Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will become president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), effective Mar. 1.
Baker will finish his second term as governor in January, a role the Republican has held since January 2015, but has returned to Democratic hands with the election of Maura Healey, who will be the state's first openly gay governor.
Baker has no previous collegiate administrative experience but has spent most of his career in Massachusetts state government and a decade in health care administration.
Dr. Linda Livingstone, chair of the NCAA's board of governors and president of Baylor University, said Baker stood out because of his track record of building bipartisan consensus during a time when the NCAA is aiming to get federal legislation giving the NCAA legal clearance to regulate college athlete compensation.
"Governor Baker has shown a remarkable ability to bridge divides and build bipartisan consensus, taking on complex challenges in innovative and effective ways,” Livingstone said in a statement. “As a former student-athlete himself, husband to a former college gymnast, and father to two former college football players, Governor Baker is deeply committed to our student-athletes and enhancing their collegiate experience. These skills and perspective will be invaluable as we work with policymakers to build a sustainable model for the future of college athletics."
Baker will replace Dr. Mark A. Emmert, who has led the NCAA since 2010.