Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Named New NCAA President

Written By Caleb Tallman on December 16, 2022
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was named the new NCAA President

The NCAA has officially named a new president for after Mark Emmert retires. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will serve as the next NCAA President, taking over the role in March of 2023.

Baker, a former Division I college athlete as a basketball player at Harvard, is a two-term Governor of Massachusetts. His approval ratings are above 75%, the highest of any governor in the US. 

He played a significant role in the start of sports betting in Massachusetts. It culminated with him singing HB 5164 on Aug. 10, 2022, which turned the sports betting bill into law.

Baker is also the former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a non-profit health benefits provider. He helped take Harvard Pilgrim Health Care from the verge of bankruptcy to 24 straight profitable quarters.

NCAA’s Hiring Process for New President

The NCAA put together a search committee made up of university presidents from different competition levels, a conference commissioner, a former student-athlete, and one independent member.

The NCAA also used the country’s top search firm in this space, TurnkeyZRG. The firm was responsible recently for replacing commissioners in the Big 12, ACC, and Pac-12.

NCAA search committee members included:

  • Jere Morehead, president, University of Georgia
  • Steven Shirley, president of Minot State University
  • Isaiah Swann, former baseball student-athlete at the University of Texas at Dallas
  • Linda Livingstone, president of Baylor University 
  • Mary-Beth Cooper, president of Springfield College
  • Beth DeBauche, commissioner of Ohio Valley Conference
  • Grant Hill, independent member and co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks

The committee spent several months developing a profile of their ideal candidate before ever looking at individual candidates. The committee’s profile included input from over 300 NCAA stakeholders.

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NCAA Search Committee Quotes on Charlie Baker

Linda Livingstone, Baylor President, Search Committee Chair:

“We are excited to welcome Governor Charlie Baker to the NCAA and eager for him to begin his work with our organization. Governor Baker has shown a remarkable ability to bridge divides and build bipartisan consensus, taking on complex challenges in innovative and effective ways. As a former student-athlete, husband to a former college gymnast, and father to two former college football players, Governor Baker is deeply committed to our student-athletes and enhancing their collegiate experience. These skills and perspective will be invaluable as we work with policymakers to build a sustainable model for the future of college athletics.”

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Isaiah Swan, former baseball student-athlete representative:

“As a student-athlete representative on the search committee, I focused my conversations with Governor Baker around many of the issues that student-athletes face today. Throughout our discussions, he not only demonstrated a command of the top issues confronting college sports but, more importantly, also displayed empathy, open-mindedness, and a desire to better understand and address student-athletes perspectives. The Baker family’s connection to collegiate athletics runs deep. He’s one of us. He thinks like a student-athlete and will lead us forward with our perspectives in mind.”

The NCAA Baker Takeover

Baker will take over the NCAA at a very interesting time, as the NCAA is undergoing many changes.

In 2022, the NCAA made a new constitution. It gives greater power of self-governance to each of the three divisions and all of the conferences. 

Baker had this to say about his appointment:

“I am honored to become the next president of the NCAA, an organization that impacts millions of families and countless communities across this country every day. The NCAA is confronting complex and significant challenges. Still, I am excited to get to work as the awesome opportunity college athletics provides to many students is more than worth the challenge. For the fans that faithfully fill stadiums, stands, and gyms from coast to coast. I am eager to ensure the competitions we all love to follow are there for generations to come. Over the coming months; I will begin working with student-athletes and NCAA members as we modernize college sports to suit today’s world while preserving its essential value.”

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