Changes in Athletics with the New NCAA Constitution Approval

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) voted to approve a new constitution on January 20, 2022 that will pave the way for substantial changes to college sports when the new constitution becomes effective on August 1, 2022. Of the changes, the most notable will be the provision to grant the schools and conferences the authority to reorganize and restructure.

Other updates include granting each division oversight of its own budget, expenditures and financial distributions to its members. This new governance model will give the NCAA’s three divisions more power to govern themselves.

The revisions mark the first major changes to the NCAA’s governance model since 1997, which also granted greater autonomy to each division. Granting divisions more power to govern themselves will also lead to additional changes that will need to be adopted -- specifically, handling student-athlete benefits, including name, image and likeness (NIL). Last year’s Supreme Court ruling against the NCAA led the NCAA’s Board of Directors to adopt a temporary rule change to allow student-athletes to profit from NIL activity. At the time, the NCAA instructed schools to develop their own policies regarding NIL activity. Now, the new constitution officially places that responsibility on the NCAA’s three divisions, conferences and schools.

The new constitution still provides that student-athletes, “may not be compensated by a member institution for participating in a sport.” However, the new constitution does expand on the educational and other benefits permitted to student-athletes, as long as they fall within the guidelines established by the respective division that the student-athletes are a part of.  The additional changes are expected to be adopted by each division in the coming months, as each division has been working within its own internal committees and councils to address its new governance models.

Sources: usnews, nytimes, ncaa.org, espn.com

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