Miles Brand, the Executive Director of the NCAA, has lost his battle against pancreatic cancer. He was 67.
Brand took over the chair of the NCAA in 2002 after a nearly eight year stretch of being President of Indiana University. Brand made the decision to fire iconic basketball coach Bobby Knight in 2000 for violating the "no tolerance" clause in the Knight's contract after a series of well documented incidents.
During Brand's tenure at the NCAA, Brand emphasized the academic role of the student athlete. Most publicly notable are the series of advertisements that run during the myriad of NCAA Championship telecasts that run on CBS and ESPN noting that the vast majority of those who play college sports do something else as a professional after their college career is finished.
While the relationship between the NCAA and the Football Bowl Subdivision has not always been exceedingly warm as the conferences themselves now control the television money as supposed to the NCAA in the past, the added exposure on television and the embrace of internet streaming by the NCAA has increased not only the popularity of college football, but college athletics in general.
Under Brands tenure, there are now five cable channels that show nothing but college sports including much more of the Football Championship Division games and playoffs that had not been seen before. Despite the seemingly glut of games on television every Saturday, college football is consistently the second highest sports draw on television behind the National Football League.
Brand also realized how important blogging was to the NCAA and helped establish the DoubleAzone, the official blog of the NCA and had his own weekly podcast, "Monday with Miles". Brand was also behind the consolidation of establishing the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis which gives the schools, especially the smaller ones, a more national feel and a central focus.
Our thoughts are with his family, both professional and personal, today and particularly with Josh Centor, who was a big help to us when he was the editor of the Double-A Zone blog.