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NCAA President Mark Emmert Stepping Down

Sports

Mark Emmert | Image by Tom Pennington / Getty Images.

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Mark Emmert, president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), is stepping down from his role.

Emmert, 69, was appointed to the position in April 2010 after serving as president at the University of Washington and chancellor at Louisiana State University. He will continue to serve as NCAA’s president until a replacement is in place or until June 30, 2023, whichever comes first.

According to a press release, Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors reached a mutual agreement for him to step down.

“Throughout my tenure I’ve emphasized the need to focus on the experience and priorities of student-athletes,” Emmert said in the release. “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.”

The announcement comes one year after the NCAA Board of Governors approved a contract extension for Emmert through 2025. The extension followed a vote of confidence Emmert received from the board in the wake of heavy criticism toward the NCAA about inequities between the men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments.

Despite the harsh criticism aimed at the association and its president, Emmert still expressed a desire to lead college sports in an interview with the Associated Press last August.

“I’m not surprised that people say, ‘You know, why isn’t this getting fixed? What’s Emmert doing?’” he told AP. “And people also, they want to look to somebody and say, ‘Well, fix this, damn it!’ And I get that. I understand. And I say it in the mirror sometimes. But the truth is, it’s a very complex system. I think we do need to find ways to fix that and streamline it.”

The NCAA has undergone the most significant evolution in its more than 100 years of existence under Emmert.

A momentous transformation came with last June’s unanimous Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA cannot limit the education-related benefits colleges can offer student-athletes. The decision in the case diminished the NCAA’s ability to govern college sports and opened the door to potentially paying student-athletes.

After the court ruling, state lawmakers began passing legislation circumventing the NCAA to allow student-athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. The new laws forced the NCAA to change its rules last June to accept that athletes could profit as paid sponsors and endorsers.

NCAA revenue reached more than $1 billion annually under Emmert, primarily through TV deals for the men’s college basketball tournament.

However, the growth of college sports into a billion-dollar industry has created tension.

Most of the NCAA’s revenue is redistributed to more than 1,100 member schools with nearly 500,000 total athletes. Still, there are differences between what the wealthiest schools spend on athletics and what most schools bring in. This has been a point of criticism for the NCAA as the financial disparities make it difficult for all schools to coexist under one organization.

The changes to the organization in recent years have provided student-athletes with more power, benefits, and opportunity to earn money than ever before. In response, NCAA member schools adopted a new constitution in January and are in the process of transforming the structure and mission of the association to meet future needs.

“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,” said John J. DeGioia, NCAA Board of Governors chair and president of Georgetown. “It also allows for the selection and recruitment of the next president without disruption.”

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