February 9, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is the next president of the NCAA

Charlie Baker

Charlie BakerImage: Getty Images

What a strange rent. The Dumpster Fire Organization known as the NCAA had to make the right move in naming its next president. Mark Emmert’s tenure left the NCAA in such a mess that people wondered why the organization even existed. The governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, is on the job to solve all the pending problems. The Republican leader of one of America’s bluest states will step off the political spectrum (so to speak) and head to Indianapolis to become the tsar of collegiate athletics.

Baker, who has never worked in college or education, will begin his tenure as the NCAA’s sixth president in March, inheriting the organization that horribly mishandled the college basketball bribery scandal, while basketball receives most of the organization’s revenue makes . There are a plethora of other issues the NCAA will face in the years to come, including the adoption of names, images and likenesses, the inevitable formation of superconferences, as well as whether the NCAA should cease to exist at all.

To lead this endeavor from someone whose strengths have not been demonstrated in sports, business or education, and who does not appear to have strong ties to collegiate athletics at all, is the right man for it. Baker is a strange, unconventional employee – an outsider, to say the least. The NCAA bitched when it could have snapped. And in a few years it might have been the right move. There is reason to believe that this very serpentine was not the right direction, especially if the organization wanted to push through anti-Emmert employment. There’s an incredibly low bar for Baker to look better than his predecessor, but being a non-traditional candidate is a risky move.

Let’s state the obvious here. Speculating who the next NCAA president would be was not like hiring a football or basketball coach. The massive speculation about aspiring coaches who earned their chance with a great opportunity was never the way this would play out. That would never be Brian Kelly spurning Notre Dame for LSU. Naming a new culprit came with a search, as evidenced by this quote on Transferportal at its introductory press conference: “I think Transferportal is one element in a whole series of elements that need to be part of the conversation going on.”

Maybe he’s perfect for the role because I have no idea what that means. Baker has had at least 24 hours to prepare an answer to an obvious question he’s about to get, and that was a spectacular, politically-renowned nothingness burger. Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame bun and one all beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame bun. It’s a unique piece of mysterious flesh, just as intended. Not exactly the haze alleviation you’d hope for in a post-Emmert NCAA.

I believed that hiring into collegiate athletics would go myself, someone with a ton of business experience and expertise in managing a myriad of projects simultaneously. Having someone who understands the scope of the job and doesn’t mind admitting that they play collegiate athletics isn’t a one-person job. I would like a Brett Yormark type employee who would have been great if he hadn’t been hired as a Big 12 commissioner. The experience of working at Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment as well as Roc Nation would have helped him a lot. Damned to serve the greater good, it’s not an unthinkable option for the Big 12 to find a new leader. Someone with phenomenal business experience would have been too direct. Baker will have to spend some time in Washington during his tenure because of Congress’ involvement in the organization in recent years. But the strength of having friends in the nation’s capital shouldn’t have been enough to overpower him for this hire.

The amazing thing about Governor Baker’s attitude is that I’m not sure of his vision to change things for the better. He deserves time to prove it, but this could end up being more from the NCAA. With the ability to select a candidate from such a wide range of backgrounds, it is a questionable decision by the college athletics governing body, which loves the term student athlete, to choose a pure political science with no track record in sports or education. Baker is not responsible for this mess. His mop alone will not cover this spill.