Expectations for Charlie Baker as next NCAA President | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the NCAA’s selection of outgoing Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to become the next NCAA President, and debate what his role will truly be in shaping the future of college sports.

Video Transcript

ROSS DELLENGER: Press conference introducing him. One of the questions from one of the media members, what is your job?

DAN WETZEL: The NCAA got a new president, which--

PAT FORDE: Oh yeah.

DAN WETZEL: I think Pat said in the pre-show, shows how little this matters. Charlie Baker, the former governor or outgoing governor of Massachusetts, will be the next NCAA President. They hyped up his former athlete experience. He played basketball. I think it was basketball at Harvard.

I'm not sure how that relates to the modern thing. Someone's got to do the job. It's really a pinata job, and I feel like a politician is perfect for it. Because they're like, they're used to half the people screaming at him anyway. So any thoughts on Charlie Baker, Governor Baker taking over as the NCAA President, Pat?

PAT FORDE: Yeah, I think how little it matters is why it matters, you know? It's just a referendum on how useless the NCAA president is, as Dan mentioned, being like a well paid pinata, and putting a face on the association, and getting up there at the Final Four and at the NCAA convention, and trying to articulate some plan or vision, which is largely outside of your control. The reality is the Power Five commissioners are the more important people in terms of what actually happens these days, so that's more where the power rests.

But I do think a couple of interesting things here about the higher. One, it continues the trend of going away from campus leadership. It's like, university presidents, ADs, you're the ones that got us into this mess. We're not counting on you to get us out of it. Because if you look now at the Power Five conference leadership, we only have two commissioners who are campus guys, Greg Sankey at the SEC and Jim Phillips at the ACC.

The other three had no real college background. Charlie Baker, no real college background, and I just think there's a real imperative to find different ideas and different mindsets to get some of these things accomplished. One of which is a political solution to NIL, transfer, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, that everybody complains about all the time, so get a politician who's going to deal with the politicians who you hope will bail you out in terms of coming up with a legislated solution or legislated idea to how to handle some of these issues in college sports.

ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, I think they had their sights set on getting somebody politically connected in that world to maneuver around D.C. and the lawmakers. It seems like that was goal number one in the search. They talked to a couple of other former governors, including one of Indiana. Mitch Daniels, I think, was somebody they discussed things with, so--

DAN WETZEL: Purdue president now, right?


ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, outgoing, yeah. Anthony Gonzalez, even former congressman from Ohio, so there was a lot of political--

DAN WETZEL: Ohio State player, yeah.

ROSS DELLENGER: --folks in the mix there, and I think it was all a goal. That's what they wanted to get. It's been interesting, the reaction, because the reaction, there hasn't been a lot of reaction it felt like, not a lot of big, strong reaction on either side. I think part of that is probably because we don't really know how much it matters, and like Pat said, the Power Five commissioners probably have much more of a authoritative role than the NCAA president.

I mean, during the NCAA-- during Governor Baker's press conference introducing him, one of the questions from one of the media members, I think, it maybe was Ralph Russo of the AP was, what is your job? Like what is this job? And we don't really know, like we don't know what the job is. Another one of the questions was, why the hell would you take this job, you know? So that just gives you an idea of what the situation is right now for him, and I think there's probably two main issues that he needs to tackle first.

Number one is NIL trying to get some college athlete bill pushed through in Congress. I do think they're starting to become-- there's a lot of lawmakers starting to become more knowledgeable on the issue, certainly, a lot more than understood the issue two years ago. So I think there is a little movement for a college athlete bill of some sort to get pushed through, and then the second thing, I think, for him is FBS governance, which, again, might not involve him as much as the Power Five commissioners. But the FBS governance and how FBS is going to be structured, the transformation committee is going to end up having recommendations, and it actually circles back to what we talked about earlier about how football is different and should be treated different.

And I think you're going to see the recommendations from the transformation committee on FBS governance is to have each sport more controlling their sport individually with an oversight committee of their own, like we have for football actually already. I think you're going to see that, more of that. But those are the two issues, FBS governance, some kind of NIL congressional bill.

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, I feel like the commissioners and the courts and not in that order are going to determine a lot of this going forward.


DAN WETZEL: But yeah, we'll see. Yeah, that's correct. Why did you take this job? You seem like an industrious man. You went to Harvard, and you're governor.


DAN WETZEL: It seems like you could do something else.