Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

January 15, 2014

NCAA ready to open debate on governance changes

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA is getting strategic.

It wants the nation's most powerful conferences to have more autonomy on some of college sports' thorniest issues. It wants athletic directors to have a stronger voice in decision-making. It wants the board of directors to focus on big-ticket items. And it wants everybody currently in Division I engaged in the debate, which begins Thursday at the NCAA's annual convention.

Welcome to the soon-to-be new NCAA.

"I think the board would like to charge others with doing more of the tactical and complicated details and the board should function more like a board should," Chairman Nathan Hatch told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "There are huge issues that face the NCAA — what's the nature of amateurism, what's the nature of injuries, what do you do when there's a strong critique that it's all about the money, what do you do to preserve academic integrity? That's what the board should be dealing with."

Usually, the board gets bogged down in legislative issues to combat the hot topics of the day.

Now, after months of discussing how to overhaul the NCAA's governance structure, the board is ready to put a broad proposal on the table.

The key is giving high-resource conferences and schools an opportunity to make some decisions on their own — such as implementing an athlete stipend toward the full cost of attendance, money that goes beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees.

In October 2011, the NCAA approved a measure allowing conferences to award athletes up to $2,000 more per year. Most of the big conferences quickly adopted the measure. But two months later, there was so much opposition from other Division I schools that the rule was put on hold.

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