You are here

Student voice, vote continues to grow stronger

Council sets up Division I committees

The voice of the college athlete will be even stronger in Division I, based on the committees established this week by the Division I Council.

The Council recommended seven standing committees that will report to the Council and will have at least some members drawn from its ranks. Each body will also have a voting representative from the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a suggestion offered by Council member Dustin Page, a men’s soccer player from Northern Illinois University. Page is one of two athletes who now vote on the Council.

“In the old structure, student-athletes were on virtually every council and committee,” Page said. “We are glad that the Council agreed to continue that and strengthen it with voting privileges in the substructure.”

The Council also created a system in which the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will report directly to the Council.

Council members designed supporting committees that will address a variety of issues, including some the Division I Board of Directors has charged to the Council:

  • A 10-member Division I Strategic Vision and Planning Committee with five Council members, four members drawn from the membership and an athlete. This group will be responsible for strategic planning and research and also handle membership, business and legal issues, and health and safety. Reporting to this committee will be the Division I Institutional Performance Program Committee and Association-wide committees such as the Committee on Women’s Athletics and the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee.
  • A 19-member Division I Competition Oversight Committee with 10 Council members, eight members drawn from member schools and one college athlete. This group will have responsibility for competitive issues in all sports other than football and basketball. The NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee will report to this group.
  • Three separate sports oversight committees -- one for football, one for men’s basketball and one for women’s basketball. Each committee will have 12 members: four from the Council, seven from member schools and one college athlete. Each of these groups would consolidate work done in the old Division I structure by multiple groups.
  • A 19-member Division I Legislative Committee composed of four Council members; two representatives from the Division I Committee on Academics; the chairs of the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, the Division I Legislative Review and Interpretations Committee and the Committee for Legislative Relief; nine members drawn from the membership; and one college athlete. This group would review all potential rule changes and make recommendations to the Council, which would cast final votes.
  • A 10-member Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee composed of five Council members, four members drawn from the membership and one college athlete. This group would consider issues such as awards, benefits, financial aid, recruiting, amateurism and personnel and recommend policy or rule changes as needed.

The Council also created a Council Coordination Committee, which will develop the group’s agenda and handle matters that develop between meetings of the full group.

Members discussed representation on each of the groups, with some suggesting each conference should be represented on committees such as the Competition Oversight Committee, which will oversee championships. The model adopted, while not accommodating every conference on every committee, is a compromise that creates smaller groups designed to work more quickly. This setup, Council members hope, will also require new committee members to think broadly and strategically.

The Council itself, with representatives from each conference, will make final decisions on important recommendations from the committees.

Members also discussed how to fill seats in the new structure. The Council will focus on identifying individuals with expertise while also being mindful of diversity of all types, including subdivision, job title, gender and ethnicity. In choosing appointees, the Council will be guided by a set of principles, including the importance of placing faculty on the committees. An ad hoc group will study the issue more closely, with the goal of appointing committee members who can begin work in the spring. 

Council chair Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation at Northwestern University, said building trust among members will be critical to the success of the new structure, and the work the Council members did this week was a big step.

“We leave here today a much stronger, more unified group, and that’s really a reflection of the group,” he said. “I’m very appreciative of that. We got an awful lot done in a short period of time. We worked hard and will continue to do that.”

In other business, the Council determined that conferences outside the five autonomy conferences (the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern) have the discretion to determine how and whether to apply legislation approved by the autonomy group.

Last month at the NCAA Convention, the 65 schools in the five autonomy conferences activated a new legislative process that allows them to make rules in specific areas. Through that process, the 65 schools broadened the definition of a full scholarship, which now includes room and board, tuition and fees, books and other expenses up to the cost of attendance.

Based on the new rules governing autonomy, the remaining 27 Division I conferences have the discretion to determine whether to apply that legislation.

Council members agreed Tuesday that conferences or schools outside the five autonomy conferences that elect to provide full cost of attendance may apply it on a team-by-team or even student-by-student basis.

Cost of attendance is defined using a federal methodology, and the actual figures can vary by campus. Generally, the calculation includes the traditional room and board, books, and tuition and fees, as well as personal expenses and travel. Schools still must adhere to federal, state and school regulations when determining their cost of attendance.

Additionally, the Council appointed a subgroup to study the possible impact of pending court rulings, litigation and appeals.

The Council also elected Keith Gill, athletics director at the University of Richmond, to serve as vice chair. Both he and Phillips will serve two-year terms.