The Mid-American Conference (MAC) announced today that Ball State University President Geoffrey S. Mearns has been elected the MAC’s Chair of the Council of Presidents. He replaces University at Buffalo President Dr. Satish Tripathi, who served as Chair for the last four academic years.
President Mearns has also been named the MAC representative to the NCAA Board of Directors.
“On behalf of the President’s Council, I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Tripathi for his leadership and guidance over the last four years,” President Mearns said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue advancing the Mid-American Conference while also helping our student-athletes achieve athletic and academic success.”
President Mearns spent the last year as the MAC representative to the NCAA Presidential Forum. He is being replaced in that role by Central Michigan University President Dr. Robert O. Davies.
“During his tenure as a chief executive of a member institution in the Mid-American Conference, President Mearns has been fully engaged in both Conference and NCAA matters and has earned and enjoys the trust of his colleagues,” said MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher. “I look forward to working with him in his Conference leadership role and in representing our membership with the NCAA Board of Directors.”
The NCAA Board of Directors is comprised of 24 members: 20 chief executive officers (CEOs), one director of athletics, one senior woman administrator, one faculty athletics representative, and one student-athlete. All Football Bowl Subdivision conferences have a permanent seat. Five Football Championship Subdivision and five Division I Subdivision conferences rotate seats.
“It is a privilege to have been appointed to this important role as a liaison between the Mid-American Conference and the NCAA,” President Mearns said. “I look forward to the challenge of helping shape plans and policies that promote the best interests of all student-athletes.”
Since President Mearns was hired at Ball State in 2017, the University’s athletics programs have reached new heights—in competition, in the classroom, and in the community. In 2020, the Ball State football team claimed its first MAC championship since 1996, earned the program’s first-ever bowl victory, and finished the season ranked 23rd in the nation in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. This Spring, the Ball State women’s tennis team captured its third MAC title in the last five conference seasons and advanced to the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships for just the second time in program history.
Ball State’s student-athletes have also maintained a level of excellence in the classroom under President Mearns’ leadership. In the Fall 2020 semester, almost 60 percent of Ball State's student-athletes earned a spot on the Dean's List with a semester GPA at or above 3.5. In addition, 72 Cardinals finished the fall with a 4.0 term GPA.
While earning his undergraduate degree in English at Yale University, President Mearns was a standout student-athlete. He competed in varsity cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track for four years, and he was the captain of the Yale cross country team in his senior year. After graduating from college, President Mearns qualified for the 1984 Olympic trials in the marathon.
President Mearns went on to earn his law degree from the University of Virginia. After a legal career that included serving as a federal prosecutor, he held academic and administrative roles at Cleveland State University and served as president of Northern Kentucky University before being named Ball State’s 17th president in 2017.
Under President Mearns' leadership, the University has developed its new strategic plan, Destination 2040: Our Flight Path. The plan provides a strategic framework for the University, with five long-term goals and a set of imperatives to be executed by 2024.