|5th Executive Director of the National Collegiate Athletic Association|
November 1, 2010
|Preceded by||Myles Brand|
|30th President of University of Washington|
June 2004 – October 1, 2010
|Preceded by||Lee L. Huntsman|
|Succeeded by||Michael K. Young|
|Chancellor of Louisiana State University|
|Born||Mark Allen Emmert
December 16, 1952
|Alma mater||University of Washington (BA)
Syracuse University (MPA, PhD)
Mark Allen Emmert (born December 16, 1952) is the current president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. 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
Emmert served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Montana State University from 1991 to 1995. In this role, he, along with the vice president for research, Robert Swenson, led a successful effort to increase research funding at the university, particularly from the National Science Foundation. He also worked with Congressional leaders to gain support for new agricultural research facilities on campus and distance learning programs.
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, a former NCAA official. 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 had no involvement with the athletic programs in his role as Provost and was unaware of the investigation.
University of Connecticut
Emmert joined the University of Connecticut in 1995 as Provost and was later promoted to the position of Chancellor for Academic Affairs, where he oversaw academic matters at the main campus in Storrs, as well as the regional campuses within the university system. He led a strategic planning effort that produced a facilities master plan for the Storrs campus, transforming the facilities on the campus with new buildings for students, faculty and research. Enrollment and research funding both increased during this time. During his tenure the university launched its first major fundraising campaign.
Emmert oversaw the first two years of a ten-year-long, $1 billion construction project, UConn 2000, that added many new academic buildings, residence halls and landscape projects to the Storrs campus, and new buildings and facilities to the regional campuses. UConn 2000 is widely credited with transforming the university. Some of the projects became controversial because of charges of mismanagement in the facilities and contracting services. These 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 during Emmert's tenure. Something handwritten on Emmert's stationery in 1998 suggested he was aware of issues with the construction project. The project became the focus of a state investigation in 2005. Governor Rell called it "astonishing failure of oversight and management." Two administrators who oversaw the projects during this time were placed on leave and subsequently resigned six years after Emmert had left the university.
Louisiana State University
Emmert was named Chancellor of LSU in 1999. He led the creation of the "Flagship Agenda," an effort credited with moving the university significantly forward in its standing as an academic institution. During his tenure the academic preparation of entering freshmen increased substantially. Enrollment from across the country increased as well. LSU's research profile improved as a result of new research initiatives, particularly in computer science. A number of academic construction projects commenced, including buildings and renovations for music and dramatic arts, marine biology and coastal studies, biology, residence halls, and the student union. Improvements were made to athletic facilities, including the renovation and expansion of Tiger Stadium, a new academic center, and a new state-of-the-art enclosure for the campus mascot, Mike the Tiger, that has become a major attraction for visitors to campus. State support for the university reached a then-historic high during Emmert's tenure.
In 1999, Emmert hired Nick Saban as football coach. LSU won the BCS Championship in 2004 under Saban's tutelage.
The graduation rate of the LSU football team, among the lowest in the SEC when Emmert arrived, was among the highest by 2004.
In 2001-02, a university instructor made accusations of 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. 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. A university-led investigation into the academic fraud allegations 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 women sued the university for forcing them from their jobs as a result of whistleblowing 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. A portion of Emmert's salary was paid by the LSU Foundation and the Tiger Athletic Foundation.
University of Washington
Emmert was President of the University of Washington, his alma mater, from 2004 to 2010. During his tenure the university achieved its highest levels of research funding, private giving, and state support. Undergraduate student qualifications and graduation rates also hit record highs. The UW attracted more students globally and nationally. Emmert led the creation of the Husky Promise, a guarantee that tuition and fees would be covered for lower-income students from Washington state who were accepted to the UW. The UW also increased access for Washington students by expanding UW Bothell and UW Tacoma to academic offerings and facilities during Emmert's tenure. The UW Seattle campus was expanded with the purchase of the Safeco tower and property in the University District, adding about 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2) of building space. With Emmert as President, new facilities were created for the Foster School of Business, molecular engineering, bioengineering, and residential halls. Improvements were made to athletic facilities, culminating in the full renovation of Husky Stadium.
Emmert initiated an annual summit with the Native American tribal council leaders from throughout the State of Washington and the region to address educational and health concerns. He led the process that culminated in the construction of a Native American House of Knowledge on campus. The UW has been attentive to environmental and sustainability issues, and received numerous recognitions for its success during Emmert's tenure. Emmert was amongst the first 20 to sign the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment and is an active member of its Steering Committee.
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. In his last year at the UW, research funding exceeding $1.5 billion. 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, launched the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. 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. 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. When the campaign ended on June 30, 2008, the total raised was more than $2.6 billion. The UW 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, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Cornell University, the University of California System, and the Louisiana State University System. In February 2008, he turned down an offer from Vanderbilt University that might have made him the highest-paid college leader in the nation. Nevertheless, he was the second most highly compensated public university president in the nation, at $888,000 for 2007-2008. 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. In 2009, a year in which he turned down a pay increase offered by the Regents, Emmert's base salary at the University of Washington was $620,000 per year, but his total compensation package, including deferred compensation, was $906,500 annually, which made him the second highest earning public university president in the United States, behind Ohio State's Gordon Gee.
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The NCAA is a voluntary membership association with over 1,100 universities and colleges, over 19,000 teams, and over 460,000 students. Through the Association, rules and policies governing college sports are established by all the colleges and universities through a representative form of decision-making.
Emmert entered the NCAA presidency during a period of dramatic change and controversy in college athletics. Over a four-year period, the member colleges and universities significantly increased support for Division I college athletes, including providing them with direct participation in, and voting positions on, the Board of Directors, the new DI Council, and within the Autonomy Group of conferences. Students can now be offered four-year scholarships rather than a single year scholarship as previously required. All restrictions on meals and food provided by schools have been lifted. Student athletes are now eligible to receive scholarship funds for the "full cost of attendance," which in most cases provides several thousand dollars per year in addition to tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies. Greater emphasis is now placed on health and safety issues, including playing and practice rules.
As President, Emmert created the position of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the NCAA and the Sports Science Institute, hiring Dr. Brian Hainline to become the first CMO and director. Dr. Hainline has worked with member schools to establish new protocols and research efforts to improve student health and wellness. In 2014 the NCAA entered a partnership with the Department of Defense for the largest longitudinal study of concussion in history, funded by a $15 million contribution from the NCAA and $15 million from DoD.
In 2014 the NCAA Division I member universities, with Emmert's support, voted to change the system used to set their rules and policies so as to include greater input from athletic directors, faculty members, and senior women's athletics, in addition to the university and college presidents who are ultimately responsible for all policy and governance decisions. In 2012 the colleges and universities approved substantial changes to the compliance and oversight policies of the Association. Among other improvements, under Emmert's term, the Committee on Infractions, the body that determines penalties and sanctions for rules violations, was expanded to include former university presidents and legal scholars, among others.
Penn State case
During Emmert's tenure, Pennsylvania State University was rocked by the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. Sandusky, a former football coach at Penn State, was accused and later convicted of sexual molestation of children, including those he had taken to the Penn State athletic facilities. He was also accused of using his access to the Penn State football program as a way of luring victims. The University Board removed the President, Executive Vice President, Athletic Director, and head football coach because of their handling of the Sandusky matter. The media outcry over the scandal was enormous. In response to the uniqueness of the Penn State case and the nature of the allegations, the NCAA Executive Committee and Emmert agreed with the University that Penn State should be allowed to conduct its own inquiry into the scandal.
In July 2012, former FBI Director Louis Freeh reported to the Penn State board that many serious missteps within the university administration and football program had occurred. Based upon the Freeh report, as well as material made public through the criminal processes, the NCAA Executive Committee, a group of 20 university and college presidents and senior leaders, along with the Division I Board of Directors, also a group of university presidents, agreed to a series of sanctions. They empowered Emmert to enter into an agreement with the Penn State leadership to jointly accept a Consent Decree.
Ed Ray, Executive Committee chair at that time and Oregon State president, said that while there has been much speculation on whether the NCAA  had the authority to impose any type of penalty related to Penn State, the Executive Committee concluded that the egregious behavior not only goes against the NCAA's rules and constitution, but also against its values.
While many in the media called for Penn State football to receive the so-called "Death Penalty," the Executive Committee and Emmert instead entered into the Consent Decree with Penn State leadership that included imposing a $60 million to be used to fund nonprofit organizations that combat child sexual abuse, a multi-year reduction in football scholarships, a multi-year post-season ban on football, a vacation of wins from the formal record book for the period during which Sandusky was believed to have been engaging in sexual abuse of children, and the imposition of an Athletic Integrity Agreement which was monitored by former Senator George Mitchell. The Big Ten conference, which includes Penn State as a member, also imposed sanctions on the university as a result of the scandal. The outcome was highly controversial among those who sought harsher punishment and those who sought greater leniency. Supporters of greater leniency argued that the basis of the Consent Decree, the Freeh Report, was overreaching and not supported empirically. Freeh has vigorously defended the report and its conclusions. He is being sued for defamation by the former president of Penn State. Some critics accused Emmert and the NCAA Executive Committee of a "rush to judgment" that did not provide sufficient due process.
The Athletic Integrity Agreement, contained in the consent decree, called upon Penn State to make a large number of administrative and personnel changes over a multiple-year period. Senator Mitchell, in his role as monitor, found that the university was very aggressive in fulfilling the agreement, and recommended to Emmert and the NCAA Executive Committee that some of the sanctions be reduced in recognition of Penn State's positive actions. The Executive Committee agreed and on two occasions reduced the sanctions as a result of the university's seriousness in addressing these matters.
Several legal actions have occurred since the Penn State scandal was uncovered, some involving Penn State, Emmert, and the NCAA and its members; others have been focused on the university itself as it made restitution with the victims of the scandal. A legal suit was brought against Penn State and the NCAA by Senator Corman from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regarding where the funds from the fine should be spent. The case was ultimately settled by an agreement that the funds could be spent on child sex abuse prevention within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and that the wins that had been vacated from the record book be restored. Major news media outlets lambasted Emmert for his rush to judgment and started asking whether the culture at the NCAA was broken under Emmert's leadership. His presidency has been called "feckless, arrogant, self-aggrandizing, inept" and operating under "tortured logic."  Penn State, the NCAA, former Chairman of the Executive Committee Ed Ray, and Mark Emmert are still defendants in pending legal action by the estate of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno et al seeking damages.
President Emmert, as well as a number of high-profile leaders of intercollegiate athletics, including university presidents, conference commissioners, and athletic directors, were called upon to testify in the case of O'Bannon v. NCAA regarding the use of college student athletes' names, images, and likenesses. The case is under appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Other professional affiliations
Emmert is currently a Life Member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a fellow of the National Academy for Public Administration. He is a former Fulbright Administrative Fellow, and a former Fellow of the American Council on Education. He serves as a Director on the boards of Weyerhaeuser, Expeditors International, and Omnicare. In June 2016, he sold approximately 49% of his holdings in Weyerhaeuser worth of approximately $0.3 million.
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.
- Fife High School
- Green River Community College
- BA, 1975, University of Washington
- MPA, 1976; and PhD, 1983, Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Mark and DeLaine Emmert have been married for more than 30 years and have two children, Stephen and Jennifer.
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