As delegates from NCAA member schools and conferences prepare to vote on a new constitution at the 2022 NCAA Convention, three leaders in the movement to reform college sports sat down with correspondent Andy Katz on this week's Social Series to discuss the importance of next week's vote and why the work is just beginning for each division.
Georgia President Jere Morehead (Division I), Minot State President Steven Shirley (Division II) and Hamline President Fayneese Miller (Division III) all serve on the NCAA Board of Governors and chair the highest-ranking committees within their NCAA divisions, so they have seen the process play out since the board called for a Special Convention last summer.
"The constitution that was written in 1996 reflects a reality that is no longer the reality of today. It does not include the voice of students, and it was time to recognize that students need to play a more prominent role in the NCAA," Miller said. "It's important that we lead the effort, not someone else."
The path to a new constitution was a collaborative one, led by the NCAA Constitution Committee but informed by meetings, conversations, surveys and other forms of feedback at multiple points over the past several months.
NCAA members first discussed an initial draft of the constitution during a Special Convention on Nov. 15. The entire membership will vote on a new version Jan. 20.
"We recognize that our membership is ready for change," Morehead said. "This document that has been worked on for many, many months and has gone through several iterations is the vehicle by which we can ultimately bring about transformative change in the NCAA."
If the new constitution is ultimately supported by NCAA members, much work remains for each of the divisions. A new constitution will provide divisions the flexibility they need to review their rules and ensure that changes are consistent with the principles agreed upon in the new constitution. The work of rewriting rules for each division must be completed by August, in time for the start of the new academic year.
"One of the things we focus on in Division II is Life in the Balance," Shirley said. "That balance is really important. It's important to our 300-plus institutions in Division II, but it's also important to those student-athletes.
"I see an awful lot within the new constitution that I think fits in really nicely with the principles and hallmarks of all three divisions."
Miller, who served on the Constitution Committee, agreed the document will allow the divisions the opportunity to structure themselves as needed.
"I think that all of the divisions were looking for change and looking for 'How do we structure our own identity within the context of the NCAA?' This constitution allows us, each division, to structure (our) own identity within that context.
"I will have to say, if we think the work is done, it's not. We still have lots more work to do."
For more on the 2022 NCAA Convention, visit ncaa.org/convention.