The NCAA has been in the news a lot lately, and it has nothing to do with point spreads or any other form of betting. NIL deals and the transfer portal seem to dominate most of the headlines, but the biggest news story will have a lasting impact on the organization.
Mark Emmert has announced that he will be stepping down as President of the NCAA, at some point before June 30, 2023. Announcing the decision in 2022 will give the organization time to get a new leader in place, and allow for a smooth transition.
This was a mutual decision between Emmert and the board of governors, and it was a move that has been speculated on for the last few months. There are some major issues facing the NCAA, and that organization was looking for someone new to guide them moving forward.
The 69-year-old Emmert was officially named President of the NCAA on April 27, 2010, after leaving his position as the President of the University of Washington. Emmert also spent time as the chancellor at Louisiana State University.
Even though there was some recent speculation that an announcement like this was coming, that’s a big change from what the news was in April 2021. At that time, the NCAA announced that it was giving Emmert a contract extension through 2025, but he will not be around to finish that new deal.
Emmert has become a huge public figure over the last two years, and he has had to deal with a number of big issues. The biggest issue was the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were several differing opinions about his handling of that situation.
It’s unclear in what direction the NCAA will go from here, but the board of governors is expected to start looking for a replacement immediately. This is a position that would normally draw plenty of interest from big names, but that might not be the case in 2022.
Big Issues Facing NCAA
The new President of the NCAA will have some big shoes to fill, and that person will also have some serious issues to take on. The NCAA appears to be at a crossroads, and some are questioning how long this organization will remain in control of college athletics.
The College Football Playoff currently runs the college football side of things, and the Power Five conferences could be looking to form their own organization. That move could solely be for football, or those conferences could form their own league altogether.
Emmert and his staff also faced significant backlash over the unfair and unequal treatment of women’s athletics over the last few years, specifically during the COVID-19 NCAA Tournament bubble. That was only the tipping point, but there has been a much larger push made about the unfair treatment over the last few years.
The new NIL bills that continue to be signed throughout the country is a major challenge for the NCAA as well, and Emmert has not been able to get out in front of that issue. The transfer portal has further complicated matters, and college athletics has started to feel more like a professional organization of late.
New Constitution is Confusing
Members of the NCAA adopted a new constitution back in January, but that new constitution only added more confusion and complications. The basis of that new constitution was to allow each division to adopt new rules, but it also took away some power from the board of governors.
There are now just nine board of governors for the NCAA, and that number was reduced from 20. Each division is expected to give schools the power to create rules that specifically address the NIL issue.
Student athletes are not allowed to be paid directly by schools, but money is still flowing to these players at an alarming rate. This new constitution removes some of the decision making from the NCAA President, but someone will still need to be in charge of the organization.
Emmert is just the fifth President that the NCAA has ever had, and his tenure was an important one for the organization. Allowing each division to draft its own rules was a move celebrated by college and university leaders, but it will create a playing field that is no longer equal and operating under the same basic set of rules.