Mark Emmert

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Mark Emmert
Mark Emmert at University Link groundbreaking.jpg
5th Executive Director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
Assumed office
November 1, 2010
Preceded by Myles Brand
30th President of University of Washington
In office
June 2004 – October 1, 2010
Preceded by Lee L. Huntsman
Succeeded by Michael K. Young
Chancellor of Louisiana State University
In office
Personal details
Born Mark Allen Emmert[1]
(1952-12-16) December 16, 1952 (age 62)
Fife, Washington
Spouse(s) DeLaine Emmert
Alma mater University of Washington (BA)
Syracuse University (MPA, PhD)
Profession Academic Administrator

Mark Allen Emmert (born December 16, 1952) is the current president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He is the fifth CEO of the NCAA; he was named as the incoming president on April 27, 2010 and assumed his duties on November 1, 2010.

Emmert was previously the 30th president of the University of Washington, his alma mater, taking office in June 2004, becoming the first alumnus in 48 years to lead the UW. He left Washington on October 1, 2010, having announced his departure for the NCAA Executive Directorship on April 27, 2010.

Before Emmert became president of the University of Washington, he was chancellor at Louisiana State University and held faculty and administration positions at the University of Connecticut, Montana State University, and University of Colorado.

Montana State University[edit]

The NCAA ruled that Montana State was guilty of a "lack of institutional control" in 1993 — the same time Emmert belonged to the university's senior management team along with Jim Isch, now Emmert's chief operating officer at the NCAA. The case related to academic fraud involving an assistant men's basketball coach and a recruit. The NCAA didn't rule on the case until after Emmert left for UConn in 1995. Emmert, who was Montana State's provost and vice president for academic affairs, told USA TODAY Sports he wasn't aware of the case and he did not oversee athletics at Montana State.[2]

University of Connecticut[edit]

During his tenure as Chancellor at the University of Connecticut, Emmert oversaw a $1 billion construction project that became ravaged in scandal. Issues, which included more than $100 million lost due to mismanagement and more than 100 fire and safety code violations, did not come to light until after Emmert left for LSU. Memos handwritten on Emmert's stationary in 1998 indicate he was aware of big issues with the construction project. The project became the focus of a state investigation in 2005 and then Governor Rell called it "astonishing failure of oversight and management." Two of Emmert's subordinates were placed on leave and subsequently resigned.[2]

Louisiana State University[edit]

Emmert left UConn in 1999 to become chancellor of LSU. In 1999, Emmert hired Nick Saban as football coach. LSU went on to win the BCS Championship in 2004 under Saban's tutelage. In 2001-02, a university instructor made accusations of widespread academic fraud in the school's football program, including plagiarized papers and un-enrolled students showing up in class to take notes for football players who often slept through class. At the time, LSU was already on NCAA probation due to violations in the men's basketball program for violations that predated Emmert's employment. Emmert led the investigation into the academic fraud allegations and found only minor violations. The report stated "Despite isolated incidents, the allegations were largely unfounded." The NCAA accepted LSU's finding and self-imposed minor penalties (loss of two football scholarships) and declined to put the school on probation. Subsequently, two females sued the university for forcing them from their jobs as a result of whistle blowing about the academic fraud. The lawsuits were settled for $110,000 for each person. During the case, an employee of the academic counseling center confirmed the women's claims under oath, including changed grades for football players.

In 2002, Emmert became the highest paid head of a public campus.[citation needed] A portion of that salary was paid by the Tiger Athletic Foundation.[2]

Tenure at the University of Washington[edit]

In 2006, the UW established the Husky Promise, a guarantee that tuition and fees will be covered for lower-income students from Washington state who are accepted to the UW. The UW also has increased access for Washington students by expanding UW Bothell and UW Tacoma to four-year programs in the fall of 2006. The UW is now looking to add a fourth campus north of Seattle to better serve the residents of North Puget Sound. The UW Seattle campus is expanding with the purchase of the Safeco property in the University District, adding about 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of building space.

Under Emmert's tenure, the UW received more than $1 billion in grant and contract research funding for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007. This marked the first time the UW received more than $1 billion in funding for sponsored research in a single year. The UW has been the top public university in federal research funding since 1974 and among the top five universities, public and private, in federal funding since 1969. In recent years, it has been second only to The Johns Hopkins University.

In 2006, under Emmert's presidency, the university created the Department of Global Health and in the spring of 2007, they launched the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Emmert is also amongst the first 20 to sign the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and is an active member of its Steering Committee.[3]

In August 2007, Emmert announced that the UW would open an office in Beijing to lay the groundwork for expanding the university's presence in China.[4] Emmert made the announcement during a campus visit by Zhou Wenzhong, ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United States.

In January 2007, the fundraising goal for Campaign UW: Creating Futures was increased to $2.5 billion after the campaign reached its initial $2 billion goal 17 months ahead of schedule.[5] When the campaign ended on June 30, 2008, the total raised was more than $2.6 billion. The UW has received a number of transformational gifts during Emmert's presidency, including a gift in fall of 2007 from the Foster Family Foundation leading to the business school at the Seattle campus being named the Michael G. Foster School of Business.

While at the University of Washington, Emmert was courted by the University of Wisconsin, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Cornell University, the University of California System, and the Louisiana State University System. In February 2008, Emmert turned down an offer from Vanderbilt University that might have made him the most highly paid college leader in the nation.[6] Nevertheless, he was the second most highly compensated public university president in the nation, at $888,000 for 2007-2008.[7] In addition, he received $200,000 compensation for serving on the board of Expeditors International and $140,000 for serving on the board of Weyerhaeuser, giving him a total annual compensation of over $1.2 million.[8] In 2009, Emmert's base salary at the University of Washington was $620,000 per year, but his total compensation package was $906,500 annually, which made him the second highest earning public university president in the United States behind Ohio State's Gordon Gee.[9]

Mark Emmert portrait painting by Michele Rushworth

NCAA Presidency[edit]

On April 27, 2010, Emmert was named President of the NCAA in Indianapolis, Indiana. He assumed his duties on November 1, 2010.

Penn State case[edit]

His most controversial decision as President has been the fines and penalties imposed upon the Penn State football program in July 2012 as a result of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, which included the loss of scholarships, the suspension of post-season competition, the vacancy of past wins, and a $60 million fine to be used to fund a charity combating child abuse. The NCAA Division I Board of Directors and NCAA Executive Committee directed Emmert to examine the circumstances and determine appropriate action in consultation with these presidential bodies. Ed Ray, Executive Committee chair and Oregon State president, said that while there has been much speculation on whether the NCAA [10] had the authority to impose any type of penalty related to Penn State, the Executive Committee concluded the egregious behavior not only goes against NCAA rules and constitution but also against the NCAA's values.

The basis of the Consent Decree, the Freeh Report, has been shown to draw inferences that are overreaching and are not supported empirically.[11][12] Mr. Freeh is being sued for defamation.[13] Mr. Emmert's rush to judgment action drew strong negative reactions from the media, who generally believed he overstepped his boundary and he did not provide Penn State the due process they believed was required.[14]

On January 16, 2015, Senator Corman from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania handed Mark Emmert a major legal loss by forcing the NCAA to back off completely on the unlawfully-crafted Consent Decree with Penn State.[15] Major news media outlets lambasted Emmert for his rush to judgment and started asking whether the culture at the NCAA is broken under Emmert's leadership.[16] His presidency has been called "feckless, arrogant, self-aggrandizing, inept" and operating under "tortured logic." [17] Mark Emmert is still a defendant in pending legal action by the estate of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno et al.


On March 18, 2014, Emmert was a guest on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike. During his appearance, an #AskEmmert hashtag was used to propose questions for Emmert. While well-intended, the hashtag was quickly used by the public to air grievances about NCAA actions and express general disapproval with Emmert's presidency.[18]



Mark and DeLaine Emmert have been married for more than 30 years and have two children, Stephen and Jennifer.


  1. ^ Griffin, Tom (June 2004). "The homecoming". The University of Washington Alumni Magazine. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Brent Schrotenboer (2013-04-03). "Digging into the past of NCAA President Mark Emmert". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  3. ^ "Home | Presidents' Climate Commitment". 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  4. ^ Valdes, Manuel (2007-08-23). "UW office to open new doors in China". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  5. ^ Christine Fre (2007-01-26). "UW reaches its $2 billion goal, then strives for more". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  6. ^ Perry, Nick; Miletich, Steve (February 28, 2008), "UW's president turns down offer from Vanderbilt", The Seattle Times 
  7. ^ Wiedeman, Reeves (November 21, 2008), "For a Raise, Try Looking in the Evergreen State", Chronicle of Higher Education 
  8. ^ Perry, Nick (November 17, 2008), "UW, WSU presidents among highest paid in country", The Seattle Times (The Seattle Times) [dead link]
  9. ^ "UW president gets new perks, but no raise". The Seattle Times. September 4, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2009. 
  10. ^ "NCAA levies sanctions". NCAA. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  11. ^ "King & Spalding : Critique of the Freeh Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier sues Louis Freeh - ESPN". 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  14. ^ Dennis Dodd. "No bluffing - NCAA has lost all of its credibility with Penn State, USC, etc.". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  15. ^ Berger, Zach (2015-01-16). "Paterno's Wins Restored and Consent Decree Replaced in Corman Settlement". Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  16. ^ "Armour: NCAA failed victims in rush to judge Penn State". 2015-01-16. Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  17. ^ "Column: Maybe Joe will get his statue back, too - Yahoo Sports". 2015-03-06. Retrieved 2015-03-29. 
  18. ^ "The #AskEmmert Q&A Is Going Poorly". 2014-04-18. Retrieved 2015-03-29. 

External links[edit]

  • 2007 President's Annual Address to the UW Community
  • April 2006 Rotary Club speech during which he called for "achieving excellence in everything we do"
  • "The Homecoming," Columns alumni magazine article about Mark Emmert becoming UW president (see article)