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Convention will be different experience for DI Legislative Council

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

INDIANAPOLIS – The 2012 Convention will be different for the Division I Legislative Council, which meets this week to review the 78 proposals in the current legislative cycle. With a separate working group devising ways to dramatically deregulate the division and a recommended moratorium on legislation on the horizon, the Council may not necessarily cast final votes on every proposal.

Traditionally, the January meeting of the Legislative Council is used to adopt proposals with more than two-thirds support, defeat those with which a majority of the Council disagrees and send the remainder out for comment for a final vote in April.

However, many of the proposals in the 2011-12 cycle will be influenced by the work of Collegiate Model – Rules Working Group, which is expected to issue its final report to the Board of Directors in April. The report is expected to recommend significant, meaningful changes to the rules book and a move toward principle-based structure that focuses on rules that are national in significance/consequential, more readily enforceable and support student-athlete success.

The Council may await the final recommendations from the working group before casting votes on many proposals that could be made moot by the working group recommendations. Even proposals that move toward deregulation might be altered by more far-reaching change in a matter of months. Any proposal can be tabled so an idea is not lost, with the Council retaining the ability to vote on it at a later meeting.

The Collegiate Model – Rules Working Group, formed out of the August 2011 presidential retreat, also will ask the Board of Directors to place a moratorium on legislation in 2012-13, unless the proposals are part of the presidentially led reform agenda. This “time-out” will allow the membership time to think more broadly about the rules and the rules-making process. The rules working group believes tabling legislation in this cycle also will assist in this effort.

The rules working group will ask the Legislative Council for feedback on a framework for a new approach to NCAA rules. Under this construct, all NCAA legislation must tie back to the enduring values of student-athlete success, the collegiate model, amateurism or fairness/competitive equity and must support or advance a constitutional principle.

The model will define specific principle-based outcomes in key bylaws, with accompanying operating bylaws that provide further guidance to assist with compliance. Additional guidance will be provided by the national office, conferences and professional organizations.

The Legislative Council will devote part of its January meeting to discussing the proposed rules framework as well as the early reports out of the other working groups yet to report to the Board of Directors: Collegiate Model – Enforcement and Resource Allocation.

In October, the Council reviewed legislation in the 2011-12 cycle with the goal of providing feedback on concepts instead of individual proposals. For example, the Council indicated it is more comfortable with the concept of deregulating recruiting contacts and meals (at least for full-scholarship student-athletes).

The 2011-12 legislative cycle ends with final votes in April, though any tabled legislation may be brought off the table and decided at any time.