This past Friday, the NCAA Board of governors announced that they will be holding a Constitutional Convention in November to discuss a massive reform of the way college sports are governed. These changes, if they are to be approved, could be enforced as soon as January.
Over the years the NCAA has received heavy criticism for the strict and iron-fisted way in which it has governed collegiate athletics. And until now, every sign pointed to nothing changing.
The NCAA has repeatedly ignored many proposals that would make a life for their college athletes easier and more fruitful. Insisting that the current model is the best way to operate.
But recent events, namely the approval of new NIL laws and the easing of transfer rules, suggest that the NCAA is finally warming up to a new athlete-friendly landscape in college sports.
This transition in governing style comes with support amongst those in various programs. Jack DiGiola, chair of the Board of Governors and President of Georgetown University said in a statement to the press,
“As the national landscape changes, college sports must also quickly adapt to become more responsive to the needs of college athletes and current member schools,... This effort will position the NCAA to continue providing meaningful opportunities for current college athletes and those for generations to come."
The convention in November will consist of 22 athletic directors, conference commissioners, university presidents, and even students from all 3 divisions. With the goal being to redraft the official NCAA constitutional articles. Or as DiGiola put it, “identifying the core principles that define college sports and proposing a new governance model that allows for quicker change without sacrificing broader values”.
Either way, it seems like we may be seeing a huge fundamental shift in how the NCAA oversees college sports.
NCAA President Mark Emmert was very blunt in how he described the goal of this convention,
“This is not about tweaking the model we have now,... This is about wholesale transformation so we can set a sustainable course for college sports for decades to come. We need to stay focused on the thing that matters most — helping students be as successful as they can be as both students and athletes”.
Further emphasizing the large-scale changes that may come to fruition as soon as January.
Emmert has been vocal about the need to change the way the NCAA oversees sports. He made headlines a couple of weeks back when he proposed the idea of decentralizing college sports entirely.
You can read all about that here.
Although that is the type of massive overhaul Emmert and others have been hinting at, it is more likely for the NCAA to take action in smaller steps as opposed to completely deferring authority to conferences and schools themselves.
Various programs have announced that they would gladly take on the responsibility of self-governance, effectively removing the NCAA from all its power.
In the last few months, we have seen more changes to the way college sports are conducted than in decades prior. The supreme court ruling that paved the way for student-athletes to profit off their talents seems like just the beginning of a complete transformation of all of College Sports.