By Michelle Brutlag Hosick
To further its pursuit of a structure that more effectively supports student-athletes, Division I leaders will hear in October from eight different groups with an interest in improving the way the division works.
On Oct. 29, the Division I Board of Directors and the division’s Presidential Advisory Group, composed of campus executives whose conferences rotate seats on the board, will collaborate with people representing different membership groups that currently don’t have a direct access point to the board about the redesign of the Division I governance system.
Groups participating include:
“We hope everyone comes prepared with real solutions to the problems facing Division I: feelings of disconnectedness, a sometimes cumbersome rules-making process and philosophical differences between schools with very different demographics,” said Nathan Hatch, chair of the Division I Board and president at Wake Forest University. “Our goal is to see what people are thinking and, with that information, determine where the focus should be.”
The information the board receives from the groups will help shape the agenda for the Jan. 16-17 Division I Governance Dialogue, a town hall-style meeting planned in conjunction with the 2014 NCAA Convention in San Diego. All Division I members are invited to attend the session.
Registration for both the Dialogue and the NCAA Convention will open Sept. 16. Division I members will be able to register for only the Dialogue, but that type of registration will not grant access to Convention activities.
The Division I Board of Directors also wants to hear from the membership (for example individuals, conferences, councils and cabinets) through a governance-redesign survey, which will be sent to specific members. The board will use information submitted through the online membership survey to guide its discussion in January as well.
The survey asks recipients to identify what the governance structure should look like and why, held together with the values shared by Division I. Included in the survey is a question about whether a single structure can adequately serve the broad range of Division I members or if multiple groups or structures are needed.
The survey also provides Division I members with a few considerations to keep in mind when developing their recommendations, including the role of conferences, simplicity of structure and process, and balancing unique needs with common interests.
That survey opened today, Sept. 3, and recipients are asked to complete it by Nov. 15.
“The membership has a chance to provide us with their in-depth observations about what works and doesn’t work in today’s system,” Hatch said. “What they tell us will help shape the conversation we have as a division in January.”
January’s event will include extensive discussion and straw votes on areas of possible consensus. If strong consensus for one particular path is noted, proposals could be formulated for broad consideration in the spring, with a board vote in April 2014. If a clear consensus is not apparent in January, the board could call all Division I member schools to a special session in the summer of 2014.