NCAA reform took another step forward on Thursday with an endorsement of the restructuring process by the Division I Board of Directors. According to a timeline laid out by the NCAA, a new governance system for the five power conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) could be in place by August.
"The model we sent to the membership today is not a final product," said Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, chair of the board and the steering committee. "Some aspects of the model remain under discussion, and we hope the membership will provide us further input."
An agenda from the Board of Directors meeting was obtained by CBSSports.com and details each of the issues in the restructuring process. Some of the proposals, like the creation of a 38-member council made up mostly of athletic directors and two voting student-athletes to be the final voice on rule-making decisions, are clear-cut. But according to the NCAA, board m embers "continue to seek more clarity and specificity about these proposed areas of autonomy."
The steering committee is seeking more feedback on the how the remaining 27 conferences would want to apply decisions made by the 65 schools in the five highest-profile conferences. Areas in which the membership generally agrees on autonomy for the five conferences include:
-- financial aid, including full cost of attendance and scholarship guarantees;
-- insurance, including policies that protect future earnings;
-- academic support, particularly for at-risk student-athletes; and
-- other support, such as travel for families, free tickets to athletics events, and expenses associated with practice and competition (such as parking).
The steering committee continues to discuss other areas that could be included in the areas of autonomy, including the creation of mandatory time away from athletics for student-athletes; eliminating rules that prohibit student-athletes from pursuing careers outside of athletics while still competing (for example, making music and art or writing a book); recruiting; transfer issues; and athletics department personnel.
Thursday's meeting also finalized the adoption of new rules regarding limits on food for student-athletes and the change to the transfer policy.
Some of the changes for student-athletes don't come as a surprise. There have been proposals for student-athlete stipends on the table before and SEC commissioner Mike Slive said earlier this week that he planned to address full cost of attendance as one of the first issues should the power conferences be granted that power in the NCAA restructuring process.Some of the other issues, like allowing student-athletes to pursue other careers or mandatory time away from sports, could result in some drastic changes at big-time programs across the country.
The NCAA created this handy infographic to lay out the timeline for restructuring:
DI Board soliciting feedback from member schools this summer & plan to adopt a new Division I structure in August: pic.twitter.com/UbHzhIjJMk— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) April 24, 2014