NCAA Board Approves Constitution Amendments; Vote in January

The NCAA Board of Governors agreed Thursday to accept the recommendations for a new constitution to govern college sports, sending the revised document to a vote by the association’s full membership in January.

The NCAA released an initial draft of a revised constitution in early November, made revisions after feedback, and then held a special constitutional convention last month, according to a report from The Associated Press. A second draft of the new constitution was shared last week.

The board unanimously agreed to accept the committee’s latest recommendations.

constitutionIn a memo to NCAA member schools and conferences, DeGioia wrote, “This process has been an example of how we can work together to modernize college sports and meet the needs of students engaged in intercollegiate athletics — today and for the future.”

The final recommendations for a new constitution incorporate changes from the second draft of the constitution shared Dec. 7, including:

  • Clarifying that student-athlete Board of Governors members must represent both men’s and women’s sports.
  • Explicitly stating that the constitution does not restrict or limit schools from having missions and policies consistent with their legal rights and obligations as institutions of higher learning.
  • Emphasizing equal access as part of the diversity and inclusion principle. Similarly, the gender equity principle remains distinct from diversity, equity and inclusion to give priority to each.
  • Stating that each member school must make its name, image and likeness policies publicly available, in addition to providing them to student-athletes.
  • Streamlining language around independent medical care for student-athletes.
  • Further clarifying the role of faculty athletics representatives as a reporting contact for student-athletes independent of the athletics department, but not a legal advocate.
  • Clarifying language around ensuring to the greatest extent possible that any imposed penalties do not punish programs or student-athletes not involved or implicated in the infractions.

Revising the constitution is the first phase of the process in transferring governing power in college sports from the NCAA to its three divisions, which include more than 1,200 schools and 450,000 athletes.

A new constitution would allow each division to create unique rules, setting the stage for a restructuring of Division I, the highest level of college sports with 350 schools.

“The ratification of a new constitution in January will unlock the ability for the divisions to rewrite rules for each division by August that will enable us to realize the goal of transforming NCAA governance to better serve our students,” Georgetown President Jack DeGioia wrote in a memo to membership.

A legislative proposal will be presented to the NCAA member schools Jan. 7. A vote to ratify the new constitution would come Jan. 20 at the convention in Indianapolis.

To read the full announcement from the NCAA Board of Governors, click here