Genshaft: NCAA chair makes for 'exciting year'
USF President Judy Genshaft was honored at the chance to simply serve on the NCAA Board of Directors a year ago, so the news of being unanimously elected to chair that board for the next year is off-the-charts amazing, for herself and for USF.
"This is going to be a very exciting year," said Genshaft, home in Tampa after arriving from Brazil earlier Tuesday. "It's a privilege for me personally, and I'm really quite honored by the opportunity to work with a very elite group of presidents."
Genshaft was in Brazil with athletic director Doug Woolard to see USF's men's basketball team represent the United States in the Pan American University Championships, then spent time with her family on vacation in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Her election to lead the 18-member board has been praised by Big East commissioner John Marinatto, and she said she looks forward to working with new NCAA president Mark Emmert, who she has known from his days as a university president at Washington and elsewhere.
"I think this is huge, because it's a great opportunity for the University of South Florida," she said. "It's another huge national position, and I'm very happy to represent USF there. I wear my USF pin, and I'm always branding in my green and gold."
Genshaft said she felt at home in Brazil, where the national team colors are green and yellow, so she took much of the patriotic support in the stands during games as proud, if unintended, support for USF during the tournament.
A story on the NCAA's official site incorrectly reported that Genshaft would chair the board until "next April," but her term as chair will carry through April 2012, according to USF's announcement.
Asked what issues are most important to her in her time chairing the board -- she'll have the chair through April, but will represent the Big East on the board through 2013 -- she said she will wait to see what direction Emmert sets for the board. She said the need to address the increasing presence of agents on college campus is already being addressed, and the board will also closely monitor the need for academic progress at all levels.
Woolard said Genshaft's new position is of enormous benefit to the university, both in its direct exposure and in having a voice in such an influential position nationally.
"From an athletics standpoint, we cannot overstate the magnitude of this honor," he said. "This is a personal and professional accomplishment for the president, and a point of pride for the entire USF community. What a statement on the growth of the USF brand, both academically and athletically, that our leader will represent the Bulls at the highest level of NCAA governance."
USF's announcement of Genshaft's new position included a quote from Emmert: "Judy's institutional experience on a number of campuses and her leadership skills as a university president are valuable assets to the board and the NCAA at a time when many critical issues will be before us. Judy is the right person at the right time, and we're grateful she is willing to take on this assignment."