Tom Jernstedt was one of the top five most powerful sports figures in the country.
You might not have heard of him, but you knew his handiwork -- the NCAA Tournament, the College World Series, the women's tournament. Really, everything Jernstedt touched turned to gold -- literally. The NCAA executive vice president had brought billions of dollars to the association over his 38 years of service.
Apparently, new NCAA president Mark Emmert wants a newer, smaller, more efficient inner circle. As you can see, Jernstedt was let go by Emmert along with general counsel Elsa Cole and senior vice president Dennis Cryder. Jernstedt, though, was the shocker. He was a power broker among power brokers, taking the men's tournament from humble beginnings to its current multi-billion deal with TNT and CBS.
That's three fairly significant names in American sports. As mentioned, there are rumors that the new president prefers a small inner circle. The NCAA had power base was anything but small. This NCAA press release confirms Emmert's intentions.
The clear winner in this upheaval is Greg Shaheen who had been running the men's tournament. Shaheen has been named interim executive vice president in charge of all 88 championships. Look for him to get the permanent position in the future.
The NCAA is trending younger and smaller. Judging from the enforcement staff's recent crackdowns, it might be trending better too.
As for Jernstedt, it is like a head of state has passed away. The man is 65 and will be fine in whatever he does next but quietly the future of the NCAA is being shaped by Emmert, the current Washington and former LSU CEO.