EDITORIAL: Myles Brand took on tough tasks

September 19, 2009

Myles Brand became president of Indiana University in 1994. He juggled the complexities of a major state university, led it in new directions—life sciences and informatics—and fired a sports legend. Then the hard work began.

Brand, who died Sept. 16 after battling pancreatic cancer, left IU to take the helm of the NCAA in 2003. And thus he took on the monumental task of striking an appropriate middle ground between academic integrity in college sports and the giant commercial operation that athletics has become.

Some applauded Brand for the academic reforms he instituted. Others said he further fueled the athletic arms race by pursuing new commercial opportunities for the NCAA.

Such are the perils of taking on a high-profile job with such vocal competing interests. But Brand wasn’t afraid of the challenge, and he never wavered in his role as a champion of genuine student-athletes—a group that makes up the vast majority of those who compete in NCAA sports.

Brand’s leadership in a tough arena will be hard to replace.•


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