The Revised NCAA Division I Governance Structure after Three Years: A Scorecard
5 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 65-103 (2017)
40 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2017 Last revised: 7 Jan 2018
Date Written: September 8, 2017
In August 2014, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors significantly restructured the governance system for Division I institutions and granted certain autonomous decision-making powers to the five power conferences and their 65 member institutions (the Big 10, Big 12, SEC, ACC, and Pac-12). In effect, the NCAA’s restructuring enabled these Autonomy 5 conferences to adopt policy legislation independently from the rest of Division I to provide greater support to student-athletes. Under the revised structure, the Autonomy 5 conferences have the exclusive autonomy to consider and adopt bylaw changes (i.e. NCAA legislation) in these designated areas. The remaining 27 conferences in Division I continue to have legislative authority, in conjunction with the Autonomy 5 conferences, to recommend changes to other portions of the NCAA Manual, but only for matters other than autonomy legislation. This Article explores the development and certain key highlights of the redesigned governance process for NCAA Division I and discusses some of the early successes achieved via the new structure (e.g., cost of attendance scholarships and time demands legislation). In addition, however, the Article also addresses certain challenges that remain in play with the new structure, and includes a particular focus on one specific area of concern – scholarship support in non-revenue sports. The Author, Professor Shannon, is particularly knowledgeable about the covered topics. He serves as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) for Texas Tech University. He is also in his third term as President of 1A FAR, an organization of the FARs at the 129 institutions and 10 conferences comprising NCAA Division I’s Football Bowl Subdivision, which includes the five Autonomy conferences and member schools. Shannon is also an appointee on the NCAA Division I governing Council and chairs the NCAA Legislative Committee.
Keywords: NCAA, Sports Law
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