According to various reports, the replacement for Myles Brand has been found.
Earlier today, University of Washington president Mark Emmert was named the fifth president of the NCAA by the Executive Committee, replacing Brand, who tragically passed away in September as a result of a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer. (note: Jim Isch had been serving in the role as interim president since his passing.)
Emmert, a 57 year-old native of Washington, has an academic background much like Brand, who served as the president at Indiana University before taking the job with the NCAA in 2002.
Before being named the president at Washington six years ago, he also served as the chancellor at both LSU and Connecticut.
"We are gratified to hire an individual of Mark Emmert's stature and experience to head the NCAA," said Executive Committee chair and Oregon State University President Ed Ray in a statement released to the public. "President Emmert emerged from a field of exceptional candidates who presented a broad range of skills, knowledge and experiences.
Moving forward, the naming of Emmert as president makes a lot of sense for the NCAA, considering his innovative personality. During his tenure in Seattle, he was well perceived by most of his associations and received a ton of credit for laying the groundwork for expanding the university's presence in China. In 2007, Emmert was instrumental in the school's opening of an office in Beijing, as a better way to establish a relationship between the university and the Chinese government.
That type of thinking and willingness to explore new avenues will be called upon in the coming years, as conference expansion and the concept of a college football playoff both remain hot-button issues in the world of collegiate athletics.
In regards to the concept of a playoff, there is no question that Emmert has been on the forefront of this issue for years. Whether he is actively pushing for a postseason is an entirely separate concept, but it remains clear that he's not opposed to working toward one. In an article published by the Seattle Times back in 2008, Emmert was quoted saying, "I happen to be one that thinks ... it's inevitable we'll have a playoff."
But mostly importantly, Emmert will serve in this new capacity, because of his ability to raise money. Under Emmert's watch, Washington received more than $1 billion in grants and contract research funding during the fiscal year of 2006-2007 - a monumental event for the school, as it marked the first time it had ever received $1 billion in sponsored research in a single fiscal year. Since then, it has remained one of the top public university in receiving federal research funding, and in recent years, it has been only second to The Johns Hopkins University among all public and private institutions.
With a lagging economy forcing athletic departments to tighten budgets nowadays, non-revenue sports such as crew, cross-country, and water polo, are in jeopardy. Money isn't circulating like it once did. So with being the case, having an individual like Emmert, who knows how to raise money even if it is just in federal grants, in charge has to be a positive situation for the NCAA in the coming years.