August 3, 2021

By Curry Sexton and Greg Whiston

On Friday, July 30, the NCAA Board of Governors announced that it would convene a special constitutional convention in November to provide recommendations for restructuring the NCAA across all three divisions. It is expected that the Board of Governors will propose dramatic changes to the NCAA Constitution to reimagine aspects of college sports so the NCAA can more effectively meet the needs of current and future collegiate student-athletes.

Jack DeGioia, Chair of the Board of Governors and President of Georgetown University, said, “As the national landscape changes, college sports must also quickly adapt to become more responsive to the needs of college athletes and current member schools. This effort will position the NCAA to continue providing meaningful opportunities for current college athletes and those for generations to come.”

NCAA President Mark Emmert said, “This is not about tweaking the model we have now. This is about wholesale transformation so we can set a sustainable course for college sports for decades to come. We need to stay focused on the thing that matters most — helping students be as successful as they can be as both students and athletes.”

A 22-person Constitution Review Committee will spearhead the re-drafting of the NCAA Constitution. The Committee will feature presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, and students from each of the three divisions, as well as independent members of the NCAA Board of Governors. The Committee will be appointed in August and immediately begin its work. In November, the Committee is expected to present a working draft of its proposals for membership feedback, which will be discussed at a special virtual convention to be convened no later than November 15. The final proposals will be provided to the NCAA Board of Governors by December 15 and scheduled for votes in January by the full NCAA membership at the NCAA Convention.

The anticipated changes likely come as a result of recent developments in collegiate athletics, including the United States Supreme Court Decision in Alston, the changes in name, image and likeness rules, and imminent conference realignment. Stay tuned for further developments in the ever-changing world of collegiate athletics.

This article is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. The authors of this article, Curry Sexton and Greg Whiston, are members of Seigfreid Bingham’s Sports and Entertainment Group and routinely represent clients in collegiate athletics. If you or your organization have questions about the impact of the NCAA’s most recent announcement, please contact either author at 816-421-4460.