The Division I Council this week approved a new process that will allow members to consider changes to some rules at a faster pace. The new process will be applied when rules are outdated or no longer justify the use of significant resources to monitor and enforce.
Rules modernization has been a strategic priority of the division for several years, as stated by the Division I Board of Directors, and the "modernization track" is expected to help the division achieve change sooner.
The track was proposed by the Division I Legislative Committee and its Modernization of the Rules Subcommittee. It allows certain changes to be introduced at a meeting one month and voted on as early as the next month, although the track might not be used every month. The recommended process would complement, not replace, the standard legislative process, by providing a way to quickly make changes that the division is prepared to make.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Council has been meeting virtually monthly, and sometimes more often. The fast pace of rules adjustments during the pandemic illustrated that the division can move quickly when necessary.
The new process is expected to help prepare the division for the work of the NCAA Constitution Committee, which will likely result in an accelerated pace of rules changes and will be conducted alongside the division's efforts to eliminate or adjust some of its more specific rules in favor of a broader approach to rules-making.
The current process for all rules adoption outside the emergency or noncontroversial processes involves introduction and publication of concepts in the summer, final proposal submission by Nov. 1 and Council votes in either January or April. To adopt something using the emergency or noncontroversial processes, larger majorities are needed for adoption. This new process would require only a simple majority.
Any recommendations that come through the new process that the Council believes would benefit from more time for review and membership input could be redirected to the traditional legislative process.
The Council extended a waiver for Division I men's and women's basketball programs to allow up to two noncoaching staff members to engage in coaching duties during on-court activities. The waiver will go into effect Monday and will expire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 playing season. To be eligible for the waiver, the positions must have existed as of Aug. 1, 2021.
Council members adopted noncontroversial legislation prohibiting men's and women's basketball teams from participating in regular-season competition after the beginning of the team's conference tournament that determines the conference's automatic entry into the Division I basketball championship.
The Council also modified a proposal it introduced in June related to women's basketball competition limits. The original proposal would have limited a team's regular-playing schedule with outside competition to one of the following:
- Twenty-eight contests (games and scrimmages) and one qualifying regular-season multiple-team event that does not exceed three contests, with an exemption for a championship game.
- Twenty-nine contests (games and scrimmages) and one qualifying regular-season multiple-team event that does not exceed two contests.
- Twenty-nine contests (games and scrimmages) during a playing season in which the team does not participate in a qualifying regular-season multiple-team event.
The Council's modification removed the exemption for a championship game in the option with 28 contests.
The proposal would, if adopted, provide more flexibility for women's basketball teams in reaching the 31-contest limit and may spur the creation of more opportunities for women's basketball teams to compete.