Office of the President

The NCAA has taken a whirlwind of action over the past 18 months. One of the most significant steps during this time was the Association-wide vote at our 2019 Convention to add five independent members to the NCAA Board of Governors.

This decision was made with serious forethought and consideration. What began as a recommendation from an outside commission led to us gathering expert opinions from higher education, and, ultimately, the support and ingenuity of our members.

But we now see that hard work pays off. I am thrilled to welcome our five new independent members to join the esteemed representatives from all three divisions who currently make up the Board of Governors. These five new members will establish a precedent for our future governance and direction. Though we have been immensely successful throughout our Association’s tenure, it’s evident that college athletics is constantly evolving. This is an opportune time to bring in diverse voices to ensure we are being as flexible and attentive as possible to the needs of our membership and student-athletes.

Our committees have term limits for members to encourage a regular rotation of fresh voices that help us consider challenges in a new light. Our independent members will provide those new perspectives at an exaggerated level.

I hope we all can gain something from these members in our discussions, whether it is government expertise from Denis McDonough, corporate operating input from Kenneth Chenault, academic insight from Mary Sue Coleman, professional sports experience from Grant Hill or a national health perspective from Vivek Murthy.

Our new board members also are committing a significant amount of time and energy to help us achieve our mission. To aid their onboarding process, national office staff and leaders in the membership have worked diligently to make the transition as smooth as possible. We all know the NCAA is not the easiest organization to understand from the outside, and I’m pleased by the efforts we’ve taken to help orient these new board members to the Association and their role in it. Each new board member also is assigned to subcommittees of the Board of Governors to deepen their involvement and capitalize on their expertise.

Even now, some members remain skeptical about this new phase of NCAA governance, and I recognize those concerns. Though this is new territory, it is also evident that our current and new board members are all united by the shared goal of providing opportunities to students through sports while maintaining the highest levels of academics, fairness and well-being. I am excited about the vast possibilities in front of us and hope we go into this new realm with an appreciation for what we can achieve with open minds and fresh perspectives.

Mark Emmert
NCAA President