NCAA board looking into governance changes
August 09, 2013 10:40 AM

The NCAA spent Thursday working on a redesigned governance structure.

It will take a lot more time to get it right.

With college football’s most powerful conference commissioners calling for an overhaul, the board of directors and executive committees started discussing a major overhaul to how the NCAA works. Neither board chairman Nathan Hatch nor executive committee chairwoman Lou Anna Simon offered specifics.

Thursday’s meetings officially kicked off the debate that is likely take at least another year. NCAA President Mark Emmert has already invited campus leaders to a two-day sit-down at January’s national convention.

“We worked very closely with the national office, with Mark’s leadership role to learn about the processes,” Simon said. “There is a commitment for real change. We know it’s going to be very hard work. We are going to play an active role and we are excited to take on that responsibility.”

Simon, the Michigan State president, described the discussion as “animated” and “dynamic.”

Hatch, the president at Wake Forest, was far more reserved but did acknowledge he committee hopes to have a formal proposal ready to be voted on next August.

“There is no doubt this is an ambitious timeline,” he said. “But it’s about our commitment to best govern Division I college sports in a way that benefits our athletes in the classroom and on the field.”

Some believe the big-budget schools, which were prevented from offering athletes an additional $2,000 beyond what their scholarship covers by an override petition from schools with less money, will try to start a super-division. The problem with that is figuring out how to integrate all the other current Division I schools into the NCAA’s most successful and profitable event — the men’s basketball tournament. One thing that everyone does seem to agree, though, is that this debate must be more inclusive.

“There have got to be more people at the table early in the discussions, both the campus voice of faculty athletic reps and the senior athletic administrators because those are two groups that need to be represented,” Nebraska law professor and former infractions committee chairwoman Jo Potuto said. “I think whatever is coming has got to have a substantial voice from the athletic directors and the faculty reps, and we have to have a way to articulate that policy.”

But the overarching goal remains getting it right.

“We have many different segments that are frustrated with the current environment,” Emmert told The Associated Press last week. “It needs to be done with some speed, but you’ve got to have some voices in it. You’ve got to find ways to reach out, get a lot of opinions and get people together.”

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