The next president of the NCAA will be Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts

Baker was extremely popular among Democrats and independents in his home state, and Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons suggested Baker not run again because he was “shocked” by Trump’s endorsement of Geoff Diehl as the Republican nominee. Baker declined to do so, and Democrat Maura Healey defeated Diehl in November.

“I can say unequivocally that this was not in the back of my mind a year ago when I decided not to seek re-election,” Baker said Thursday.

Baker’s appointment marks the latest twist in the NCAA’s evolution

The NCAA’s first executive director, Walter Byers, ruled the organization for 38 years. He came to the job from a junior position: Big Ten assistant sports information director.

He was succeeded by professional college sports administrators, mostly athletic directors, until 2002. Then there was Miles Brandt, the former president of Indiana University — where he gained notoriety for firing the tumultuous but legendary basketball coach Bob Knight. It was a time of rising tensions between academics and the growing commercialism of college sports.

The position under the brand now acts like a czar, sometimes driving political policy decisions — like pulling championship events from campuses with symbols offensive to Native Americans — and manipulating the ambitions of major conferences. They have taken more power away from the NCAA

After Brand died of pancreatic cancer in 2009, replaced him by another university president. But while Emmert honed his political skills in the world of academia, he also immersed himself in college sports as president at Louisiana State, where he met incoming football coach Nick Saban and president of the University of Washington.

In the wake of the sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the NCAA was forced to withdraw harsh penalties against Penn State, including a $60 million fine.

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