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New Committee on Academics builds on previous group’s work

Roderick McDavis, chair of the Division I Committee on Academics and president of Ohio University, discusses the first meeting of the new committee and what the immediate future holds.

When should the NCAA get involved in academic misconduct on campus?

That key question was the focus of a new committee charged with overseeing academic issues within Division I, which met for the first time at the 2015 NCAA Convention.

The Committee on Academics reviewed the work of former academic governance bodies and began its initial discussions about misconduct and what role the NCAA should play in academic integrity incidents.

The committee continued the conversations begun by the Committee on Academic Performance and the Academic Cabinet in the old Division I structure. This year the group will learn all it can about the issues involved with the goal of introducing legislation into the 2015-16 legislative cycle.

“Today’s discussion was good progress toward making a recommendation to clarify the NCAA’s role in academic matters on college campuses across the nation,” said Roderick J. McDavis, president of Ohio University and chair of the committee. “We hope to gather significant membership feedback over the next six months, which will further inform our decisions and refine legislation.”

Committee members heard an overview of current rules and discussed the question of when the NCAA should become involved in academic matters. Some members expressed a desire for the NCAA to step in even when schools decided no academic misconduct had occurred, while other members felt strongly that such incidents are primarily the purview of the school.

The committee will continue its conversations at its February meeting. It plans to seek members’ feedback both before and after proposals are drafted. Any proposals would be considered by the Division I Council and any other legislative groups the Council creates.

The committee’s discussions happened during its first meeting under the new Division I legislative structure, a day that also served as an orientation for new committee members who will continue the work of both the Committee on Academic Performance and the Academic Cabinet.  Those groups were dissolved to form a single academics-focused Division I group, a move intended to facilitate more openness and clarity.

The orientation covered a wide range of topics, including the new governance structure and the Academic Progress Rate. The orientation emphasized that academic committees have historically made decisions based on data – an important practice that needed to continue.

“I look forward to working with committee members on one of the NCAA’s top priorities – the academic success of student-athletes,” McDavis said. “We want to build on the achievements of both the Committee on Academic Performance and the Academic Cabinet. With members who served on both groups, as well as new members, the Committee on Academics will continue to support Division I student-athletes as they move toward graduation.”