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NCAA Board Unanimously Accepts Constitution Recommendations

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The NCAA Board of Governors on Thursday unanimously agreed to accept the final recommendations from the Constitution Committee for a new constitution to govern college sports.

The foundational document was developed in coordination with feedback from NCAA members during several steps since the summer, including at November's Special Convention and through surveys and meetings over the past several months.

The entire membership will vote on the constitution Jan. 20 at the 2022 NCAA Convention. The formal legislative proposal will be shared with members Jan. 7. 

In a memo to NCAA member schools and conferences, Board of Governors chair and Georgetown President Jack DeGioia wrote, "This process has been an example of how we can work together to modernize college sports and meet the needs of students engaged in intercollegiate athletics — today and for the future. The ratification of a new constitution in January will unlock the ability for the divisions to rewrite rules for each division by August that will enable us to realize the goal of transforming NCAA governance to better serve our students."

The final recommendations for a new constitution incorporate changes from the second draft of the constitution shared Dec. 7, including:

  • Clarifying that student-athlete Board of Governors members must represent both men's and women's sports.
  • Explicitly stating that the constitution does not restrict or limit schools from having missions and policies consistent with their legal rights and obligations as institutions of higher learning. 
  • Emphasizing equal access as part of the diversity and inclusion principle. Similarly, the gender equity principle remains distinct from diversity, equity and inclusion to give priority to each. 
  • Stating that each member school must make its name, image and likeness policies publicly available, in addition to providing them to student-athletes. 
  • Streamlining language around independent medical care for student-athletes.
  • Further clarifying the role of faculty athletics representatives as a reporting contact for student-athletes independent of the athletics department, but not a legal advocate.
  • Clarifying language around ensuring to the greatest extent possible that any imposed penalties do not punish programs or student-athletes not involved or implicated in the infractions.

Similar to the first two drafts, this version of the constitution includes new concepts such as the number of Board of Governors members and student-athletes serving on all three presidential committees (Division I Board of Directors, Division II Presidents Council and Division III Presidents Council).

It also codifies some existing priorities and principles into the constitution for the first time. It prohibits pay-for-play but embraces providing additional educational and other benefits, including those for name, image and likeness. It maintains existing revenue allocations and championship opportunities for each division, and each division would have oversight of its own budget, expenditures and distribution to its members. The final version of the constitution also underscores the importance of both physical and mental health and emphasizes diversity, inclusion and gender equity.

In the months after the constitution is voted upon at the 2022 NCAA Convention, each division will adopt additional changes to support its own governance model. The new constitution would be effective Aug. 1.

For more on the final draft of the new constitution, visit ncaa.org.

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