NCAA calls November constitutional convention to discuss overhauling how college sports are governed

·2 min read

The NCAA appears to be moving quickly on something.

The NCAA said Friday that it would be calling a special constitutional convention in November to discuss changes to the way that college sports are governed. The governing body will have a 22-person panel that includes administrators and athletes to potentially draft a new constitution for the NCAA and its member schools to follow.

“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,” NCAA board of governors chair Jack DeGioia said in a statement. “This effort will position the NCAA to continue providing meaningful opportunities for current college athletes and those for generations to come.”

Any changes recommended in November could be approved in January. The NCAA's release regarding the convention called it a "historic" move.

"This is not about tweaking the model we have now," NCAA president Mark Emmert said. "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."

The potential wholesale changes come after NCAA enacted a waiver earlier this summer allowing athletes to make money off their name and image rights. Athletes are now allowed to get endorsement income. All-around women's gymnastics gold medalist Sunisa Lee will be able to compete at Auburn while reaping the benefits of being the Olympic champion. 

The NCAA's self-examination also comes after it was demolished in a 9-0 Supreme Court decision against it. The Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA in NCAA v. Alston and said that the governing body's rules limiting athlete compensation violated anti-trust laws. The waiver allowing athletes to make sponsor and endorsement income came as the NCAA was attempting to work with the federal government for national rules governing athlete endorsements.

The federal law was desired by the NCAA because myriad state laws regulating athlete income were set to go into effect in July. The NCAA had been so slow to change its outdated amateurism model that states — starting with California — took it into their own hands to make sure athletes could get income from third parties. 

The constitutional changes the NCAA may be making later this year are also bound to stretch further than simply athlete compensation. They could affect the realms like rules enforcement as the NCAA is still tied up with many high-profile infractions cases. We'll see what those changes will look like in the coming months. 

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