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Council tables most proposals, acts on agent issue

 

The Division I Legislative Council tabled several proposals in anticipation of the work of the Transforming Intercollegiate Athletics: Rules Working Group’s recommendations later this year, though it did cast votes Wednesday on several key pieces of legislation.

Council chair Carolyn Campbell-McGovern, senior associate executive director of the Ivy League, said the meeting was different than a customary Council meeting because members didn’t pore over every detail of each proposal.

“We tabled a significant number of proposals in deference to the fact that there are a lot of discussions going on about what our rules need to look like,” Campbell-McGovern said.

However, the Council approved a rule that broadens the definition of agents to include third-party influences, including family members, who market student-athletes’ athletics ability or reputation for personal financial gain. The rule, sponsored by the Amateurism Cabinet, would include individuals who either directly or indirectly:

  • Represent or attempt to represent a prospective or current student-athlete in the marketing of his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain; or
  • Seek to obtain any type of financial gain or benefit from securing a prospect’s enrollment at an institution or a student-athlete’s potential earnings as a professional athlete.

The new definition would include certified contract advisors, financial advisors, marketing representatives, brand managers or anyone who is employed by or associated with such individuals.

Campbell-McGovern said the new rule was in line with the division’s principles and simply “closed a loophole.”

 In the past, the agent definition applied generally to third parties marketing an athlete’s skills to a professional sports team. The new rule expands the definition to include people, including parents, marketing athletics skills to a collegiate institution for personal gain.

The rule is not intended to capture parents or legal guardians, athletics department staff members, former teammates or those individuals who have the best interests of a prospective student-athlete or student-athlete in mind from assisting or providing information to a prospective or enrolled student-athlete, provided they do not intend to receive a financial gain for their assistance.

The Council defeated a proposal that would have allowed two-year college student-athletes to complete a “year of academic readiness” at the two-year school. The rule would have provided the student-athletes the opportunity to practice and receive aid (but not compete) without starting their eligibility clock, essentially giving the student-athlete six years to complete four seasons of competition. It was considered a companion piece to the increased academic requirements for two-year transfers adopted by the Board of Directors last fall.

While generally supportive of the concept, some Council members believed it put too much responsibility in the hands of the two-year colleges.

The Council also:

  • Adopted Prop. No. 2011-43, limiting institutions to signing 25 prospective football student-athletes to the National Letter of Intent or institutional offers of financial aid annually.
  • Adopted Prop. Nos. 2011-45 and 2011-46, which expand to football and women’s basketball the men’s basketball legislation prohibiting nonscholastic events in campus facilities or non-campus facilities used as a primary venue for the team.
  • Defeated Prop. No. 2011-64, which would have granted a fifth season of eligibility to football student-athletes.

The Legislative Council will continue to meet Thursday, and any of these proposals can be reconsidered. The actions are not considered final until the close of the Board of Directors meeting on Saturday.

The Council will provide feedback to the Board of Directors about the various initiatives stemming from the reform effort in Division I. The members spent the most time reviewing the work of the rules working group because it most deeply affects the Council as a rules-making body.

When presented with a rough draft of one bylaw that had been transformed using a principle-based outcome construct, the Council was generally supportive, even excited, about the direction the Manual seemed to be going, calling it a return to “common-sense” governance. However, the members also had some concerns about implementation and practical application.

The group discussed the upcoming reconsideration of the legislation allowing schools to give student-athletes who receive financial support equal to a full grant-in-aid an additional allowance for miscellaneous expenses, up to $2,000 or the cost of attendance. The group discussed several options forwarded by the Student-Athlete Well-Being Working Group.

McGovern will report to the presidents that the Council members prefer the option that allows the miscellaneous expense allowance to be awarded to student-athletes in amounts proportional to the portion of a full grant-in-aid that they receive.