Mark Emmert is to step down as the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the main US university sports organizer and regulator, after 12 years in the role, the organization announced yesterday (April 26).

The NCAA said in a statement the decision had been made by way of “mutual agreement” and that Emmert will remain in the role until a replacement is found or until June 30 – whichever comes first.

It follows the adoption in January of a new constitution by NCAA member schools and comes amid ongoing work by the organization to transform its “structure and mission to meet future needs.”

Emmert became the fifth president of the NCAA in 2010, having spent five years as president of the University of Washington.

Prior to that, he served as chancellor of Louisiana State University from 1999 to 2004, as provost and chancellor of the University of Connecticut from 1995 to 1999, as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Montana State University-Bozeman from 1992 to 1995, and in various academic administrative positions at the University of Colorado from 1985 to 1992.

Emmert was initially awarded a five-year contract with the NCAA that has been renewed at various points since then.

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Only last year, his contract, which at that point was due to run to 2023, was extended to 2025.

However, the NCAA’s decision to do so received widespread criticism, with Emmert having come under fire on a number of issues in recent years.

John J. DeGioia, chair of the NCAA board of governors, said: “With the significant transitions underway within college sports, the timing of this decision provides the Association with consistent leadership during the coming months plus the opportunity to consider what will be the future role of the president. It also allows for the selection and recruitment of the next president without disruption.”

Emmert added: “Throughout my tenure, I've emphasized the need to focus on the experience and priorities of student-athletes. I am extremely proud of the work of the Association over the last 12 years and especially pleased with the hard work and dedication of the national office staff here in Indianapolis.”