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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker named next NCAA President

The Republican politician & former Harvard hooper will replace Mark Emmert in March 2023.

Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial Photo by Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

The next NCAA President played mid-major basketball. That’s right. There is a mid-major slant to everything we post after all.

Massachusetts Gov. (R) Charlie Baker, whose term ends in January, was announced on Thursday as the person to replace outgoing NCAA President Mark Emmert during a time when there aren’t many people who are fans of the the way the NCAA handles itself.

He will transition into the role starting in March. (This Is March Intensifies.)

“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,” Baker said in an NCAA press release. “The NCAA is confronting complex and significant challenges, but I am excited to get to work as the awesome opportunity college athletics provides to so many students is more than worth the challenge. And 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.”

Baker, who turns 67 next year as he replaces the 69-year-old (nice) Emmert, played a modest eight games for Harvard (at least, according to his sports-reference page) in 1977-78. The 6-foot-6-inch forward shot 6 of 15 from the field, hit one of his two free-throw attempts, snagged eight rebounds and dished out one assist in true shot-chaser fashion befitting someone who was the CEO of a medical group.

Baker has no experience in college athletics leadership, but does have political ties that might help the NCAA mend the rift between itself and local and federal lawmakers when it comes to Name, Image, and Likeness, among a myriad of other issues. Classifying athletes as employees, shifting power to conferences and the simple existence of the NCAA are now likely to be in the hands of courts and politicians under Baker. Fun times ahead.

Possibly, though, the most important thing to know about Baker, who isn’t an actual baker despite his namesake, is: He picked Virginia to win the NCAA title in 2018.

We all remember how that went.

Hopefully his policy choices are better than his brackets.