The New Face of the NCAA


Jamieson Hodlin and Jimmy Tolton

As Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker prepares to leave office this week, he thanked the public for “eight cherished years.” Prior to his departure, he made news among Boston hockey fans when he named December 17th “Patrice Bergeron Day” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, commemorating one of Boston’s greatest Bruins. 

College sports fans will surely be hearing from Baker in the future: On Thursday, December 15th, Charlie Baker was named the next president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This position will become effective in March of 2023. Baker was chosen because of his experience as governor dealing with complex challenges. 

Although Baker has been on the political scene for years, he has also been heavily involved in sports and was chosen for his knowledge of college athletics.

After growing up in Needham, MA, Baker attended Harvard University in Cambridge, where he graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree. While attending Harvard, Baker played power forward on the basketball team. Baker then married Lauren Baker, a Northwestern University gymnast. Together, they raised three children, two of whom played college football.

Baker is hoping to take advantage of his political background in his new job. In an interview with ESPN writer Adam Rittenberg, Baker said, “I think it’s worth doing. It’s big and complicated, but so have been a lot of the things I’ve done in my life. Most of the time they were absolutely worth doing.”

In 2023, Charlie Baker will become the successor of the current NCAA president, Mark Emmert, who has been the NCAA president since November 2010. In April 2021, Emmert had his contract extended through 2025; however, he is stepping down after 12 years of service and will remain in an advisory role through June.

Baker believes the timing is right to join the NCAA, as it is such a pivotal time for the organization. The NCAA is currently in the process of moving major schools like UCLA and USC into different conferences throughout the country.