Keenum Eager to Effect Change in NCAA

Some university presidents are more involved in their athletic programs than others. Mississippi State’s Mark Keenum is one of those hands-on types.

In fact, during his first chat with SEC commissioner Mike Slive as MSU’s president (he was hired in 2009), Keenum spoke of a desire to “be more engaged at the national level in college athletics.” Slive told him that after serving his post for a couple of years, that would be a great possibility.

As I wrote in today’s Journal, Keenum has his chance next month. He’s one of several presidents who have been invited by NCAA president Mark Emmert to be part of a retreat focused on NCAA reforms. Slive outlined several proposals Wednesday, and those will be the focus in Indianapolis on Aug. 9-10.

Emmert came to the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., and talked to the presidents about some of his concerns.

“I can tell he’s trying to get his arms around some of the challenges, and he sincerely wants to get feedback,” Keenum said.

Whether these proposed changes are plausible or have a chance to be effectual is up for debate, but Keenum is eager for the opportunity to make changes for the better. His primary interest, of course, is MSU’s welfare.

“My interest is making sure any new rule or change or policy that comes down is perceived to be fair to our university and to our conference. I want to be fair to our student-athletes in anything we do.”

Slive said he and Keenum have talked only in general terms about goals, and of course more specifics will be addressed at the retreat.