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'Who the hell would want this job?' Not NCAA President Mark Emmert, apparently
Welcome to a new NPR series where we spotlight the people and things making headlines — and the stories behind them.
Sometimes in order to appease your haters, the best option is to bow out.
Who is he? Mark Emmert (aka a man peacing out)
The current president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which regulates student athletics across about 1,100 schools in North America, is stepping down from his position amid a turbulent time for the organization.
Despite having his contract renewed by the NCAA board of governors through 2025, Emmert is stepping down this month, citing a new era of restructuring, operation, and a "good time to make a change at the leadership level, too."
Listen to Emmert's interview with NPR this week by tapping the play button at the top.
What's the big deal? Well, all those issues will define the future of college athletics and beyond, and they aren't going away anytime soon. But they will be picked up by his replacement: former Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
What are people saying? Emmert is standing by his legacy, telling NPR:
"Well, I certainly have been the loudest and clearest voice on health and safety, and have done more around health and safety than most anyone has done in college sports. So I'm incredibly proud of what we did, in that arena when it comes to athletic compensation. What we've seen over my 12 years is a constant improvement in the conditions and support of athletes, and I'm equally proud of that."
"I spent a great deal of my time on campuses where I would meet with student athletes routinely ... and I was a champion for bringing athletes onto the various committees and governance boards and giving them not just a voice, but votes in each of those forums."
"Who the hell would want this job? Who wants to try to ride the college athletics tiger at a time like this? Emmert wasn't good at his job, but is anyone capable of wrapping his or her arms around this untamed period of player compensation, player movement, conference realignment and even more unchecked spending that could massively threaten Olympic sports?"
Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.