On Thursday morning, the NCAA announced that Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker would become its next President, effective March 1, 2023.
The NCAA is pleased to announce that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has accepted an offer to become the NCAA’s next president. Read the full press release and statements here: https://t.co/CyTBmL0aw3 pic.twitter.com/reEp5RpYDE— NCAA (@NCAA) December 15, 2022
Baker did not run for re-election to the governorship in 2022 and his term will end on January 5, 2023 when Governor-Elect Maura Healey is sworn into office. Baker won his second term in 2018 with a huge 67% of the vote, making him one of the most popular governors in the United States. There was much speculation on why Baker did not seek a third term despite his broad popularity in the state, with theories ranging from retirement to a desire to avoid a primary challenge from his right. Whatever the reason, Baker clearly is not finished with his professional career as he takes over leadership for the billion dollar organization.
It’s unclear what Baker’s impact will be on the NCAA as a governing body. We know that Baker is supportive of sports betting after he signed a bill legalizing it in Massachusetts just this past summer. Baker is also obviously well-versed in US politics, which will become important as NIL laws and regulations change. His experience in state politics will be an important strength to address the patchwork of varying NIL laws in different states across the country. Baker is a well-known centrist and generally is not disliked by either political party, making him a good candidate to navigate national politics with Congress potentially addressing NIL federally, too.
Baker himself was a college athlete at Harvard, is married to a former college athlete from Northwestern, and has three student-athlete children. So while selecting a governor from a state like Massachusetts that doesn’t celebrate college athletics like some others do, the personal connection and investment is there.
As for its impact on Boston College, there likely is nothing unique that will happen. Despite being from the Bay State, Baker is unlikely to treat Boston College (or other MA schools) with any sort of special treatment. There may be a higher chance of Boston hosting a Final Four or other NCAA events, though! Massachusetts has never hosted a Final Four despite having the capacity to do so. They have hosted regionals in Boston and in Worcester in the past.