SBJ/January 9 - 15, 2006/SBJ In Depth

The CEOs

In a member-driven organization such as the NCAA, the selection of a CEO is a reflection of the mind-set and the priorities of the members at that moment in time.

Walter Byers was regimented and rule-minded. Dick Schultz was a negotiator. Cedric Dempsey was a bridge between athletics and academics. Myles Brand is what waited at the other side of the bridge.

“Myles is the right person at the right time,” said Tom Jernstedt, the NCAA’s executive vice president, “as were Byers and Schultz and Dempsey.”

A brief rundown of their tenures:


Walter Byers

Executive director
Tenure: 1951-87
Background: Byers was a rising star at the Big 10 when, at age 29, the NCAA hired him to manage an organization that, at that point, did not have a national office or staff.
Legacy: Father of the modern NCAA. Created the law-and-order-driven organization that athletic administrators wanted.


Dick Schultz

Executive director
Tenure: 1987-93
Background: Athletic director at the University of Virginia who impressed NCAA insiders when he led the negotiation of a $55 million TV contract for the NCAA tournament. Schultz resigned in 1993, after the NCAA charged Virginia with violations that occurred during his tenure as AD. He later was named executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee, which he headed until 2000.
Legacy: TV background pays off in the form of the NCAA’s first $1 billion contract, signed in 1991. Whirlwind tour of 200-plus campuses helped demystify the NCAA in the eyes of its members.


Cedric Dempsey

Executive director
Tenure: 1994-2002
Background: Popular athletic director at the University of Arizona who had a doctorate degree and a teaching background.
Legacy: Led the relocation of the NCAA to Indianapolis and served as a bridge to an era of greater involvement by university presidents.


Myles Brand

Tenure: 2003-present
Background: Former philosophy professor who, as president at Indiana University, took on and fired Bob Knight.
Legacy: First to move from the president’s chair at a university to the CEO spot at the NCAA. The rest is still being written, but it is certain to include academic reform.

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