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DI presidential bodies work toward 5-year plan

Board of Directors, Presidential Forum collaborate on strategic goals

Two groups of Division I university presidents and chancellors took steps this week toward identifying the division’s foundational goals and strategic priorities for the next five years.

The Division I Board of Directors and Division I Presidential Forum, which met at UCLA, will seek feedback from the NCAA membership over the next several months on potential goals and how they should be achieved. Members will be surveyed, and the board will review their responses at its January meeting. The groups hope to finalize the strategic plan in April and ask different governance bodies to begin working on specific items to move the division forward.

The board and the forum both engaged in a robust discussion about foundational goals. When final, the goals are likely to include elements around the academic successes and overall well-being of students, the sustainability of the Division I membership and effective management of threats and opportunities.

“This work is vital to the future of the division,” said board chair Eric Kaler, president at Minnesota. “The board will help create the necessary framework through which we, as a division, can advance the broader model of college sports. We need input from the rest of the division to make sure we all share both ownership of and a commitment to the strategic agenda.”

Board composition

The board and forum members continued to discuss the structure of the board’s membership (see graphic), with the goal of reaching a conclusion on the issue at the January meeting. 

The board members received input from each conference via the forum, which discussed the board’s composition during its meeting earlier in the week. The forum, created to advise the board on Division I issues, is composed of one president from each of the Division I conferences.

The board and forum discussed the possibility of continuing the current structure along with several different alternative models. The board asked the forum to continue to refine a concept of adding two members from the Presidential Forum to the board, with a recommendation expected in January.

Transfers

Both the forum and the board members discussed the work of the Division I Transfer Working Group. That group is working toward legislation that would improve the transfer environment for college athletes, coaches and teams.

The presidential leaders supported adding “tampering” to the Division I Manual’s list of Level II violations, which are considered significant breaches of conduct.

The board and forum members also supported a notification-of-transfer model to replace the permission-to-contact system. Under current rules, Division I college athletes who wish to transfer must first receive permission from their current school to discuss transfer opportunities with another school. If the school denies permission, the student-athlete can’t receive athletics aid for the first year after transferring.

The working group is considering a model that would allow a student to notify a school that he or she will transfer. The student could then pursue transfer opportunities and accept scholarships at other schools.

The presidents also indicated initial support for pursuing concepts to increase accountability for schools who take transfer student-athletes and to create uniform transfer eligibility rules, concepts being considered by both the Division I Committee on Academics and the Transfer Working Group. Neither concept is expected to be put to a vote in 2017-18.