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By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
The Division I Board of Directors reaffirmed Saturday its support for a $2,000 miscellaneous expense allowance, but directed the Student-Athlete Well-Being working group to come back to the presidents in April with recommendations for implementation.
The action by the Board eliminates the need for an override vote on this issue.
The Board also reaffirmed its support for multi-year scholarships.
Based on membership feedback, the presidents directed the miscellaneous expense allowance recommendations to include consideration of student-athlete financial need, Title IX compliance and the potential for stockpiling by universities. The new legislation would be effective for the 2013-14 academic year.
Factoring heavily into the Board decision as well were comments by individual student-athletes on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Those student-athletes urged presidents to continue their support for the concept but to find a way to help the student-athletes that need it the most.
“I was very moved by the student-athletes… They said consistently that we have this momentum going, and this action will allow us to keep that momentum,” said David Hopkins, president of Wright State. “We need to move forward.”
In April, the Board will consider new legislation reinstating the miscellaneous expense allowance that takes into account the membership’s concerns and those of the student-athletes.
The presidents reconsidered these rules because Division I member schools requested an override of both proposals. The rules were adopted in October, effective immediately. But enough schools objected to the miscellaneous expense allowance rule, which allowed schools to give student-athletes receiving the value of a full scholarship an additional $2,000 or the cost of attendance (whichever is less), to suspend that legislation in December 2011.
The multi-year scholarship legislation, however, was not suspended. After a brief discussion that centered on delaying the effective date, the presidents decided not to make any changes to the rule allowing schools to award athletics scholarships for more than a single year. Board members support the rule because of its student-athlete well-being focus and noted that the legislation was permissive, not a requirement.
NCAA President Mark Emmert noted that maintaining the proposal was more beneficial to student-athletes than delaying the rule.
“I recognize the complexities of this issue. The impact of staying the course is relatively minor,” Emmert said. “If we err, it will be on the side of students.”
That rule now goes to a vote of the entire Division I membership, which will be conducted online sometime in February.
In another area of the presidential reform agenda, the Board adopted the recommendation for a freeze on the number of contests and length of the playing season in all sports, accompanied by a study of the issue to include an examination of how basketball contests are counted. Once the study is complete, season lengths and contest numbers will not be reconsidered for a decade. The recommendation was forwarded by the Resource Allocation Working Group.
The group’s recommendation for limits on noncoaching personnel was tabled, with the direction that the working group come back with a refined proposal in April. The presidents are committed to taking some action in this area at that time and will take into account any feedback it receives between now and then.
Other recommendations from that group, however, the Board declined to adopt, including the elimination of foreign tours and a reduction in scholarships for football and women’s basketball.
The presidents listened to the voices of institutions and student-athletes who objected to many of the resource allocation proposals as running counter to a student-athlete well-being philosophy. The group did, however, refer the scholarship reduction issue to the Collegiate Model: Rules Working Group for further review as part of their wholesale examination of Bylaw 15.
The presidents agreed to impose a one-year moratorium on new legislation, except for items from the presidential reform agenda and any emergency legislation. Neither the Board nor the Legislative Council will consider new legislation in this period.
In further support of the Rules Working Group’s efforts to reform the Division I manual, the presidents endorsed the rules group’s approach to its review of the manual, a method based on the NCAA’s enduring values that relate each of the NCAA constitutional principles to specific outcomes. Those outcomes will direct the formation of operating bylaws. The goal is to start with the outcome and create bylaws that will help achieve that outcome.
The Board also: