Emmert, ADs discuss ‘a lot of change’
by Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports
GRAPEVINE, Texas – Inside a conference room Monday near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, NCAA president Mark Emmert laid out a timeline for what are expected to be massive changes in the governance of college athletics.
In a speech to the Faculty Athletics Representatives of the so-called “1A” organization, which encompasses schools in the top-level Football Bowl Subdivision, Emmert suggested that a new model for Division 1 could emerge out of presidential meetings in October, January and April, ready for implementation by next August.
Meeting downstairs in the same hotel, athletics directors were skeptical. Hardly anything moves that fast in the world of college athletics, especially something as intricate as NCAA governance.
But as they emerged Tuesday morning, there was not only a consensus that major changes were coming to the NCAA structure but that athletics directors, who have felt marginalized in high-level policy discussions the past several years, were going to have a much bigger voice in how the NCAA is reshaped.
“There was a time when we were real leaders,” said one BCS athletics director, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions this week were supposed to be private. “Because of the gyrations and the system reinventing itself over time, we were reduced to middle managers. Now we need to reemerge as leaders. We’re on the tarmac every day in this enterprise, and it’s very important to us.”
What direction the reform effort takes and exactly what role athletics directors play in reshaping the NCAA is unclear. But with virtual unanimity on the NCAA’s need to modernize some policies and have a more flexible governance structure – a conversation that officially started in July with comments from Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby – there’s motivation at all levels to enact significant change.
“If anything, the imperative for change is greater today than it was a few months ago,” Bowlsby said. “It’s just a matter of agreeing what that change is going to be.”
Though the discussions are still in the early stages, some key themes about NCAA reform … [For more on Mark Emmert, ADs discuss 'a lot of change' on horizon, click here.]