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New Division I Council convenes for first time

The legislative-focused body set broad range of priorities for its work ahead

Dustin Page, soccer player at Northern Illinois University, and Devon Tabata, soccer player at Duquesne University, discuss their roles as the first student-athlete members of the Division I Council.

The Division I Council – the top legislative committee within the division’s newly forged structure – met for the first time Friday, and the meeting hinted at what Division I members can expect as new leaders set priorities for the NCAA.

The Council committed itself to making decisions collaboratively, with members agreeing to work together, no matter the subdivision, to make decisions on behalf of the students they serve. They acknowledged the responsibility the Division I Board of Directors has placed with them to be effective stewards of the student-athlete experience and advance sports as part of higher education.

Among the group’s top priorities will be creating an effective relationship with the Division I Board of Directors; name, image and likeness issues; division-wide sport committee administration and coordination; financial aid issues; the overall NCAA budget; championships; communication strategy; and the student-athlete experience.

Council member Dustin Page, a men’s soccer player at Northern Illinois University, urged the group to remember why they were there: to make decisions with the needs of Division I college athletes in mind. Page is one of two athletes (with Devon Tabata, women’s soccer player at Duquesne University) to serve and vote on the Council, which is charged with setting the legislative agenda in Division I.

 “What’s important is the student-athlete experience,” Page said. “Our big strategy with the restructuring and moving forward with the NCAA is to turn the focus back to education.”

To continue the conversations, the council appointed an  administrative committee to more clearly define the work it will do and decide what supporting substructure groups might be necessary. That temporary committee will be guided in designing the substructure by the priorities identified by the full group.

Named to the temporary group were:

  • Connie Hurlbut, deputy commissioner, Western Athletic Conference
  • Kyle Kallander, commissioner, Big South Conference
  • Jim Phillips, athletics director, Northwestern University
  • Mitch Barnhart, athletics director, University of Kentucky
  • Brian Shannon, faculty athletics representative, Texas Tech University
  • Tom Wistrcill, athletics director, University of Akron
  • Kim Record, athletics director, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
  • Etienne Thomas, senior woman administrator, North Carolina Central University
  • Jeff Hathaway, athletics director, Hofstra University
  • Bob Bowlsby, commissioner, Big 12 Conference
  • Steve Perez, faculty athletics director, California State University, Sacramento
  • Bob Krimmel, athletics director, Saint Francis University
  • Vicky Chun, athletics director, Colgate University

The group will report back to the full council with the outline of a plan when it meets Feb. 3-4 in Indianapolis. Members emphasized that the report might not present the ideal structure but will serve as the Council’s starting point.

The Council plans to select a chair in the next few weeks. Record and Phillips will represent the Council at the Board of Directors.