Emmert says NCAA efforts to reform not motivated by fear

Nov 15, 2021, 2:58 AM | Updated: 5:00 pm

FILE - The NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis is shown in this Thursday, March 12, 2020. The NCAA on...

FILE - The NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis is shown in this Thursday, March 12, 2020. The NCAA on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, set the stage for a dramatic restructuring of college sports that will give each of its three divisions the power to govern itself. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

The NCAA’s move to restructure college sports is not being driven by fear, but rather a desire to seize an opportunity to tackle issues that have been building for decades, NCAA president Mark Emmert said Monday,

“There’s few things that are being discussed right now that have been discussed off and on at least for the 10 years that I’ve been involved in the NCAA,” Emmert said during a brief news conference. “But yet at the same time, we’ve never had a moment where we had state legislators, congressional actors, the courts, the economic dynamics, and even the pandemic, all providing a very important catalyst for change.”

Emmert’s words came after the NCAA’s online constitutional convention, during which the entire membership of more than 1,100 schools in its three divisions weighed in on the proposed, scaled-down version of the association’s foundational document.

Emmert called for the constitutional convention over the summer, not long after the U.S. Supreme Court dealt the NCAA a potentially crippling blow. In upholding a lower court’s ruling in an antitrust case, the high court left the association vulnerable to lawsuits any time it makes a new rule the impacts athletes.

Rewriting the constitution is the first step toward decentralizing college sports’ governance and deemphasizing the role of the NCAA.

“It has been a long time, 50 years, a half a century, since there was this thorough a look at what college sports is and how it should function,” Emmert said. “The inaction of the association at this particular moment would be very, very poorly received and it should be, frankly. If you have that much change going on, you darn well be better be ready and willing and able to change.”

The college sports administrators who make up the constitution committee, including Georgetown President Jack DeGioia, who is the chairman of the NCAA’s Board of Governors, spent about four hours presenting the proposal to members and taking questions.

“I … thought it was a very successful first take, especially having never done anything quite like this in the history of the association,” Emmert said.

Last week, the NCAA unveiled a proposed 18-page constitution that more narrowly focuses the mission of the largest college sports organization in the United States while also providing a path for each of its three divisions to govern themselves more.

After two feedback periods, the proposed constitution could be amended. The plan is for the full membership to vote on it at the January NCAA convention in Indianapolis.

Then comes the hard part. Leaders in each of the NCAA’s three divisions will dig into the task of restructuring and reimaging how college sports should be run.

At the Division I level, where college sports has also become a multimillion-dollar business for some schools, dramatic changes could happen. Everything from how revenue is shared, how schools and sports align, access to championship events and what is required to be a Division I member will be on the table.

That includes what to do with major college football, which largely operates independent of the NCAA and rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars that’s shared by 130 Bowl Subdivision schools. The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a group of former and current college sports administrators, has recommended FBS be separated from the NCAA altogether.

DeGioia said the constitution committee met with representatives of the Knight Commission, but those types of structural changes are for the next phase of NCAA reform.

“We felt this is a Division I matter that needs to be dealt with by the Division I leadership,” DeGioia said. “And what we’re hoping we’re creating is a framework where that can most effectively be addressed at Division I.”

The Division I Transformation Committee has been chosen, led by Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey and Ohio University Athletic Director Julie Cromer. The hope is for each division to have changes that can take effect by August 2022.

The new constitution continues to refer to college athletes as student-athletes, a term created decades ago as the NCAA tried to make a clear distinction between its amateurs and paid professionals.

Emmert said there was significant discussion about dropping the term from official NCAA usage, but the athletes themselves pushed to keep it.

“We were really, really passionate about that title,” former California University of Pennsylvania volleyball player Madeleine McKenna said during the convention Q&A session with membership.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com


More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

Emmert says NCAA efforts to reform not motivated by fear