SBD/December 11, 2013/Events and Attractions

Intercollegiate Athletics Forum: Emmert Says New Governance Structure Possible

Emmert says NCAA could have new governance structure by this summer
NCAA President Mark Emmert opened the ’13 IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum by revealing that the organization could have a new governance structure in place by this summer that would give greater autonomy on decision-making back to school ADs. The D-I Board is currently populated solely by school presidents, but ADs have been clamoring for reform because they often are the ones dealing with day-to-day decisions. Emmert said of the proposed model, "At the conference level in some cases, and certainly at the national level, ADs have been marginalized in the process and that’s clearly a huge mistake. So part of the discussion now is how to change that." He added, "One of the models being considered is a move to a new legislative body with presidents (at the top) -- presidents want to retain control of college sports because that’s their job description -- but move the legislative policy making on the day-to-day decisions to a new body that would be dominated by athletic directors, and bring the voice of athletic directors much more directly and much more aggressively into the conversation. ADs are clearly anxious for that -- to do that work, because it’s a lot of work -- but I think we’re in a much healthier space than where we were nine months ago." He said of the proposed changes, "It would actually be, somewhat ironically, less bureaucratic because it would have the people who really have to run the enterprise making the decisions and the board … would be along the lines of more of a veto model than passing the legislation themselves. So it would be quite a different model than we have today."

ALLAYING CONCERNS: With the NCAA under increasing pressure to change its centralized form of governance, Emmert said he was hopeful the proposed switch could alleviate many of those concerns. He added, "This is going to be, I hope, a seminal moment in the NCAA, especially for Division I. The presidents have been talking about for some time now the need to have a decision-making structure that allows them to make decisions faster and to accommodate the huge, mostly economic differences across Division I from low-resource schools to high-resource schools. Right now, they try to write rules collectively, and that’s very, very difficult for them. So the model that’s being discussed would provide, first of all, greater autonomy and accountability for the large-budget conferences -- especially the Big Five -- that would allow them to have greater authority over a handful of areas so they could spend money more effectively on student athletes. That’s gigantic for us. That’s going to be a watershed moment.”
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