As a former student-athlete himself, husband to a former college gymnast, and father to two former college football players, Governor Baker is deeply committed to our student-athletes and enhancing their collegiate experience,” Livingstone, who is also the president of Baylor University, said. “These skills and perspective will be invaluable as we work with policymakers to build a sustainable model for the future of college athletics.”

Baker’s appointment marks the end of a national search process led by the NCAA’s search committee. According to The Athletic, the search committee hoped to hire its new president before the organization’s annual convention next month. 

“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 statement, adding his excitement to begin his new role.

Baker’s assignment comes after the NCAA experienced massive changes in the past year, including when the organization lifted its long-standing rules against student-athletes making money on their fame following the Supreme Court’s decision in June 2021 upholding a lower court ruling that the NCAA violated antitrust laws by limiting student-athletes’ compensation.

“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,” Baker added. “And for the fans that faithfully fill stadiums, stands and gyms from coast to coast, I am eager to ensure the competitions we all love to follow are there for generations to come. 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.”

The Massachusetts governor is set to replace Mark Emmert next year. Emmert, who spent the last 12 years as the NCAA president, will continue to serve as a consultant for the organization until June.

In his current role as governor, Baker, who announced last December that he wouldn’t run for a third term as the state’s governor, is set to be replaced by Maura Healey (D), who was elected governor in last month’s midterm elections.

Tags Charlie Baker Charlie Baker Harvard University Linda Livingstone Mark Emmert Mark Emmert Massachusetts NCAA NCAA Division I
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