HOUSTON — New NCAA president Charlie Baker is commuting between the women’s and men’s Final Fours this weekend. After being in Dallas Friday night, he popped in for a brief, impromptu conversation with the media here Saturday afternoon.
Baker riffed on a few of the hot-button topics in college sports: basketball tournament expansion; the women’s tourney as an independent revenue source; Name, Image and Likeness legislation; transfer rates; and more.
On potential tournament expansion beyond the current 68 teams: “That committee has been remarkably successful managing this tournament for a number of years. They’re going to start talking about this after this tournament is over, and my guess is this summer, late fall we’ll have some recommendations. But I’m gonna let them do their job. They’ve done a really good job with this tournament, and I’ve been on the job for 30 days.”
On putting the women’s tournament out for bid as a separate entity, coming off a high-interest Final Four: “The investments made have had a tremendous return. The timing on the bid associated with this is perfect. This thing going out this year, on the heels of the most successful tournament ever had…let’s see what the market thinks it’s worth. I think it will be worth a lot.”
On working with Congress for national NIL legislation: “The big challenge we have with NIL, states are passing laws that basically say whatever the rules of the NCAA are, don’t comply with them. That’s hard for conferences on their own, but it’s really hard on an interconference basis. They’d like all the rules to be the same. That’s why we’ve been talking to Republicans and Democrats. I think, based on those conversations, the feds are pretty serious about doing something, and I’m encouraged by that. If you want to have a national standard for how NIL works, it’s going to be very hard to do that without federal legislation.”
On transfer rules: “The transfer rule, onetime free and the next time make a case for it, is the best way to handle this.”