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Athletic directors lobbying NCAA for more control of college sports

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo Sports

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How will the NCAA respond to the athletic directors' play? (Getty)


Division I athletic directors made a presentation Tuesday in Indianapolis to the NCAA's Board of Directors that laid out a new governance system that would return much of the influence over the day-to-day operation of college sports back to ADs, Yahoo Sports has learned.

The plan would even call for athletic directors to be placed on the Board of Directors itself. That group is currently made up solely of university presidents.

The athletic directors, who believe they are on the front lines of the issues confronting college sports, are hoping to take a more hands-on approach and leave university presidents, who currently hold almost all power, to "broad policies, approving budgets, examining external trends" and other global issues, according to a document outlining the plan obtained by Yahoo Sports.

Morgan Burke and Mike Alden, athletic directors at Purdue and Missouri respectively, made the presentation on behalf of the Division IA Athletic Directors Association and the National Association of College Directors of Athletics.

[Related: See the athletic directors' proposal right here]

The board of directors is set to discuss the merits of the proposal Wednesday. The board, as part of an ongoing open conversation over the future of college athletics spurred by president Mark Emmert, invited various groups to come to Indianapolis and make a presentation.

That included groups representing coaches, conference commissioners, athletes, compliance directors, faculty groups, the Knight Commission and others.

Nothing would be enacted this week and there would be further opportunity for discussion at the NCAA's annual convention in January.

The athletic directors' proposal is considered particularly influential because of their roles of running the on-campus operations of some 350 schools of all shapes and sizes.

One source believes the proposal made by the athletic directors is, in general, similar to one made by the conference commissioners, easily the other most influential group in college athletics.

The athletic directors believe a group from their ranks would be better equipped to see potential pratfalls of new legislation and interpretations, react quickly and offer the from-the-trenches perspective of how governance from Indianapolis is playing out on campus.

There is widespread dissatisfaction with both the speed and transparency of the NCAA and its rulebook. It is also seen as too involved in unnecessary minutia and too inflexible to real world circumstances. All of this is playing out as the organization faces a number of lawsuits challenging its basic business practices.

The athletic directors' proposed administrative group might also include student-athlete representatives, according to a source.

"The new governance system should continue to have oversight by Presidents," the ADs' one-page proposal handed to the NCAA reads. "We recommend their focus be on broad policies, approving budgets, examining external trends, selecting the CEO, and selecting experienced ADs for the governance system. They should maintain veto power over legislation they deem incompatible with the general principles of the organization.

"This new governance system must have fair, timely, and efficient compliance and enforcement standards and practices.

"Experienced AD's should be essential leaders of the new governance system and should be represented at all levels. The AD's, who were selected by their Presidents, are in the position of leadership, responsibility and accountability for Intercollegiate Athletics and the well-being/welfare of student-athletes on their campus."

The concept of AD influence over the NCAA is not new. Up until last decade, athletic directors handled most of college sports governance, including seeing one of their own move up to president of the organization.

University presidents, however, took over in 2002, believing a more academic-minded group would better serve the NCAA and steer college sports away from trouble.

However, after numerous missteps and scandal, they may be willing to step back.

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