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Division I Board of Directors, Presidential Forum discuss sustainability

Board also ratifies legislation expanding one-time transfer exception to all sports

The Division I Board of Directors reviewed the progress of the Division I Presidential Forum’s study of the sustainability of Division I athletics, and the forum members indicated they will continue to work toward identifying long-term priorities and solutions that will strengthen the division and its commitment to student-athletes.

Both groups met virtually this week.

The broad themes of the forum’s work center on several areas identified as critical to the future of the division, including membership requirements, governance and legal fees. Forum chair Brian Hemphill, president at Radford, said the group feels an urgency in its work but also acknowledged that external factors could have a significant impact on the division in the coming months.

“The forum review is ambitious and intends to identify strengths, weaknesses and pressure points that threaten the future of the division,” Hemphill said. “The goal of the review, and any potential recommended actions, is to sustain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of higher education for all student-athletes. We recognize the need to make progress in addressing these issues and intend to continue working as the NCAA navigates a critical period for college sports.”

Board and forum members both noted several external influences, including an anticipated Supreme Court ruling, a gender equity review of NCAA championships, and potential congressional action, that could impact the future of the division and influence the views of the membership on the identified core issues.

“At this time, we believe it’s prudent to wait to have a better understanding of the external landscape before we finalize sustainability priorities and move forward with identifying solutions,” said board chair Denise Trauth, president at Texas State. “This approach allows our colleagues on the Presidential Forum to provide their best guidance on how we should respond as a division.”

The forum intends to provide an update to the board by August.

Transfers

The Division I Board of Directors ratified the adoption of legislation expanding the one-time transfer exception to all student-athletes, no matter what sport they play. The Division I Council adopted the legislation, which allows all student-athletes who have not transferred in the past the opportunity to compete immediately after transfer once in their period of eligibility.

The rule is now effective and applies to all student-athletes who want to transfer for the first time for the 2021-22 academic year. If a student has previously transferred, the waiver process is available.

Infractions process review

The board received a report from the Infractions Process Committee, and members approved a request from the committee to add a student-athlete representative. Members agreed with the committee’s assessment that student-athlete engagement would provide continued value to the committee’s work.

Additionally, the board members reviewed the priority areas the committee has set, including enhancing expediency without sacrificing fairness, communicating process and outcomes more effectively, and determining whether violation levels are categorized appropriately.

To date, the committee has been meeting with multiple constituent groups like the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Division I Committee on Infractions, Division I Infractions Appeals Committee and enforcement staff, as well as soliciting written feedback from other groups.

Resources

Below are two resources to help explain the NCAA Division I one-time transfer exception for four-year college transfer student-athletes:

  • An NCAA Division I One-Time Transfer FAQ that is intended to make the implications of the rule changes accessible to student-athletes, parents, coaches and media.
  • More technical guidance found in the proposal’s Q&A resource, which remains available on the Working Group on Transfer’s committee page and will be converted, with updates, into an educational column in the Legislative Services Database for the Internet.