NCAA/Former IU President Brand Remembered

Though he’ll likely be most remembered in Indiana for being the person who fired Bob Knight, Myles Brand’s legacy in regard to collegiate academia and athletics marked his greatest impact. Brand’s connection to young people and their future careers was demonstrated through his Indiana Chamber board of directors position while at both Indiana University and the NCAA.

I was a student at Indiana University during the Knight firing. Even though his decision was extremely unpopular at the time (illustrated by the alarming vitriol of some on campus), I’ve since held great respect for Brand for doing what I too felt to be the right thing. Brand died Wednesday from pancreatic cancer at the age of 67, and is remembered by the NCAA News.

NCAA President Myles Brand, the first university president to serve as the Association’s chief executive, died Wednesday from pancreatic cancer. He was 67.

"Myles Brand was a dear friend and a great academic leader. He was a tireless advocate for the student-athlete," said Michael Adams, president of the University of Georgia and chair of the NCAA Executive Committee. "Indeed, he worked to ensure that the student was first in the student-athlete model. He will be greatly missed."

Brand, who began his tenure in January 2003 after having served as president at Indiana and Oregon, died at his Indianapolis home. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2008 and announced his condition to the NCAA Executive Committee, the national office staff and the leadership at NCAA member schools in January, saying the long-term prognosis for his condition was "not good."

Brand remained committed to leading the Association even through his illness, guiding the national office staff and communicating with presidential leadership up until the final days. He attended the Men’s Final Four in Detroit, was at the table for the Association’s spring governance meetings and worked at his office into September.

Brand built his presidency on academic reform and advocacy of intercollegiate athletics, accomplishing both. Under Brand’s leadership, Division I adopted an academic reform structure anchored by the Academic Progress Rate, a team-based, term-by-term measure of academic success that encourages improved academic performance. Divisions II and III also made significant advances under Brand’s watch — Division II by implementing an identity campaign and a strategic-positioning platform tied to specific divisional attributes, and Division III by fortifying its philosophy to manage unprecedented membership growth. Continue reading