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GrayRobinson Higher Education Team: NCAA Drafts New Constitution

Submitted by Firm:
GrayRobinson, P.A.
Firm Contacts:
Nicolas J. Watkins, Susan T. Spradley
Article Type:
Legal Update

Insight | November 8, 2021

Today, the Chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Constitution Committee issued a memorandum to the NCAA membership announcing the release of a new draft constitution. The constitution attempts to address the reality that student-athletes in different divisions, and even in the same division but different conferences, have unique needs. The constitution attempts to grant greater autonomy to each division to address those needs. A constitutional convention will be held virtually on Monday, November 15 to give the membership an opportunity to comment on the draft. The committee will then revise the constitution based on that feedback, give the membership a second opportunity for feedback, and submit final recommendations to the Board of Governors by Wednesday, December 15. A formal vote on the constitution will take place at the NCAA’s January meeting. If approved, The Division I Board of Directors will amend the rules governing Division I, and the Division II and Division III Presidents Councils will amend the rules governing their respective divisions by August  2022 to insure consistency with the new constitution.

Some of the new provisions in the constitution include:

  • Reducing the number of Board of Governors members from twenty one to nine.
  • Having one constitution govern all three divisions but still reducing the size of the document by three-fourths.
  • Adding student-athletes to the NCAA board and each of the divisional leadership bodies.
  • More clearly stating the Association’s priorities.
  • Providing the divisions the authority to reorganize and restructure themselves.

Some of the concepts being retained but modified include:

  • Allowing student-athletes to continue licensing their name, image, and likeness while still prohibiting pay-for-play.
  • Confirming presidents and chancellors are still responsible for institutional control.
  • Reaffirming existing revenue allocations and championship opportunities for each division, and assuring that each division has oversight of its own budget, expenditures, and revenue distribution to its members.
  • Affirming the importance of student-athlete mental and physical health.
  • Placing new emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and gender equity.

The Higher Education practice group at GrayRobinson will be following the progress of the new constitution and will provide updates. Please contact a member of our team if you have any questions.