New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs, who just finished serving his first of a five-year term on the NCAA Tournament selection committee, will now need to be replaced on the 10-person panel that seeds and selects the teams to compete in March Madness.
Krebs, who spent the past 11 seasons as the Lobos' AD, is retiring from the school on the heels of findings that he wrongly used tens of thousands of dollars of public money to help pay for an extravagant golf trip to Scotland in 2015.
That news has prompted an audit of the university's athletic department and funding infrastructure. Krebs could potentially face legal charges. From the Albuquerque Journal: "The special audit is in addition to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas last week announcing his office is opening an investigation directly relating to the June 2015 Scotland golf trip and whether Paul Krebs, UNM's athletic director, violated any laws in his decision to spend public money to take boosters along."
The infamous cross-Atlantic golf getaway could be found in violation of New Mexico's state constitution. Krebs' retirement was announced by the University of New Mexico on Friday. He'll officially leave his post with the school June 30.
So now, here's the fallout for the selection committee. In order to serve there, members have to be actively employed at an NCAA institution or affiliated conference. This marks the second time in 10 months that the NCAA has unexpectedly faced a roster change from its Mountain West representative. Krebs in effect replaced former San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk, who was forced to give up his seat at the table after he accepted a job as AD at Missouri in 2016, mere months after being named to the committee.
With the SEC already represented on the committee (Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart), Sterk could no longer serve. And because Krebs' term is tied to the Mountain West, his replacement will be brought in to fill out his remaining four years. (A fifth year could be added eventually.)
"I feel badly," NCAA vice president Dan Gavitt told CBS Sports on Friday. "It's unfortunate that Paul's retiring because he was a very good committee member even in just his one year of service, and I think the world of him."
It is the Mountain West's responsibility to name its replacement for Krebs and it appears it will be moving quickly.
"The Mountain West Board of Directors and athletic directors meet jointly in California starting Sunday afternoon and the topic of replacement will be discussed," Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said in an email to CBS Sports.
Gavitt said he and Thompson have talked multiple times as of late regarding this issue. The wheels are already in motion for Krebs' successor. Anyone officially employed by and/or affiliated with the Mountain West or its member schools is eligible to serve on the selection committee.
"It doesn't have to be an athletic director," Gavitt said. "It could be someone in a senior associate position. But the position is very attractive. People are dying to serve on the committee. I suspect it would be a high-ranking official."
Thompson, who has been Mountain West commissioner since its inception in 1998, previously served on the selection committee but would technically be eligible to serve again. The expectation is for Krebs' replacement to be named by mid-to-late June at the latest. The committee has an important, formal get-together from July 10-13 in Chicago. That meeting will include a full review of the committee's 2016-17 process and, most importantly, decide if there are any procedural changes -- including altering selection criteria -- for next season.
"It's the biggest business meeting the committee has," Gavitt said. "Along with the collaboration with the NABC ad hoc group on selection and seeding, we're anticipating there may be some recommendations that come out of that group. Plus analytics, selection criteria. That's the last opportunity for the committee to entertain any significant changes to the process."
Krebs' premature retirement has put the committee in a bind. With his departure, four new faces will be on next year's committee -- an unusually high number on a 10-person panel. Sitting members of the committee will have to work overtime in helping their new colleagues adjust to the job, which is scrutinized and analyzed more than ever.
In addition to Krebs, Michigan State AD Mark Hollis, BYU AD Tom Holmoe and Northeastern AD Peter Roby have finished their terms. They will be replaced, officially on Sept. 1, by Southland Conference commissioner Tom Burnett, Northwestern AD Jim Phillips and, it's expected, Atlantic 10 executive associate commissioner Keith Gill. Gill will need to be formally nominated and voted, again, after resigning as Richmond's athletic director this spring.