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Emmert announces staff changes

Basketball-focused position created

NCAA President Mark Emmert announced today a reorganization at the senior staff level of the championships group at the national office. The changes will take effect Jan. 1 and address a need to have a single person focused on basketball issues, strategies and long-term planning.

Current Vice President of Men’s Basketball Dan Gavitt will be elevated to a new position: senior vice president of basketball. In his new role, Gavitt will oversee all basketball issues and planning for both men’s and women’s basketball in all three divisions. Vice President of Women’s Basketball Anucha Browne will report to Gavitt.

A new men’s basketball position will be created with details to be determined later. Gavitt will continue to manage NCAA relationships with Turner and CBS related to the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

Before joining the NCAA national office in 2012, Gavitt spent seven years as associate commissioner for men’s basketball at the Big East Conference. He said he looks forward to the challenges of the new position.

“I’m excited about the opportunity for the game of basketball,” he said. “I believe that it is the best structure for the management and benefit of both the men’s and women’s games.”

Dan Guerrero, chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and athletics director at the University of California, Los Angeles, endorsed Gavitt’s selection.

“Appointing one person to manage all basketball matters for the NCAA is a significant change that will improve the sport,” Guerrero said. “Dan Gavitt’s experience at the national, conference and school level will propel college basketball forward into the future.”

Jean Lenti Ponsetto, chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee and athletics director at DePaul University, said that with the incredible growth in basketball all over the world, maximizing the talent and experience on the NCAA staff is critical to providing the highest quality experience for college athletes, coaches, fans and university communities.

“Dan Gavitt has proven himself to be a thoughtful leader and is nationally and internationally respected for his basketball intelligence and the collaborative way he communicates and moves the sport forward with all of our constituencies,” Ponsetto said. “I’ve had the good fortune to work closely with Dan during his time at the Big East Conference, and there is no mistaking his passion and love for the game and the student-athletes who benefit from the experience of playing collegiate men’s and women’s basketball.”

Bill Self, men’s basketball coach at the University of Kansas and a member of the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, also was supportive.

“I fully support the decision to name a single person to oversee basketball for the NCAA. I, along with so many other coaches, know and trust Dan Gavitt, and I believe he will continue to grow the game,” Self said. “His expertise, knowledge and open-minded approach will be invaluable to the sport and all of us who work within it.”                 

Also in Emmert’s announcement, Joni Comstock, now interim executive vice president of championships and alliances, was named senior vice president of championships. She will oversee all championships except Division I men’s and women’s basketball and will manage playing rules, ticket sales and marketing, and social and media coordination. Comstock said she looks forward to her new position.

“I appreciate the opportunity from President Emmert to begin a new and expanded leadership role in championships,” Comstock said. “My experience in the interim role over the last several months confirmed what I already knew about the talented and dedicated staff we have on our team and in the national office. I am looking forward to engaging with our membership and all of our partners to continue delivering excellent student-athlete experiences and working collaboratively on the goals of the Association.”

In addition to the changes for Gavitt and Comstock, current Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Oliver Luck will now have strategic oversight of corporate and broadcast partnerships. Luck also will oversee football issues, strategy and long-term planning. Ron Prettyman, who currently oversees the College World Series, Football Championship Subdivision playoffs and Divisions II and III football championships, will continue to manage those events. He will continue to report to Comstock.

Luck will retain responsibilities over regulatory affairs. His new title will be executive vice president of regulatory affairs and strategic partnerships. The changes will allow the NCAA to benefit from Luck’s experiences as a general manager of a Major League Soccer team, CEO for the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, general manager/vice president for the NFL and president of NFL Europe.

“I am excited about these new responsibilities and the chance to apply all of my previous experience,” Luck said. “I look forward to partnering with Joni, Dan and the rest of the championships staff to continue our commitment to student-athletes on and off the field.”

Bob Bowlsby, chair of the Division I Football Oversight Committee and commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, said he also supports the organizational changes.

“Joni Comstock, Dan Gavitt and Oliver Luck are outstanding members of the NCAA staff, and I am pleased that they will each be assuming new and expanded duties,” Bowlsby said. “I believe the restructuring of the championships oversight functions will serve the membership very well.”

With the reorganization, Gavitt will join Emmert’s senior staff team. Comstock, elevated to senior staff when she stepped in as interim executive vice president of championships and alliances, will remain a member of the senior staff team and the Association’s senior woman administrator.