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October 2020
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NCAA mourns loss of Tom Jernstedt; issues Statement


September 6, 2020

Tom Jernstedt (file photo)

“The NCAA community is deeply saddened to hear of Tom Jernstedt’s passing. As a significant architect of March Madness and the Final Four, Tom built an enduring legacy that continues in the national and international experience we all know and love today. He leaves a timeless impact on basketball and college sports for which we are grateful. We extend our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time to his family, friends and colleagues.”


Thomas Walter Jernstedt (November 24, 1944 – September 6, 2020) was an American basketball administrator, working for the NCAA from 1972 until 2010. He was enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2010 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. Jernstedt died in Tequesta, Florida.


The NCAA hired Jernstedt in 1972 as a director of events. He is credited with guiding the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship to what it is today. Jernstedt oversaw his first Final Four in March 1973. He was promoted to assistant executive director in 1974. He held a number of senior-level management positions over the next 29 years, culminating in his appointment in 2003 as executive vice president. Jernstedt’s duties included everything from managing events and overseeing branding to negotiating TV and corporate-sponsorship contracts. Jernstedt was let go after new NCAA President Mark Emmert took over in 2011.

In 2013, Jernstedt was selected to be a member of the first-ever College Football Playoff selection committee

USA basketball

Jernstedt first became associated with USA Basketball in 1975, serving as a member of its Council. Jernstedt was vice president for men from 1976-1980 and served another stint as vice president for men from 1992-1996. He was USA Basketball’s vice president from 1997-2000 and was the organization’s president from 2001-04. Under Jernstedt’s tenure, the men’s basketball team had disappointing results with a sixth-place finish in the 2002 FIBA World Championship and a bronze finish at the 2004 Olympics, leading to changes in how the team was selected.

Awards and honors





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