NCAA President Emmert Agrees to Step Down in College Sports Surprise

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NCAA president Mark Emmert has agreed to leave his position as the governing body reexamines its role in the rapidly changing world of college sports.

Emmert will continue to serve until a new president is named, or until June 30, 2023, the governing body said Tuesday in a surprise announcement that called it a “mutual agreement.” During his 12-year-tenure, the NCAA’s annual revenue jumped from $741 million in 2010 to more than $1.16 billion in 2021.

The NCAA’s long-held amateurism model is currently facing unprecedented threats. A series of prominent antitrust lawsuits against the governing body have opened the door to dramatic changes, including new marketing rights for athletes and conference realignment. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated some economic concerns that had been growing for years.

The NCAA has responded by asking Congress for an intervention, and by throwing up its hands on some issues. A new constitution, approved in January, cedes much rule-making and enforcement to individual divisions, and maybe even conferences, the NCAA’s largest admission that it can’t govern all 1,200 of its members via identical guidelines.

“With the significant transitions underway within college sports, the timing of this decision provides the Association with consistent leadership during the coming months plus the opportunity to consider what will be the future role of the president,” Georgetown president John DeGioia, chair of the NCAA board, said in a statement. “It also allows for the selection and recruitment of the next president without disruption.”

Emmert received a contract extension in 2021 that would have kept him in the role until 2025. It’s unclear if the remainder of that contract will be paid out. Emmert was paid $2.8 million in 2019-20, according to the NCAA’s tax returns.

Emmert, 69, was hired as the NCAA’s fifth president in 2010 after a career in academic administration. He was president of the University of Washington and chancellor of Louisiana State, in addition to other positions.

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