UGA’s Jere Morehead appointed to NCAA’s board of governors

UGA President Jere Morehead (R), here with Athletic Director Greg McGarity at the end of the Bulldogs' 2017 SEC championship win over Auburn, was appointed to the NCAA's highest boards on Thursday. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com
UGA President Jere Morehead (R), here with Athletic Director Greg McGarity at the end of the Bulldogs' 2017 SEC championship win over Auburn, was appointed to the NCAA's highest boards on Thursday. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

The ascension of Jere Morehead up the ranks of leadership in college athletics continued Thursday as the University of Georgia president was appointed to the NCAA’s Division I Board of Governors and its Board of Directors.

The Board of Governors is the highest governance body in the NCAA and is composed of institutional chief executive officers that oversee NCAA-wide issues. It’s a four-year appointment, and Morehead is one of 16 voting members.

“It’s a big deal,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said. “A very high honor. It’s a recognition for being an active participant in all issues in athletics.”

Morehead has served on the NCAA Presidential Forum and most recently was a member of the NCAA Working Group on Name, Image, and Likeness. He remains in his active role of vice president of the SEC.

Morehead was recommended to the post by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. Morehead replaces outgoing board member Eli Capilouto, the president of the University of Kentucky.

“I am honored to represent the Southeastern Conference on the NCAA Board of Governors and the Division I Council, particularly during these challenging times,” Morehead said in a statement released by UGA Thursday. “Our conference benefits from the tremendous leadership provided by Commissioner Sankey, and I look forward to working closely with him and my fellow SEC Presidents on the important issues that we must solve together.”

Morehead’s appointment comes during a challenging time in which the NCAA is trying to manage the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on college athletics while also addressing issues regarding compensation for athletes and a growing gap between Power 5 universities and other athletic programs.

This appointment gives Morehead – and UGA – a voice in those discussions.

“I’ll tell you what, President Morehead is engaged in athletics and his voice is heard,” said McGarity, who has worked alongside Morehead on athletic issues since he became UGA’s president in 2013. “He’s not afraid to speak up. And when he speaks now, people listen. They recognize how articulate and thoughtful he is. That’s indicative of his representation on these two critical, influential boards.”

The governors board is charged with ensuring that each division operates consistently with the basic purposes, fundamental policies and general principles of the NCAA. The board of directors is responsible for the management of Division I athletics. It focuses on college sports’ relationship to higher education and monitors legislation to ensure it does not conflict with policies and goals, among other responsibilities.

“His experience and understanding of issues across the national landscape of intercollegiate athletics will be beneficial in these important board positions,” Sankey said. “The SEC is fortunate to have a leader like Jere Morehead who can represent the conference on the important matters that lie ahead for us in college athletics.”