Mark Emmert to step down as NCAA president in ‘mutual agreement’ with board

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NCAA President Mark Emmert

The NCAA announced Tuesday that Mark Emmert will step down as president of the Indianapolis-based college sports organization, no later than mid-next year.

John DeGioia, chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors, called the move the result of a “mutual agreement” between the board and Emmert, 69, who became president of the governing body in 2010, following former Indiana University President Myles Brand.

Emmert will continue to serve in the role until a new president is selected and in place or until June 30, 2023, a statement from the organization said.

The decision comes at a rocky time for the NCAA, which for decades has essentially controlled college sports. But in recent years, universities, athletics conferences and individual athletes have tried to wrest some of that control away, dragging the NCAA into a series of changes.

DeGioia acknowledged as much in a statement: “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. It also allows for the selection and recruitment of the next president without disruption.”

NCAA member schools adopted a new constitution in January that addresses a number of schools’ concerns.  In addition, the NCAA last year began allowing student-athletes to profit from endorsements, a change it made after several states and Congress threatened to force the move.

“Throughout my tenure I’ve emphasized the need to focus on the experience and priorities of student-athletes,” Emmert said in the statement.  “I am extremely proud of the work of the Association over the last 12 years and especially pleased with the hard work and dedication of the national office staff here in Indianapolis.”

During his more than 10 years in the job, Emmert achieved some of his goals of providing more benefits to athletes. They can now receive cost-of-attendance stipends, guaranteed four-year scholarships and better medical coverage from their schools. Loosened guidelines make it easier for athletes to switch schools. More restrictive rules force coaches to respect players’ time now more than ever, the AP reported last year.

NCAA revenue has reached more than $1 billion per year under Emmert, primarily through the TV deals for the men’s college basketball tournament, and most of the money is redistributed to more than 1,100 member schools with nearly 500,000 athletes.

But last year was an especially difficult one for the organization. The NCAA has been hammered over gender-equity issues at its showcase basketball tournaments, saw its authority undercut by a stinging antitrust ruling from the Supreme Court and was forced into the hands-off solution allowing name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes.

“Don’t you think it is time to call your leadership of the organization into question?” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked Emmert during a June 2021 hearing in Washington.

Still, one year ago, the NCAA board unanimously voted to extend Emmert’s contract through 2025. At the time, DeGioia, the president of Georgetown University, said the board continued to have confidence in his leadership.

“We’ve been immersed in an incredibly changing and complex context for intercollegiate athletics and through this period we’ve recognize that we needed to both advance and modernize our framework, our rules, so that we were as attentive as possible to ensuring the best possible framework for our students who are engaged in intercollegiate athletics,” DeGioia told the AP a few weeks before Emmert’s contract extension was announced. “I think Mark has been attentive to the dimensions of this.”

A year later, DeGioia announced Emmert—who previously led the University of Washington and LSU—would be leaving.

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11 thoughts on “Mark Emmert to step down as NCAA president in ‘mutual agreement’ with board

  1. Bunch of woke types, E probably wanted to keep the “portal” forever and ruin college basketball. When the Women’s B1G tournament was going on, no press reported about, IBJ didn’t, afternoon radio nothing about scores, who’s out who’s in. 🤔

  2. NIL….transfer portal…..coaches highest paid public employees in a given state and their compensation even exceeding most corporate executive positions…..schedules dictated by TV contracts……Power 5 conferences becoming the tail wagging the dog……I agree with Larry P. that it’s a thankless job at an organization that has become toothless and can no longer herd the cows on the open range. Unfortunately, the NCAA and its governance of amateur athletics is from a bygone era as amateurs no longer exist….at least at the D1 level. I don’t have the answers, but the NCAA must reinvent themselves by redefining its mission to remain a relevant and valued organization to collegiate athletics. Without the NCAA or a comparable governing body, the inmates will be running the asylum…..

  3. Change was needed; however, the next guy needs to have pair. Try to make the best and most intelligent decisions but don’t try to have everyone like you. Don’t deny the basic rules of real science and not try to re-write it or it will be the end of college athletics.

  4. No surprise! While the job is well paid, the question is who really runs the show. Good governance says that the board of directors set goals and objectives and passes along to management to meet those objectives. Then management is held accountable for meeting those objectives.
    It sounds like the board (made up of presidents with personal interests) kept changing the game with no real objectives. In this case, almost no one wins.
    Amateurism is at stake now. Likewise, the future of all of college sports is truly up in the air!

  5. Div III, Div II… run by NCAA. Div I … different rules, different organization Either ADs run it, conference chiefs run it. School Presidents have abdicated their leadership roles… national overarching college sports corp?

  6. Joseph F nailed it I think. Nothing lasts forever and political correctness and wokeism have ruined many other organizations and the NCAA might be going the way of the world in the near future. It is all about the $$ and we know that greed kills.

  7. Who made up the word “woke”, why do conservatives throw it around all the time, and what, exactly, does it have to do with the NCAA president stepping down? Weird.