Athletic directors would take control of the NCAA’s day-to-day operations under a new plan presented to the organization’s Board of Directors.
Calling for athletic directors to be “essential leaders of the new governance system,” the plan attempts to shift the power structure of the NCAA from university presidents to athletic directors. Currently, the Board of Directors is made up exclusively of university presidents. Under the proposed plan, athletic directors would have an increased amount of access and representation at the NCAA’s decision-making level.
Purdue Athletic Director Morgan Burke and Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden were in Indianapolis to present the plan on behalf of Division I athletic directors. A document containing the general scope of the plan is available at Yahoo Sports (http://sports.yahoo.com/).
While athletic directors would play a leading role in the proposed system, university presidents would continue to focus on “broad policies, approving budgets, selecting the CEO, and selecting experienced ADs for the governance system.” The current Board of Directors includes university presidents from all 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences and the addition of athletic directors would mean the selection of a similarly representative group.
At the heart of the proposal is a demand that the NCAA’s governance structure be “simple” and feature “fair, timely, and efficient compliance and enforcement standards and practices.” Such language is telling at a time when the NCAA’s compliance and enforcement mechanisms face growing criticisms.
Mishandled NCAA investigations (notably, at the University of Miami) have raised questions about the clarity of the NCAA’s bylaws as well as the efficiency of their enforcement. The NCAA also has been charged with lacking transparent procedures and sanctioning member universities in an inconsistent manner.
Even if the Board declines to act on the plan, it has become clear that the level of frustration with the current governance structure has reached a tipping point. The athletic directors’ proposal is just the latest contribution to an ongoing debate over who is best to govern intercollegiate athletics. In the wake of increased conference realignment and the formation of more consolidated and powerful conferences, some feel that conference commissioners should lead.
However, the athletic directors’ plan “supports” Division I as currently set up and recent speculation about the formation of a “superdivision” consisting of the nation’s big-time football programs has been shot down by the NCAA.