Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has been announced as the new NCAA president following his departure from office in January.
Baker, 66, will be succeeding Mark Emmert on March 1, 2023, after holding the Governor’s seat of Massachusetts since 2015.
The soon-to-be former Governor is no stranger to collegiate sports. From 1977-78, Baker played power forward for Harvard’s basketball team.
For most of his career, Baker has held various roles in Massachusetts state government and has never held a position in any college-level administrative capacity. His only administrative position outside of government was the decade he spent in health care.
Baker, who holds degrees from both Harvard and Northwestern, says it’s “worth doing.”
“It’s big and complicated, but so have been a lot of the things I’ve done in my life. Most of the time, they were absolutely worth doing,” Baker said in a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Baker believes he’s joining the NCAA at a “pivotal” time, as the organization is transforming the way it runs college sports because of the legal and political challenges to its business model.
Emmert, who has been the head of the NCAA since Nov. 2010, announced he would be stepping down as president this past April.
In April of 2021, Emmert signed a contract extension through 2025 but will now remain in an advisory role with the NCAA until June to help with the transition of power between himself and Baker.
Chair of the NCAA’s board of governors and Baylor University president Linda Livingstone was a key player in the search for the new president. As a candidate, Baker stood out from the rest because of his track record of building bipartisan relationships as governor. She hopes that Baker will be able to help Congress create federal legislation that will give the NCAA legal clearance to regulate how college athletes are compensated.
“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 said in a statement.
Following his departure as Governor, Baker plans to attend this year’s NVAA convention in mid-January in hopes he can begin developing the ground work for the organization he will be head of in March.
Baker, who told reporters on Thursday that he’s not ready to reveal any details about specific issues, such as athletes transferring between schools and how NCAA athletes are allowed to make money, is thrilled to be part of the organization.
He believes the NCAA is “one of the truly greatest human potential development organizations ever devised.”
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