The NCAA Has A New Boss

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker starts the job in March.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will have a new job after his term ends on January 5th, 2023. Baker will become the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in March replacing Dr. Mark Emmert who is leaving although it might not be because he wanted to retire and it might be the NCAA wanted to retire him. Dr. Emmert will be advising Baker for a few months afterwards. Baker will face some challenges including lawsuits from so-called “student-athletes” who think they should be compensated by colleges and universities for making money off their bodies in games in exchange for an almost full scholarship. The National Labor Relations Board plans to take up a case from The National College Players Association, a charge that includes the University of Southern California and the Pac-12 Conference, and specifically addresses the employee status of football and men’s and women’s basketball players. The charge alleges that by misclassifying them as “student-athletes,” the school, the conference and the NCAA had “interfered with, restrained and coerced” the exercise of those athletes’ collective bargaining rights.

There are also calls by some in the college industry for Congress to come up with a national uniform policy regarding college and university players getting paid for their likenesses. Baker played basketball for Harvard University in the 1970s. Baker’s wife Lauren is a former college gymnast, and the Baker family includes two sons who played college football. The NCAA is a political organization and it probably is a good choice for the group to hire someone who knows the ins and outs of politics particularly Washington where the NCAA needs a high-powered lobbyist. Baker fits that role. He was elected as Massachusetts governor in 2014 and won re-election in 2018. He did not seek re-election in 2022. Dr. Emmert had his contract extended in 2021 but decided last April to step aside.

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