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RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Sports Writer
(AP) — The NCAA Board of Governors on Friday called for a constitutional conven- tion in November, the first step toward launching dramatic reform in how the sprawling, multibillion-dollar enterprise of college sports is governed for years to come.
In the wake of a stinging loss in the Supreme Court and radical changes to the way athletes can be compensated —- and with College Football Playoff expansion and major conference realignment already in motion — the NCAA said it wants to “reimagine” how it manages the needs of its more than 450,000 athletes.
“The goal is to make sure that we can align authority and responsibilities, get that right between campuses and the conferences and the national level,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a brief teleconference with reporters.
That begins with examining the NCAA’s very foundation, a six-article constitution that lays out the association’s purpose, principles and general policies. Action on proposed changes is expected to be taken at the NCAA’s January convention. “It’s evident we’re going take a hard look at the structure and governance of the association and have a discussion about values and a discussion of goals,” said Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, a member of the Division I Council. “We’ve talked about modernization of the rules, well, perhaps its time to modernize the association. So here we go.”
“I think it’s really the shifting legal environment, the economic environment, the political environment, all of that, that creates this opportunity in a lot of ways to stop and erase the black- board and draw a new chart again,” Emmert said. “And that’s a really, really powerful opportunity that can’t be wasted.”
A 22-person Constitution Review Committee with university presidents, conference commissioners, athletics directors and students from the more than 1,100 member schools in Divisions I, II and III will be created to redraft the constitution.
The committee will be appointed in August after each division nominates candidates.
“As the national landscape changes, college sports must also quickly adapt to become more responsive to the needs of college athletes and current member schools,” said Jack DeGioia, chair of the Board of Governors and president of Georgetown.
The NCAA does not have a track record of acting swiftly and its rulebooks have been ridiculed for years as being overly dense. Still, Steinbrecher called the timeline laid out by the board —- six months from creation of committee to acting on its proposals —- “aggressive.”