In another historic step for the association, more than 2,500 representatives from NCAA conferences and schools across all three divisions Monday discussed and provided feedback on a draft constitution at a virtual Special Convention.
Each division's representatives held separate discussions on the draft shared by the Constitution Committee and brought feedback to a session with all attendees. The Association-wide discussion also included a summary of input from the national Student-Athlete Advisory Committees, as well as a review of the next steps in the process of finalizing recommendations for the constitution.
"The draft recognizes that the NCAA encompasses public and private institutions and conferences of widely varying mission, size, resources and opportunities, and that governance must reflect these differences through the delegation of authorities and responsibilities to the divisions, conferences and member institutions," said former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Texas A&M President Robert M. Gates, an independent member of the Board of Governors and chair of the Constitution Committee.
"The draft provides the divisions authority and autonomy to address the current misalignment between the responsibilities and authorities of the NCAA. Each division will have the ability to reorganize and restructure itself."
The 28-member Constitution Committee, comprising conference and school representatives from all three divisions, will now revise the draft constitution and provide another opportunity for membership feedback. It will complete its work by submitting final recommendations to the Board of Governors by Dec. 15.
After the presentation of this new constitution, members will have opportunities to submit additional changes following current Association rules. This culminates in membership votes on the new constitution, which must receive two-thirds majority to pass in January at the 2022 Convention in Indianapolis.
In the months after the 2022 Convention, each division will adopt additional changes to be effective Aug. 1 for the following school year, with more changes expected after that date.
"Across the Association, we are working together toward the goal of modernizing the NCAA structure to meet the needs of our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics and for those who will follow them in the future," said John DeGioia, president at Georgetown and chair of the NCAA Board of Governors. "It has never been more imperative for us to demonstrate we have the capacity for self-governance in intercollegiate athletics than at this time."
The current draft provides significant authority to the divisions, giving each the ability to reorganize and restructure itself. It also ensures student-athlete positions and voting power on the Division I Board of Directors and Division II and Division III Presidents Councils.
The Constitution Committee has been meeting since Aug. 17 and has engaged closely with the membership on its work. A survey was sent to members in mid-August, and the feedback received has informed the deliberations of the committee.
The three student-athlete representatives on the Constitution Committee — Kendall Spencer, Madeleine McKenna and Megan Koch — also have played important roles in bringing their peers' perspectives and priorities to the table.
Each representative conducted several virtual town hall discussions to offer all student-athletes from their respective divisions a chance to provide feedback to bring to the committee. Additionally, more than 1,300 student-athlete leaders on a campus, conference or national SAAC responded to a survey that helped inform them and the committee.