Mark Emmert to step down as NCAA president after 12 years

Last updated April 27, 2022

Mark Emmert is stepping down as the president of the NCAA after 12 turbulent years of leading the organization. During his time at the helm, college sports have undergone significant changes.

John DeGioia, the NCAA's board of governors chairman, announced the change Tuesday. Emmert will continue to serve as the organization's president either until a new leader is chosen or until June 30, 2023.

Although the NCAA is still the governing body for college athletics, it has been criticized for its heavy-handed approach.

During his time leading the NCAA, Emmert oversaw the organization's most significant change in its history. During the past decade, college athletes have gained more power and have become more financially independent.

Critics have claimed that Emmert hindered the organization's efforts to implement change. The 69-year-old was seen as an obstacle that prevented the NCAA from taking action.

In a statement released by the NCAA, Emmert praised the organization's accomplishments during his reign. He said that he was proud of the work of the staff members at the organization.

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

What went wrong

The NCAA has been facing various legal issues over the years, which peaked with a decision by the Supreme Court in an antitrust case last year. This ruling severely affected the organization's ability to govern college sports.

After losing the antitrust case, the organization changed its rules last June to allow college athletes to make money using their names, images, and likenesses. However, this move was only made after state legislators took away the organization's power.

Over the past couple of years, Emmert has been regularly called before members of Congress in Washington. His frequent appearances have been seen as one of the reasons why the political parties came to unite against him.

Challenging time

Due to the increasing popularity of college sports, the job of the NCAA's president became more challenging.

Under Emmert's leadership, the NCAA has generated over $1 billion annually through television deals. Most of this money is distributed to the organization's member schools.

Despite the organization's revenue, the disparity between the schools' athletic budgets and what the wealthiest schools can bring in has made it difficult for the NCAA to operate efficiently.

In January, NCAA member schools approved a new constitution that aimed to transform the organization's structure and mission.

The vote's timing was beneficial for the NCAA as it allows the organization to have a smooth transition as it prepared for the upcoming college sports season. According to DeGioia, the NCAA's new constitution provided the organization with the necessary time to find its next president.

In August, after the NCAA was criticized for its lack of facilities and services for the athletes, Emmert said he was still focusing on the organization's mission. He said that he was passionate about the mission of the NCAA.

Martin Efvergren
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