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Members to review legislative proposals

Social media, championship hosting measures among 72 under consideration

NCAA championships could be played in states that allow sports wagering, coaches could contact recruits via social media without restrictions and men’s basketball student-athletes could enter the NBA draft multiple times without jeopardizing their eligibility, under a slate of proposals to be reviewed in Division I over the coming months.

These concepts are among 72 proposals that will be voted on by Division I this academic year.  Of those 72, 14 would change rules in the areas of autonomy granted to the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences through the recent restructuring of Division I.

The 65 schools in those five conferences will vote on their proposed rule changes in January at the 2016 NCAA Convention in San Antonio, Texas, after a months-long opportunity for review and comment from all Division I members.

In a joint release, the commissioners of the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC commented on the importance of the autonomy process: “Our universities have made significant strides to modernize college athletics and improve the student-athlete experience. There is more work to do, but collectively we have sharpened our focus on the overall objective of preparing our student-athletes to succeed on and off the field – in college and in life.”

The remaining 58 measures, including 18 introduced into the legislative cycle by the Division I Council, will be vetted by member schools over the next several months. The Council will take final votes in April 2016 unless the nature of the proposal requires earlier consideration.

The Mountain West Conference sponsored the proposal to allow NCAA championships in states with sports wagering. The measure is intended to allow the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of Nevada, Reno, to experience and possibly host championships in their home state. The rationale for the proposal noted that many conferences hold their own championships in the state and that the change would decrease travel time and expenses as well as reduce missed class time for student-athletes in the area.

“The Mountain West proposal is about the opportunity to host NCAA championships events.  It would provide additional western locations as potential NCAA championships sites, which would decrease travel costs and missed class time,” the conference office said. “Furthermore, Nevada is home to the nation’s most elite gaming enforcement agency (Nevada Gaming Control Board) which governs Nevada’s gaming industry through strict regulation of all persons, locations, practices, associations and related activities.  This type of regulation decreases significantly the likelihood of any elicit gaming behavior related to the conduct of NCAA championships events in the state.”

The Mid-American Conference wants to lift all restrictions on communicating with recruits over social media, citing the difficulty in monitoring such activity and a need to keep pace with the evolution of social media technology.

An ACC proposal that, if adopted, would require a Football Bowl Subdivision school’s camp to be held on the school’s campus and limit FBS coaches and football personnel to working at only those camps. A similar proposal from the SEC would limit FBS coaches and football personnel to working at camps sponsored by his or her school.

The Council introduced the measure that would modify timing and interaction for men’s basketball players and the NBA draft. The proposal would change the date by which a student-athlete must request his name be removed from the NBA draft list to 10 days after the conclusion of the NBA draft combine. It also would allow students to enter the NBA draft multiple times without jeopardizing eligibility and permit students to participate in the combine and one tryout per NBA team per year.

The Council also has introduced a major proposal related to academic misconduct.  

This measure would change academic misconduct rules to require schools to publish and follow an academic misconduct policy for all students; define impermissible academic assistance; and determine when a student worker’s involvement would be considered academic misconduct.

This academic year marks the first full year of the legislative process under the new Division I structure, though the five conferences with the autonomy to make rules in specific areas had an initial session in January 2015. At that session, 65 schools and 15 students adopted new rules changing the definition of a full scholarship to include the full cost of attendance, allowing schools to pay for loss of value insurance and prohibiting schools from cancelling or reducing aid for athletics reasons.

The Division I Council began its work in January, and standing committees in various subject areas recommended legislation to the Council over the summer. This year is the conferences’ first opportunity to submit legislation since 2011, when the Division I Board of Directors indicated it would not consider legislation from outside the governance structure until restructuring was addressed.