NCAA board approves initial moves in governance review

The NCAA board of directors has approved the first rudimentary moves toward governance review, according to an association memo obtained by

Governance issues have become a front-burner item for the NCAA after BCS commissioners spoke out publicly last month about their frustrations with the association. The board is relying on the recommendations of management consultant Jean Frankel, owner of Ideas in Action which specializes in -- among other areas -- "governance redesign" according to her website.

Most interesting at this early stage: The possibility of a special convention in July 2014 and a recommendation to redefine the role of the NCAA executive committee as a "more vital vehicle."

Both the board and executive committee had a hand in applying crippling and unprecedented sanctions to Penn State in July 2012. The troubles for the NCAA have snowballed from there, tumbling through president Mark Emmert’s inability to push further his reform agenda to the bungling of the Miami case to last week’s mini-scandal over an NCAA apparel website.

Frankel has circulated through the membership for months taking the temperature and determining the mood of an NCAA in flux. Most notably, she was in Colorado Springs, Colo., in June where several stakeholders met during Collegiate Commissioners Association and BCS gatherings.

She has met with an estimated 250 college administrators according to a source. Her recommendations to the board are believed to come from a meeting with NCAA executives last week. According to that memo obtained by, the board approved Frankel’s six recommendations by unanimous vote. The memo was not dated. 

Among them …

• Governance review will be a one-year process. "Criteria" and "approach" will be communicated to the membership in early September.

• "Membership stakeholders" will begin the process of "idea submission as desired."

• NCAA governance consultant (Frankel) and NCAA staff continue the outreach to membership soliciting ideas and input.

• The board "continues its work on engagement."

• The NCAA executive committee begins work on "corporate role definition."

• The NCAA staff continues to develop "leadership strategy."

Hey, it wouldn’t be an NCAA memo without a bevy of corporate buzzwords and a couple of subcommittees. The commissioners who criticized the NCAA recently each had different areas of focus. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby called for "transformative change." Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany didn’t go quite that far, advocating ongoing education opportunities for players after their eligibility runs out or they leave school. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott advocated a hard look at the one-and-done rule. The Pac-12 also passed full contact practice limitations for football.

Among six key focus areas put forward by Frankel are a possible redefinition of the sometimes complicated role of various councils, cabinets and committees.

A tentative time for the governance review, per the memo.

• August – November, 2013: Input for governance structure changes.

• January 2014 NCAA convention in San Diego: Board will hear discussion and debate among all stakeholders. That suggests a suspected tsunami of change will not sweep through the association at the convention. It will be an ongoing process.

• February – April, 2014: Formal proposals developed.

• April – August, 2014: Possible special convention in July. Formal proposals will go through the normal legislative process or "if one vote per member institution … is necessary," proposals will be circulated through the membership.;

Proposals not requiring membership vote will be considered by the board in April or August.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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