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Division I charts new course

New governance structure to take first action at 2015 NCAA Convention

The 2015 NCAA Convention will set new ground for Division I.

Most notably, the 65 schools that are members of the five autonomy conferences will cast their first votes in a redesigned structure, which provides that segment of Division I the authority to make rule changes in a few specific areas.

Those schools, along with three students from each of the five conferences, will vote on proposals that could allow schools to provide athletes with a number of benefits. Proposals they will consider include providing financial assistance up to the cost of attendance; allowing athletes to borrow against their future earnings to purchase loss-of-value insurance; a guarantee that scholarships can’t be reduced or canceled for athletics reasons; and new concussion management requirements.

In Division I, the new Committee on Academics, the new Council and a reconfigured Board of Directors all will meet for the first time at the Convention. Student-athletes will cast a vote on all three bodies.

After a morning-long orientation session on Friday, the Committee on Academics will begin to tackle the complicated issue of academic misconduct. The two groups that preceded the committee under the old governance structure -- the Committee on Academic Performance and the Academic Cabinet -- each examined the topic for several months before they were dissolved under the new structure.

The Council, which meets Friday afternoon, will start discussions about what other groups should be formed within the new governance structure, after an orientation of its own.

On Saturday, the new Board of Directors will meet jointly with the members of the previous board. The new board will be charged with more strategic planning than past groups have done, and some of the meeting will be spent discussing how it will interact with the Council as each group assumes a leadership role in the division.

During Sunday’s Division I business session, all of Division I will vote on a constitutional amendment that would guarantee the current championships access model is maintained (including the play-in structure in certain championships, sizes of championship fields and the number and ratio of automatic qualifying conferences). The amendment would ensure all Division I members have equal opportunities for championship participation. The session also will be used as a forum for reporting out the votes in Saturday’s autonomy session.