By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA Division I Board of Directors still believes scholarship limits should be expanded. It just wants time to work out the details.
In a surprise move Saturday, the board delayed implementation of a $2,000 expense allowance, opting instead to ask the working group to make a modified proposal in April.
“What I heard was the board’s resolve with the concept (of the miscellaneous expense allowance) and moving forward with it, but giving us a chance to work out concerns of the implementation,” said Middle Tennessee State President Sidney McPhee, who chairs the subcommittee that made recommendations Saturday.
Essentially, the board heeded membership’s advice to slow things down rather than continuing to charge full steam ahead.
Supporters insist that the 14-4 vote wasn’t an outright rejection of the philosophy.
The complaints began pouring in almost as soon as conferences were given the option of providing an additional $2,000 toward the full cost of attendance, money that covers expenses beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees.
The rule was approved by the board in October. By late December, 160 schools had signed on to override legislation, enough opposition to force suspension of the rule and reconsideration Saturday.
Schools had three primary concerns:
- Title IX compliance
- How the stipend would apply to sports that use partial scholarships and
- When the rule would go into effect
NCAA President Mark Emmert supported clarifying the language on Title IX and partial scholarships.
But less than 24 hours after athletic directors from Missouri and California argued publicly for a delay to avoid busting budgets, the board took their side instead of making the expected move and adopting the modified proposal.
“The point is to make sure we respond to the membership’s concerns,” Emmert said on the final day of the NCAA’s annual convention. “We just want to make sure we get it right.”
If a new proposal passes in April, it would go back to the membership for another 60-day comment period. Opponents would then have a second chance to force an override vote, possibly delaying the legislation even longer — certainly not the pace Emmert expected when he started pushing for swift changes in August.
The delay will cause at least one immediate discrepancy between college athletes.
Recruits who signed national letters-of-intent in November will be able to collect the money they were promised. Those who sign in February and April will not get that money, said David Berst, the NCAA’s vice president for governance in Division I.
The board had full agenda on the final day of the NCAA’s annual convention Saturday in Indianapolis.
—Miscellaneous expense allowance: The concept hasn’t changed, but after Saturday’s 14-4 vote, the timing will. Instead of approving language modifications and sending it back for a 60-day comment period, as expected, the board put the rule back on hold and asked a working group to offer a new proposal in April. Recruits who signed in November will receive the money they were promised. Recruits who sign in February and April will not. Supporters say the board still backs the philosophy of providing extra money to athletes for living expenses. The NCAA says it won’t take effect until the 2013-14 academic year.
—Multiyear scholarships: Despite having 82 schools sign onto an override petition after the rule change was approved in October, the board sent the proposal to members for a straight up-or-down vote. Previously, scholarships were renewed annually. Under the new model, athletes could keep scholarships for the duration of their eligibility regardless of their athletic performance. It takes a five-eighths majority of 355 voting members to reject the rule.
—Scholarship reductions: The board rejected a proposal that would have cut scholarships in the Football Bowl Subdivision from 85 to 80, the Football Championship Subdivision from 63 to 60 and from 15 to 13 in women’s basketball.
—Foreign trips: The board also rejected a measure that would have stopped teams from participating in overseas tours beginning this July.
—Agents: There’s finally closure on the so-called Cam Newton loophole, a reference to the ruling that allowed the Heisman Trophy winner to finish the 2010 season after allegations emerged his father tried to make money off of his son’s recruitment, the NCAA acted. The board approved a measure to include parents in the definition of agents.
—Summer basketball: The board approved the leadership council’s new model for summer basketball. The measure allows coaches to spend eight hours per week on the court with players enrolled in summer school. Skills instruction will be limited to two hours per week for a maximum of eight weeks. Eligible players would have to be enrolled in summer school, or maintain a 2.2 college GPA and have 30 credit hours after their freshman year, 50 percent of their degree requirements completed by the end of their sophomore year or 75 percent of the degree requirements completed by the end of their junior year. Schools also can conduct on-campus tryouts during regularly-scheduled practices if the recruit is a high-school senior or a transfer from another college (four-year school or junior college), has completed the basketball season and is visiting the campus.
—Non-coaching staffs: The proposal to trim the number of non-coaching staff members in football to 12 and men’s basketball to six was tabled. The board has asked a working group to make a new proposal in April.
—Season length: The board approved a moratorium of up to 10 years on extending the number of allowable games during a season. It will conduct a study to look at how basketball contests are counted and what the ideal season-length should be.
—Enforcement changes: The board got its first official report from a working group trying to change the enforcement business. Possible changes, expected to be formally proposed in August, include a multi-tiered infractions structure, penalty guidelines to create more consistency in punishments, aggravating factors that could add to the severity of the charges or penalties and mitigating circumstances could lessen the charges or penalties. The infractions committee composition could change, too. Subcommittee members say they want to increase the number of infractions committee members, rely on multiple panels to hear cases and use video conferencing and summary agreements to expedite hearings.
—Rulebook edits: The group working on possible edits to the 400-plus page rulebook also gave its first report to the board. While details were scant, the subcommittee said it would focusing the changes around three principles: are the rules meaningful and consequential, are they enforceable and do they help student-athletes. The board wants rules that maintain the current college model of amateurism. And to help, the board added a one-year moratorium on all legislation other than that from the presidential initiatives or through emergency legislation.