The first issue for the next NCAA president: What is the association even going to look like for Mark Emmert’s successor?
That’s the key question in assembling a list of candidates to replace Emmert, who announced Tuesday that he’s resigning effective June 2023. The NCAA he is leaving behind is in a bit of shambles. There must be some certainty before the next leader evaluates what they are getting into.
That’s why it’s probably wise to have a lengthy timeline. The NCAA is in the middle of reconstructing its constitution. The association is losing its grip on the FBS. The next president may literally be a glorified liaison to Congress. Point being: if Congress has oversight over name, image and likeness, it isn’t going to stop there.
Emmert’s successor cannot be bogged down in minutiae. Running the NCAA in the future will have to be about appeasing the Power Five. If not, those schools have the means to break off on their own.
First, history would suggest the NCAA has to lean away from hiring a school president as its next leader.
Dick Schultz (1988-93), the former Virginia president, was run out in scandal. As many platitudes as former Indiana president Myles Brand received, he failed to act early in the Ed O’Bannon case. That cost the NCAA dearly in the courts and in the court of public opinion.
Emmert — a former chancellor at LSU and president at Washington — was just the wrong choice. He was detached and arrogant. He could not lead or build consensus. He was the absolute opposite of what a CEO in any big company must be.
The NCAA Board of Governors can’t make the same mistake again.
The presidential model hasn’t worked. That said, it could. There are some names out there who have made it part of their career to be…