The NCAA is preparing for a monumental change in leadership. On Tuesday evening, the NCAA released a statement announcing Mark Emmert will step down from his position as president of the NCAA effective in June 2023. Emmert is now officially entering his final season as president of the highest governing body in collegiate athletics.
“Throughout my tenure I’ve emphasized the need to focus on the experience and priorities of student-athletes,” Emmert said in a released 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.”
Emmert’s pending resignation comes as the entire collegiate athletics landscape is undergoing seismic changes. The era of NIL rules and years of conference realignment in search of larger media revenue packages has led to many questioning where the NCAA stands in all of this. Emmert, fairly or not, has been tasked with being the face of an organization seemingly losing more and more credibility and respect as the years have gone by.
Emmert has been in the position of president of the NCAA since 2010, a role he ascended to after a six-year run as the president of the University of Washington. Emmert has been the target of criticism over many NCAA investigations, including the one into Penn State in the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal in 2011.
Emmert was also the voice of the NCAA in the landmark Ed O’Bannon lawsuit which challenged the authority the NCAA had over prohibiting the ability for athletes to capitalize on their own name, image, and likeness.
For all the controversy aside, the bottom line here is the NCAA is now in a position to hire a new president, and one that will carry on as the voice of an institution in need of respected leadership and able to take on the ever-changing landscape of the college sports world.
And while the list of worthy candidates for the job will no doubt be intriguing to monitor, one can’t help wonder if outgoing Penn State AD [autotag]Sandy Barbour[/autotag] could be a viable candidate, or if she would even be interested in such a position. Barbour has been a well-respected athletics director at Cal and Penn State, and she is heading into her own retirement from her current position at Penn State later this summer (and her successor may already be lined up).
Perhaps just something to keep tucked away in the back of your head for now. Odds are the NCAA will go for someone with experience as a university president, but this is a decision that will be watched very closely over the next year.
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