Division I Governance

In 2014, Division I redesigned its governing system to create a structure that is more nimble, streamlined and responsive to membership needs.

Members adopt bylaws governing Division I through two legislative processes. These two systems are referred to as Autonomy and Council Governance.

Both processes includes input from presidents and chancellors, directors of athletics, athletics administrators, coaches, faculty representatives, conference personnel and student-athletes from Division I schools and conferences. NCAA committees populated by membership personnel conduct the division’s day-to-day business and establish strategic direction for the future. The membership receives assistance in this regard from staff at the NCAA national office.

Division I’s committee structure oversees everything from championships administration and sport oversight to strategic planning and the overall health of Division I.

The student-athlete voice is an important component of the Division I governance structure. Two members of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee participate and vote in meetings of the Division I Council, the division’s primary policy-making body. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee also has a voting student-athlete on each of the seven standing committees of the Council. Students also participate actively in the autonomy governance structure. Conferences choose 15 student-athletes to be part of the 80 votes cast on autonomy legislation.

Many of these potential regulations – as well as proposals to change existing policies – develop within the committee governance structure throughout the year, while other legislative measures are submitted by member conferences.

Proposals (either by a committee or through the membership) must be submitted to the national office by Sept. 1. Division I members may comment on proposed legislation for 60 days. There is an amendment time period between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15. The entire Division I membership receives official notice on all proposals and amendments by Dec. 1. The membership still may comment on proposals and amendments from this time until voting. The autonomy structure votes on its proposed legislative slate at a business session. The Council governance structure votes on its proposed legislative slate during its April meeting. 

All of these bylaws and regulations are published annually in the NCAA Division I Manual, which is the division’s official governing rulebook.