Student-athletes, administrators and coaches across the country have long made claims that the NCAA is a flawed system and balance of power in Division I legislation is an underlying problem.
As the annual NCAA convention approaches in January, schools around the country are discussing major changes to how Division I NCAA athletics are governed. In particular, universities are considering changing how athletic directors around the country are considered in the division’s legislative process. Currently, the NCAA’s Division I board of directors is comprised entirely of university presidents. Athletic directors at Division I schools have proposed a new structure that would transfer more power to athletic directors, though university presidents would still remain active in sweeping policies such as budget approvals.
“It would be my opinion that it would be the right thing to do,” Yale Director of Athletics Tom Beckett said. “I don’t know what the decision would be, but I would certainly welcome that form of governance.”
According to the Executive Director of the Ivy League Robin Harris, some athletic directors feel disenfranchised by the legislative process.
In the current voting system, not all Division I athletic directors can vote on topics such as budgeting, academic standards and conference realignment.
“Currently we have a representative form of government in which AD’s are included but not all 350,” Harris said.
As a result, not all institutions feel compelled to send representatives to the NCAA conventions due to the inability to weigh in on issues that may affect them individually. Part of the proposed solution considers an adoption of a one-school, one-vote policy for Division I that would encourage greater participation.
In Division II and III athletics, legislation is considered on a one-school, one-vote basis, but it is currently not the case in Division I, which uses the board of directors to adopt and approve legislation.
Yale and other Ivy League schools consider re-governance a relevant issue because a more representative policy would allow them to make an impact on the entire division .
Harris said that re-governance is important to Ivy League schools in order to ensure that principles such as academic standards are maintained across the division in the face of the significantly larger amount money spent by Power Five institutions on athletics.
While Harris added that Ivy League institutions recognize that some schools will supply advantages for student-athletes that other schools will not, it remains important to Ivy League athletic administrators that the basic tenants of the Ivy League are upheld.
“There are some schools and conferences that will choose to provide additional benefits to athletes that we will not do,” Harris said. “Our philosophy is to treat our athletes as close to the students as possible.”
The only Ivy League president on the NCAA board of directors is Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon.