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DI Competition Oversight Committee looks to next steps

Group to explore ways to enhance championships and remain fiscally responsible

Since the Division I Competition Oversight Committee was formed five years ago, it has focused on developing long-term strategies that support and enhance the student-athlete experience and NCAA sport and championships within a fiscally sustainable model.

Now, the committee’s focus is on what comes next.

“We are at the point where we are examining what the future looks like,” said Kim Record, committee chair and director of athletics at UNC Greensboro. “None of us can predict the future, but we have information that will allow us to inform the membership so everyone can start thinking about what needs to be done.”

In recent years, the committee’s efforts have focused on developing greater consistency between key championship elements that support the overall student-athlete experience. The committee also has supported championship access for multisport conferences and adopting a firm commitment to financial stewardship.

The results: greater consistency in areas such as the selection process principles and procedures and per diem increases. Additionally, the overall student-athlete championship experiences have been enhanced through improvements to the awards and awards ceremonies, championships banquets, developing areas specifically for families and friends of student-athletes at championships, and streaming all preliminary rounds of championship competitions.

During its Jan. 22 meeting at the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida, the group started discussing what steps to take next. As part of their comprehensive strategic review discussions, committee members received information specific to championships financials; findings from the review of the seven sports sponsored by fewer than 50 schools; and survey results from the 32 multisport conferences regarding championship experiences, areas for improvement and priorities for future funding consideration. 

As the group moves forward at its April in-person meeting, it will look to develop priorities and principles that will help to create and maintain a positive student-athlete experience, including fair and equitable competition within a fiscally sustainable model. Some of the areas that have initially been identified for further discussion are travel policies and procedures, bracketing and seeding principles, squad and travel-party sizes, and a sport sponsorship analysis that could include sport-specific strategies.

Additional items:

In other action, the Competition Oversight Committee recommended that the Division I Council introduce legislation into the 2019-20 legislative cycle to create a uniform postseason tournament/event exemption for each sport the NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee oversees. 

In making their recommendation, the Competition Oversight Committee members noted that the proposed legislative adjustment would allow for more local decision-making and institutional autonomy in determining whether to participate in such events; provide an opportunity for postseason competition in every sport; and help to eliminate the administrative burden for school  staff members charged with overseeing compliance with playing seasons legislation, given the variance of postseason competitions from one sport to the next.