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NCAA Convention set to pave way for college sports' future

At the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis this week, the organization will vote tomorrow on the newly rewritten constitution. If approved, it will set the table for the transformation committee to bring forth its best ideas to reshape D-I. The transformation committee will meet with the D-I BOD tomorrow to further clarify the committee’s mission (Michael Smith, SBJ College). THE ATHLETIC's Nicole Auerbach writes the new constitution is a "tangible and necessary step in a reform process that was first broached last summer," but this is "only the first step." The D-I transformation committee meeting tomorrow "will actually chart the course for the future." SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said it is about thinking "more broadly about solutions, not silos." Connecting the "dots -- the how and why various constituents are linked in the governance model, what areas a national office can and should regulate, accountability for the role of the NCAA president, etc. -- is what’s important now." Ohio Univ. AD Julie Cromer said that it is "difficult to predict outcomes from the transformation committee at this stage." Auerbach notes reforming the collegiate athletic model is "not a new idea nor a novel concept, although acting upon it is." The Knight Commission will host a session tomorrow morning to "educate administrators about its financial plan to tie revenue directly to education and athlete opportunities" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/19).

DIFFERENT APPROACH: In Knoxville, Blake Toppmeyer notes LEAD1, an association that represents all 130 FBS ADs, has petitioned the NCAA D-I BOD to "change its infractions approach so that schools that cooperate with NCAA investigations would enjoy stronger protections." On the surface, that "sounds fair." NCAA infractions cases "proceed at glacial speed." By the time sanctions are levied, the offenders often "have been fired or moved on, meaning postseason bans usually affect coaches and athletes who weren’t around when the infractions occurred." LEAD1’s proposal "doesn’t just protect athletes." The organization’s recommendations also "protect ADs and administrators who should be responsible for monitoring their coaches’ conduct." Their "self-serving recommendations would allow universities that employ rulebreakers to steer clear of the stiffest penalties, as long as they throw overboard the 'bad actors.'" But if the "harshest penalties fall on the shoulders of 'bad actors,' and if universities gain protections against postseason bans, what prevents universities from replacing one cheating coach with another?" (KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL, 1/19).

ALSO AT THE CONVENTION: SBJ's Smith notes Horizon League Commissioner Julie Roe Lach sits on the women’s basketball oversight committee, which met yesterday with NCAA Senior VP/Basketball Dan Gavitt and VP/Women's Basketball Lynn Holzman to discuss preparations for the women’s basketball tournament. Lach described “a significant effort to provide an outstanding experience, not just at the Women’s Final Four in Minneapolis, but throughout the tournament.” Meanwhile in Indianapolis, expect just about everything, from meals to player gifts, to be the same for the men and women. Lach: “Significant progress has been made toward really moving the needle toward a more equitable situation” (Smith, SBJ College).

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