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New-look NCAA might resemble United Nations Security Council

A group similar in structure to the United Nations Security Council has been discussed to lead the highest level of NCAA schools as the association reviews its governance.

While the NCAA is in the preliminary stages of governance review, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said one of his colleagues had raised the idea. It didn't stop there.

"There is an idea that a few people are espousing, [that] is the United Nations Security Council," Swarbrick said.

Such a structure would give FBS schools unprecedented autonomy in governance issues. The security council is described here. It is made up of 15 members, each with one vote. According to the United Nations website, the council's responsibility is to determine, "the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression."

On the NCAA level such a group would be "a super legislative body" that would be empowered to "undo silly or conflicted legislation," according to a source.

At the moment, the NCAA is in the business of "governance redesign," according to a survey recently sent out to members. Frustration bubbled to the top among BCS commissioners in July at their media days. NCAA president Mark Emmert said he was on board with an open discussion of governance change and has issued a save-the-date notice to administrators for the NCAA's annual convention in January in San Diego.

A source said the new group would have "mainly FBS institutions on it." The current weighted voting system favors the 125 FBS schools but those upper-tier schools can be outvoted by the more numerous institutions in the remainder of Division I.

"[That] legislative body can adopt whatever the hell it wants," the source said. "This [security council] group will decide if it gets enacted."

Such a structure would give the FBS schools more say in issues that directly affect them. Currently in any division-wide issue, the BCS leagues could be outvoted. The controversial stipend proposal was essentially overridden by FCS schools (the old Division I-AA) and basketball-only schools within Division I. The five BCS leagues as well as the American (former Big East) and Conference USA all have the same weighted votes (three points each). The Mountain West, MAC, Sun Belt and WAC (still alive in basketball) are weighted half as much (1.5). The remaining 20 Division I conferences (about 200 schools) get 1.14 points.

But there is frustration that the stipend issue was pushed on the membership without proper vetting following the now-infamous presidential retreat in August 2011.

"That was sort of the nadir of presidential control," one BCS-level source said. "[Emmert] gathered those guys for two days and they weren't informed. There were a lot of slogans. Give me some admissions people and some financial aid people and some ADs."

The source added, "We've had too many things get cut off because they couldn't get fully developed because of the voting issue. ... I thought the stipend issue wasn't well-formed."

CBSSports.com reported last month the board of directors had approved the first rudimentary proposals in governance review. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported Thursday the NCAA had begun surveying conferences, individuals and groups for suggestions on the redesign.

Key questions in that survey from the NCAA board of directors:

What should the overall divisional membership structure look like? (In July, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said, "We've made it too easy to get in Division I and too easy to stay there.")

What governing bodies do we need and what would each do?

The board said input should be submitted by Nov. 15.

The NCAA is consulting with Jean Frankel of Ideas for Action on the review.


Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
 
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