NCAA President's Handover June 2023
By Claire Miles - May 4, 2023

Mark Emmert presided over the NCAA for more than a decade, possibly the most turbulent period in the organization’s history. He frequently spoke of “existential dangers” to the college model. Still, he never took a proactive approach to any of the organization’s critical challenges throughout his tenure, ranging from athletes’ capacity to profit off their names, pictures, and likenesses (NIL) to transfer reform. Emmert assisted in developing the NCAA’s legal strategy in a lawsuit involving academic-related athlete compensation caps, which the Supreme Court rejected 9-0 this summer.

According to the statement, Emmert’s decision to stand down was amicable between him and the NCAA Board of Governors. The decision comes as the college sports scene transforms, allowing student-athletes access to lucrative income options previously prohibited by NCAA rules. As a result of various developments over the previous few years, the NCAA is in a moment of transition. Due to the implementation of name, image, and likeness rights last summer, student-athletes can now profit from their achievements. As a result of the transfer portal, they can switch schools once without sitting out a season.

Getty Images/ Getty Images News/ Drew Angerer

The move isn’t altogether unexpected. The NCAA is still the most potent regulatory organization in college athletics. Still, it has been chastised for years as being overbearing and even outdated, with Emmert being the primary target. Emmert is seen as an impediment to progress rather than a driver. Or, at the very least, he is viewed as reactive rather than proactive.

“With the substantial shifts taking place in college athletics, the timing of this decision offers the Association with consistent leadership over the next months and the time to evaluate what the president’s future position will be,” NCAA Board of Governors Chair John J. DeGioia stated. “It also enables the seamless selection and recruitment of the future president.” As the collegiate sports business tries to find its footing following a year of dramatic transition, it’s unknown what type of authority the next NCAA president will have — and it’s likely to stay uncertain for at least the next several months.