Sad news out of Indianapolis, as NCAA president Myles Brand lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. Before taking the head job at the NCAA, Brand was president of Indiana University from 1994-2002, and president of University of Oregon from 1989-1994.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick had this to say about Brand:
“I’m fortunate to have been able to call Myles Brand a friend as well as a colleague in the collegiate athletics arena. Myles championed so many progressive causes with the creation and emphasis on tools like the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate and the Graduation Success Rate. He had a great handle on how athletics should fit into the culture of an institution and he spent his career promoting the values he believed should be a huge part of our programs. Whether it was his views on commercialism or simply the economics of running a major-college program, he wasn’t afraid to exert his influence to make college athletic programs more accountable and more representative of higher education. The restless intellect that made Myles such an extraordinary scholar also made him a great leader. He never shied away from taking a risk that he thought might benefit college athletics and the student-athletes he cared so deeply about.”
Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C, commented on the uniqueness of Brand’s honorary degree awarded to him at last year’s commencement ceremony:
“My deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers go out to Myles’ wife, Peggy, and their family,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame. “He was a man for whom I had great respect - as a scholar of the first rank, a gifted administrator, a reform-minded leader of the NCAA, and, most of all, as a man of great integrity.
“When we presented an honorary degree to Myles at our commencement ceremony this past May, his illness prevented him from attending. For only the second time in Notre Dame’s history, we awarded the degree in absentia. That is indicative of how much admiration those of us at Notre Dame had for him. A few weeks later, our provost, Tom Burish, and I presented the degree to Myles personally in Indianapolis. It was a privilege to do so, and it was a privilege to know him.”
Brand was only 67 years old.