The NCAA Board of Directors endorsed a new governance model on Thursday. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The NCAA Board of Directors has endorsed a restructuring process for its governance system, the NCAA announced on Thursday.
The board endorsed changes to the NCAA's system that would "be more agile to adapt to changes in the division, give student-athletes a greater voice in decision-making and provide more autonomy to the five major conferences." Such changes have been rumored for months, particularly legislative autonomy for the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, but the Board of Directors' endorsement is the next step to implementing those changes.
Autonomy for the so-called "Power Five" conferences is meant to address the legislative power of those leagues in several key areas.
The NCAA's proposal would also restructure the Board of Directors.
Under the proposal, the division would still be led by a Board of Directors composed primarily of university presidents. However, new voices would be added: the chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; the chair of a new group tentatively called the Council; and the most senior Division I member of the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association’s executive committee. The council chair would always be an athletics director, giving that constituency an automatic spot on the board.
The Board decided it would not require conferences other than the Power Five to take a separate vote on legislating issues. Instead, the NCAA is seeking feedback on how the 27 other Division I conferences would apply decisions made by the Power Five. That could include a separation of the next five conferences (the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt) from those 27.
The NCAA said it will continue to seek feedback from member schools and tentatively plans to vote on a new Division I structure in August. A transition into a new model would begin by fall 2014, with a revamped council and board in place by the '15 NCAA Convention in January.
The NCAA also adopted a change to its transfer waiver policy on Thursday, allowing an extra year of eligibility for student-athletes transferring due to hardship instead of immediate eligibility.