Mark Emmert, who led the National Collegiate Athletic Association through a period of enormous growth and even more turmoil, will retire a year from now, he and the association’s governing board agreed Tuesday. The NCAA’s announcement made clear that it was a “mutual” decision between the NCAA’s Board of Governors and Emmert, signaling that Emmert was pushed.
Emmert became the second university president to lead the association when he was selected in 2010 to succeed Myles Brand. Emmert had been president of the University of Washington and Louisiana State University before that.
During Emmert’s 12-year term at the NCAA’s helm, the money coursing through big-time college athletics has exploded, and the gap between the biggest and richest sports programs and the rest has widened.
The association has undergone enormous tumult in the last few years, with significant legal losses and steadily eroding support in the courts and the general public for the “amateur” athletic model that Emmert, like his predecessors in the NCAA’s top job, have taken care to uphold. The NCAA took steps to restructure itself at its convention in January, and more changes—including in how it is governed—are likely.
The board’s statement acknowledged the turmoil. “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, Georgetown University’s president and chair of the NCAA board. “It also allows for the selection and recruitment of the next president without disruption.”