For the good of all college athletes, it’s time for the NCAA to move on from Charlie Baker, find a new President, and reform their association to meet today’s challenges head-on.
Under Baker, the NCAA is out of touch and clinging to its last string of relevance in a rapidly changing national collegiate sports landscape. The time is now to find new leadership who will revamp the NCAA and usher in a new era of college athletics.
The NCAA has made several mind-numbing decisions recently that have made me lose all faith in their leadership team.
First, with the addition of name, image and likeness (NIL) and the growing multibillion-dollar business of college sports, the value of college athletics has exploded. Under Baker, the NCAA has fought implementing NIL tooth and nail until states like Florida stepped up and made it law so athletes could financially benefit from their God-given talents. It should not take legislative action to force the NCAA’s hand, and they are still fighting it to this day.
Secondly, as an FSU alumnus and college football fan, I’ve been appalled by the NCAA’s handling of Darrell Jackson’s transfer waiver situation. Under Charlie Baker, the NCAA has made inconsistency the standard, making unpredictable decisions between who gets to play and who doesn’t.
The window of eligibility these athletes have to compete is fleeting, and they should be on the field fighting for yards, not fighting the NCAA. It’s unfair, it’s unjust, and according to antitrust laws, it may be criminal. Heck, if he wants to sue the NCAA for lost NIL revenue and pro draft stock, lawyers will be lining up to take his case, and more power to him!
Lastly, I unequivocally stand with Swimmer Riley Gaines in her battle to protect women’s sports, and the NCAA should have too. Men should compete against men, and women should compete against women. That seems like common sense and a simple decision, but the NCAA has bungled it at every step. Once again, the Florida Legislature had to step up for women, passing vital legislation in 2021 to protect women’s sports in our state.
From what I can see, Charlie Baker gave it a shot, but he does not have the innovative ideas needed to lead in this new era. He couldn’t take time away from his reported multimillion-dollar job to answer my multiple phone calls and discuss these critical issues. Charlie won’t pick up the phone, so the state of Florida must step up again to protect our student-athletes.
The NCAA needs to thank Charlie for his service, find new leadership, and usher in a new era of college sports by completely revamping their organization. I will continue to work with my legal team and outside attorneys to brainstorm ways to bring fairness and accountability back to the NCAA.
Jimmy Patronis is Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and Fire Marshal.