The governing body of college sports has a new leader, ending what was a seven-month tenure of Interim President James Isch, who took over for former NCAA President Myles Brand. Brand died of pancreatic cancer in September 2009.
Who's the new guy? The NCAA picked University of Washington President Mark Emmert. Emmert, 57, will assume the post "no later than November 1." The Daily of the University of Washington reports that Emmert's decision surprised the Washington community, where he started as president in 2004.
"[I had] no reservations whatsoever about taking the job, [but] great reservations about leaving the university I love," Emmert said during an NCAA press conference on Tuesday. "It's the difficult challenge of leaving one great job for another great job."
Meanwhile, the university realized the magnitude of the opportunity for its soon-to-be former president and couldn't blame him for taking the NCAA reins.
"We recognize that the NCAA presidency is a unique opportunity," Board of Regents Chair Herb Simon says in a press release. "It is the only organization of its kind, national in scope, and, we feel, the only type of opportunity that could possibly lure Mark away from his alma mater. The nation's gain is our loss."
Emmert has some big shoes to fill. Brand, who took over the NCAA in 2002, worked hard to generate better graduation rates and other academic successes in collegiate athletics, which is still an ongoing hot topic in college sports. He also started sounding the bell on the increasingly unsustainable costs of college sports, particularly football and basketball. Brand is perhaps most famous for his dismissal of legendary basketball coach Bob Knight while Brand was president at Indiana University.
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