NCAA makes top-level changes

A little over a week ago the National Collegiate Athletic Association (the nonprofit organization that helps to lead hundreds of colleges in their athletics programs) held a convention whose intent was to discuss their new directive board governance policy change.

Portland State’s head of the athletic department Torre Chisholm and professor Bob Lockwood, the university’s faculty athletic representative, went to represent the school and to offer input to the massive decision that the organization is planning to make. “Typically conventions have a lot of representation from division II and division III schools,” Chisholm told the Vanguard, “but this time there was just a huge showing of division I schools just due to the governance discussion.”

Aside from the new structure of the governing board, the convention focused on whether or not to allow schools within the NCAA to make more decisions on their own, without having to ask for permission or be restricted by blanket legislation. Although having more control over their own programs seems like it would be a good thing, recent events have shown that it causes massive issues with other institutions.

Recently, some schools with additional funding have agitated to be able to award their football players an additional $2000 stipend on top of their athletic scholarship to help pay for many of the hidden costs that are included in a college education. In order to do this, they needed approval from the NCAA. After some time, they approved the new policy with no consideration as to how schools with lesser funding were going to be able to pay for it. This lack of communication within the current NCAA system has resulted in poorly made decisions for a while, and is a big reason why it is under careful revision currently. The movement to offer these subsidies was quickly reversed by an overwhelming majority vote from its members.

But what if schools were given more freedom, and could make a change in their own program without affecting any one else? If schools that have the ability to award students a better scholarship, why not let them offer it?

“Here is a good example,” Chisholm explained, “According to current [NCAA] policy, a school can only award up to 85 scholarships to students. But what happens when schools with higher funding give out 100? Those top 60 schools will end up absorbing a large amount of premium players, and schools with lesser funds may get players who just aren’t at the same level.”

Not only would it mean less talented players drafted into Portland State, but would also mean that our program may need to pull players from division II and III, removing talent from those pools as well. It would simply give too much of an advantage to certain schools and totally eliminate lesser funded schools from the running.

Thankfully, as of now, everything is still very much undecided. “We actually did a lot of polling,” Chisholm said, “to get a sense of general support they had for some of the concepts.” The NCAA wants to spend the next four to five months revising various policy changes based on the polls and ideas gained from the convention. Their goal is to have a new structure in place by next year.

There doesn’t appear to be any major immediate impact to the PSU athletic department following the conference. Once this new board is put into place next year, however, it will all depend on what kind of legislation they choose to enact. For now though, the NCAA is going through positive internal changes, and continues to act in the best interest of their members.