Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will take over as the next president of the NCAA in March 2023, the organization announced Thursday morning. But Twitter users and officials had mixed reactions to the announcement.
The announcement clears any talk of Baker seeking another political office, which has surprised some people. Some people congratulated the governor, while others questioned his experience in the new position.
Congresswoman Lori Trahan, a former Division I volleyball player and sponsor of the College Athlete Economic Freedom Act, praised Baker in a statement for her role as governor and looks to support him in her upcoming role as NCAA president.
“Governor Baker has been an extremely effective leader in Massachusetts, having guided our Commonwealth through some of the most challenging times in recent history. From the Merrimack Valley gas explosions to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve had the honor of seeing firsthand Governor Baker’s approach to leadership and the importance of bringing people together, especially during the most challenging times. We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for his service which undoubtedly positioned Massachusetts to be successful for years to come,” Trahan said.
He went on to say that the NCAA “desperately” needs a leader who understands the needs of the nearly 500,000 college athletes it serves — and Baker is the one to do it.
“I applaud Governor Baker for taking on this new challenge and believe his experience as a college basketball player coupled with his extensive career spanning both the public and private sectors will serve him well in this position,” he said.
Some members of the audience also chimed in with congratulations.
“In all seriousness, I think Charlie Baker has been a fantastic governor and professional operator in every private and public role he has held. The NCAA will be better off with him as an administrator,” Twitter user Matt Bloom said.
“NCAA President Charlie Baker. I have to admit, he has an amazing sound,” Al Anzola tweeted.
The news may have come unexpected, but some users still took the time to shout out to the governor despite the sudden announcement.
“Didn’t have Charlie Baker as NCAA president on my bingo card but hey congrats Governor Baker,” Robbie Johnson tweeted.
“NCAA chief Charlie Baker, I’m not going to lie, but I like the move,” said another.
Others also did not take the news.
“Why was Charlie Baker named NCAA president with little to no experience,” Twitter user Dembe Zuma asked.
NCAA insiders may disagree with the question, as they believe Baker’s time in athletics is more than enough reason for qualification.
“As a former student-athlete, husband of a former college gymnast and father of two former college football players, Governor Baker is deeply committed to our student-athletes and improving their collegiate experience. These skills and perspectives will be invaluable as we work with policy makers to build a sustainable model for the future of college athletics,” said Linda Livingstonepresident of Baylor University and chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors.
“As Governor of Massachusetts and successful CEO of the private sector, Charlie Baker has demonstrated the kind of results-driven, bipartisan approach we will need to strengthen the well-being of student-athletes, realize the opportunities and overcome the challenges facing the NCAA must address,” added Grant Hill, an independent member of the NCAA Board of Governors and a member of the Presidential Search Committee.
Some even made fun of the new announcement.
“Although Charlie Baker’s surname indicates otherwise, there is nothing to indicate that he ever worked or owned a bakery. His surname is very misleading. How can we trust you to lead the NCAA if you can’t bake bread,” one Twitter user asked.
It seemed to others that the decision was something they would settle for.
“Charlie Baker as president of the NCAA is a bit of an odd choice, but I guess I like it [because] he’s easily my favorite Republican [right now] (actually pretty much the only one I have the most respect for),” one Twitter user tweeted.
“Charlie Baker is already facing more heat from college sports fans in responses than he ever has from Massachusetts Dems, voters and press I see,” another person tweeted about the announcement.
And some just can’t seem to get on board.
“I don’t know who Charlie Baker is, but I’m ready to hate him with all my heart,” wrote a Twitter user named Petey Buckets.