When the new Division I Board of Directors first convenes under a new governance system, the Steering Committee for Governance wants an athletics director, student-athlete and faculty athletics representative to be present – and cast votes.
The steering committee met March 18 and continued its work toward delivering a proposed governance model to the membership this spring.
While the steering committee believes the board should be comprised primarily of university presidents, it supports adding new voices to the table, including the chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; the chair of a new group tentatively called the Council; and the highest-ranking Division I member of the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association’s executive committee. The Council chair will always be an athletics director, which gives that group an automatic spot on the board.
“The steering committee believes the non-presidents on the board should be defined by their positions within different organizations,” said steering committee and board chair Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University. “But we feel very strongly that they should be voting members of the board.” The presidents would retain the right to meet in executive session if necessary.
The committee members also discussed extensively the areas of legislative autonomy for the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pacific-12 Conference and Southeastern Conference under the proposed model. The members of the steering committee, all of them Division I university presidents, are working closely with the conferences to ensure that the areas of autonomy are driven by the values and principles of student-athlete welfare and not competitive advantage.
Weighted Votes on Council
Under the proposed new model for governing Division I, each member of the Board of Directors would have one vote. On the Council, however – which has final say on most issues, though those will remain subject to board review – members’ votes will be weighted. The suggested system would split the FBS into two factions, giving five conferences four votes and the other five two votes. The remaining 22 conferences and the two student-athletes proposed for the Council would each count once. Under this structure, no single group would have a majority.
Committee members acknowledged that the full Division I membership will need time to explore the implications of legislative autonomy in specific areas before the board can approve any proposals, and expressed hope that those conversations can take place during the upcoming spring conference meetings.
The makeup of the ‘Council’
The committee also discussed the mechanics of the Council, the group that is expected to conduct the day-to-day legislative functions of the division. The Council’s decisions would not require approval from the board, but the board would have the opportunity to review decisions to ensure they are consistent with the values of the division.
The proposal calls for a Council composed of 34 members, one from each of the 32 conferences and two student-athletes. All members would have votes, but the votes would be weighted. (SEE CHART)
The committee will continue meeting in person and via conference call, with the goal of forwarding a potential model to the Division I membership at the April 24 board meeting.
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