Report: Structure of college athletics could be changed as soon as August

Dr. Saturday

The overall structure of college athletics is going to change, and according to a report from ESPN, changes could be put into place as soon as August.

A seven-member committee with the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors hopes to provide “a range” of autonomy – including “the freedom to provide athletes the full cost of scholarships” – said Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, the board’s chair.

Hatch told ESPN that he is confident that change will be imminent.

“We’re not talking about full autonomy. We’re talking about a range of issues,” Hatch said. “Membership can vote it down, but this has been a huge process. The board last fall had a whole day of hearings. We've talked to coaches, students, athletic directors, big schools, small schools, the Knight Commission, faculty-athletic representatives, and I think we can craft a compromise that makes the board more nimble, more strategic, in some ways more like a confederation that allows big schools certain ways to expend some of their new revenue on behalf of student-athletes."

Another focal point of the committee’s discussions has been to make university athletic directors be more “directly and heavily involved in the NCAA’s rule-making,” instead of university presidents and chancellors.

“There’s been kind of a retreat of fundamental involvement by the athletic directors, who are the people on our campuses who make all of this work,” Hatch said. “We’ve been engaged heavily with them in this process and they have been very responsive. To give them a more integral role in NCAA governance is critical.”

The new structure would give the larger conferences added flexibility, but Hatch said that the committee is still deciding the level of flexibility and what things will be under autonomy.

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