NCAA Division I
Divisional Concerns in Restructuring
(Monday, June 6 --10:30-11:30 a.m.)
Can I have your attention, please. I'm Warner Alford, director of athletics at the University of Mississippi. I'll be your moderator at this session on "Divisional Concerns in Restructuring". Your panel today will be Jim Jarrett from Old Dominion University; Roy Kramer, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; Bucky Wagner from Georgia Southern University; and Tom Yeager, commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association. We have Mr. Steve Morgan from the NCAA as our resource man. During this hour, Cedric might come back in for some questions. I'd like to call first on Jim Jarrett.
Thank you, Warner. We appreciate from a I-AAA perspective the opportunity to be a part of and to have input into the restructuring issue. I would like to review some points that are of concern to I-AAA and have some discussion later. The first thing in our group that we feel is very important is the concept that streamlining governance is a good idea, but that concept should not be used to camouflage a shift to the balance of power. Even though democracy is not the most streamlined process, it is vital that we continue the governance of the NCAA with the one vote per school concept. I was going through a number of restructuring history lessons preparing for this and I came across a comment made in 1984 -- "Maybe we would have agreed on most issues and if we did not, the floor and the microphone would have been open and all the democratic process on the convention floor would have had to resolve it. I have no quarrel with the democratic process, but we will forever fight for the right to be heard." One of our concerns is that we don't restructure to the point where the one vote for each school is eliminated and where people do not have the right to be heard.
We feel the continuing of governance by divisions and sub-divisions with appropriate checks and balance is in place makes sense with regards to the legislative process. To relegate any institution's athletic program to an inferior position in governance or competitively because they do not have football, would be the equivalent of downgrading the certification of MIT's engineering program because they do not have a medical school. The impact on student-athletes is very important at our school in this regard. We believe that football autonomy is important, but it should not carry over to other sports. If we do restructure in ways beyond football, we need to give consideration to anointing I-AAA as an authorized legislative body and make it possible for us to vote, which we now cannot do other than in the general sessions.
There are some universities in Division I who probably do not belong in Division I and some who may belong that have no realistic access at this time. What criteria should be used if we consider realignment? I was a member of the past Restructuring Committee that attempted to define those criteria, while at the same time, correlating with the Cost Containment Committee's efforts. The conflict in revenue and expenditure issues created great difficulty in trying to do this and I would like to suggest to you that maybe revenue issues and expenditures should not be the criteria used if we try to realign. Such things as success in NCAA championships, graduation rates, Title IX compliance, peer review results, may be better ways of looking at that.
Our major concern in the restructuring process is the reassessment of the committee structure of the NCAA. Some ofus feel that we need to determine if social reform and level playing field is the driving force for committee appointment or expertise relating to the committee purpose. A committee selection process tied to quotas by gender, race, geography,
NCAA division, title ofposition, etc., make it very difficult to appoint the most qualified people for committees. It would seem there would be a better way of doing this to insure expertise and equity .Consideration should be given to committees by division rather than by the entire NCAA membership as it relates to such issues as student welfare, gender equity, etc. We also believe that sports committees must include more sports administrators. We are making headway on this one. The way the committees interface with this whole process in very important to us. Thank you.
About seven or eight months ago, after the NCAA issued its call for plans to restructure from all segments of the membership, a group of four or five commissioners who have been around intercollegiate athletics and through about 400 different proposals for restructuring the NCAA met for two and one-half days. The purpose of that meeting was to say that we did not have any national governing organization of intercollegiate athletics and to start from scratch. Most of us have been through Division IV, IV-A, I-A, I-AAA and all the other ideas that have come out of time, none of which really
restructured the NCAA, but simply put people in different pockets with the same problems and same governance problems and the same governance structure. As a result, we put together a plan.
It's interesting to note that after all of those months have passed, that other than some letters of concern about that plan, no other plan of restructuring has been put before the NCAA.
I'm not here to say this is a perfect plan. I'm not here to say it's the fmal plan. It was never intended to be, but it was a plan to be a beginning, to be a foundation for consideration. I will simply address it as it exists with regards to how it affects various constituency groups. The most significant part of the plan is to realize the very thing that Cedric Dempsey said this morning, that the NCAA has continued to grow. It has grown by more than 100 members in Division III and that it has become a very, very large organization. Much the same in democratic government, at some point, the town meeting is not the way to do business. We believe that the NCAA has arrived at the time when a town meeting is not the way to appropriately address the significant issues that particularly face those institutions that predominately pressured by big time athletics and pressured by the necessity to fmance those programs almost entirely by auxiliary income of tickets, fund raising and things of that nature.
As a result, we began to look at a representative form of governing to provide as broad base of representation as possible, but to put the governance structure, and the governance structure only, with regard to Division I, primarily in the area of those institutions that had the most significant equity in the financial structure of the NCAA. That is, those institutions that have dominated the NCAA championships. I was in Jim's comment on success. We're going to restructure the NCAA based on success. We took those statistics and looked at them in great detail. I will tell you that the equity conferences proposed in this plan dominate almost entirely the NCAA Division I championships in many events, perhaps in most events. That's a criteria that is well worth taking a look at. But, when you take a look at that, it directly relates to revenue. We would all like to say that we're not related to the dollar bill. We're all related to the dollar bill and sooner or later, we have to understand that. When we begin to restructure, the dollar bill has to be a significant factor. It may not sound good and we'll write a document that sounds much more idealistic, but when you and I do our daily job, we center our daily job around the dollar bill and we will continue to do so for a long time to come.
We looked at the issue of Title IX. That's a major part of what this is about to give the institutions total freedom to react to Title IX on your campus, not based on what the NCAA tells you to do, but what you could do on your campus within the
financial structure of your institution. That's a major part of this proposal for this plan.
When we started, we started with one primary precept in mind and that was the issue that has always separated the issue of restructuring, and once again, it's been a revenue string from the NCAA. So, as a primary principle, which would be defined by constitutional provision, the revenue from the NCAA basketball tournament would be distributed identically to the way it is distributed today and would increase or decrease percentage wise, depending on the basis of that revenue stream in the future. Secondly, those institutions that currently participate in the Division I basketball tournament would be grand fathered into that tournament. That's controversial. There are those who want to take Division I down in significant numbers, but as a means to provide the current revenue strings for institutions, that's very significant for some institutions, we placed that guarantee in as a principle to start with from the very beginning. That is guaranteed.
The most significant thing we talked about was criteria for membership. Those institutions that are in Division I at the present time are grandfathered in by the criteria of membership. There will be no sports sponsorship requirement. We believe this gives to many institutions the greatest advantage of this entire process. Whatever conference you're in can stay in Division I and play in the Division I basketball tournament and your particular conference or institution may sponsor two sports for men and six sports for women or, three for men and five for women or, whatever you want to sponsor. That's your responsibility and you are still a participant in the Division I basketball tournament. This gives you unlimited ability to
adjust to Title IX in a way that you do not have today with the restrictions of sports sponsorships and contests sponsorships and all of the other criteria that the NCAA has seen fit to provide for divisional membership.
As I indicated earlier, the concept would be to provide a representative form of government whereby all segments of Division I were represented, however, the equity members of that group would maintain a majority control in the governance only of the operation of the NCAA in Division I. However, there would be certain constitutional provisions such as revenue distribution that would be protected by a constitutional provision and thereby could only be modified by constitutional action of the entire membership of the group and would require a two-thirds vote of the entire group to change those provisions which directly relate to those other institutions. We feel this gives everybody the greatest opportunity to manage their programs. We would simply take Division II and III, allocate the funds that are presently being allocated from the NCAA to
Divisions II and III and Divisions II and III are lOO percent free to decide their plan of restructuring or their plan of governance and their plan of operation without interference from Division I in any way. We believe that this gives everybody the maximum possible ability to reorganize and manage their program, to decentralize the operation of the NCAA in a significant way, to certainly simplify the rule-making process so that if we have a major issue of crisis, we would have an immediate way to react to those issues in a positive way through a representative form of government. We have placed 100 percent control of the organization in the presidents as the final cabinet of operation. That is what we have been about in the NCAA since we have created the Presidents' Commission. There would be significantly greater input than there is at the present time through the cabinet processes of every coaching group that's represented in the country , of every sport, of every administrative group, including athletic directors, which would feed directly into the central council that feeds into the cabinet of the presidents. Thereby, giving a much broader representation in a more direct and meaningful way than one institution, with one paddle, standing up in a room with some 3,000 or 4,000 people on a given day in January. We think it's time to arrive at a more meaningful way to create legislation and to manage our affairs of business and to distribute the way we do that business in a positive way that will affect all of the members. For that reason, we believe that it is a significant plan that deserves serious consideration at this time.
It's easy to stand up and say that everybody wants to restructure. The difficulty comes when you try to determine the exact plan because, in some way, it will affect everybody in this room. We are well aware of that. To a degree, the Division I-A people give up some things in this process because they give up the old issue of saying that there should be a small number of people in Division I. We're granting the fact that there will be 300 people in Division I competitively. There will not be 300 people in Division I in a governance structure because the governance structure will be basically a structure based on representative form of government.
I'll stop there and I'll be glad to answer any questions later on.
I-AA athletic directors have been meeting for the past two days with our football coaches and we've discussed our concerns relative to restructuring. One of the things that I feel must override all of our concerns when we discuss restructuring, is the fact that we look at athletics overall. We need a vision of all of our programs and make sure that the student-athletes are the center of our concerns. Secondly, we have concern and compassion for one another's position, for our I-AA brothers and we have concern and compassion for our I-AAA brothers. We should work together to reduce the apprehension that we have between us so that we can sit down and come up with a plan that is best for all of us.
Within that framework, permit me to give you the criteria that I-AA athletic directors, football coaches and commissioners came up with. We believe in the principle of one institution, one vote. With the way we structure our meetings within Division I, that's not unwieldy. We believe that we should have uniform eligibility requirement regulations throughout. That should be one of the criteria for restructuring. We believe that we should have access to all championships. We would wish that the revenue distribution be at least at the same level. We wish to have full opportunities for women and minorities. Those are the five overall criteria that we would like to see in restructuring.
Within football, we had a lot of discussion about whether or not this wasn't merely a football restructuring issue. Take football out of the problem and we're all alike. Is this perhaps a restructuring of football in those alignments? In that respect, I-AA football wishes to maintain a relationship with I-A football. We wish to explore postseason opportunities for all of our members. You've known what has happened to I-AA football where a distribution of those back in 1978, or so, were removed from I-A and then two years ago, the groups playing Division III and Division II football, when multiple classification was reduced, were moved out of there. So, we have two different groups of schools. We have been able, very successfully, to legislate within those two groups through our communication. We have let those people that are need based control their programs and those people that provide full scholarships control their programs. We communicate with each other and we don't fight each other.
We can do the same within Division I. When it comes to revenue, I certainly hope that the I-AA institutions don't feel like we're interested in accessing your football bowl game revenue. You've always shared that. We're not concerned with that. We need a relationship with you. With that, I'll sit down. Thank you.
One of the disadvantages of being last is that you can check off on your comments what everybody else has said. I was planning on taking a little different tact anyway. Personally, my background is probably as much of a legislative and rules and governance type of issues as anybody's. I can understand some of the concerns and frustrations that evolve out of the whole process. I think there is a legitimate level of frustration with governance issues. Thinking back to past conventions where there was a lot more politics going on, but after the last couple of conventions, I've had people saying that this is all pre-determined going in. We arrive at the convention with the die cast. Things are getting adopted 400 to 15. It doesn't seem like any way you structure, any kind of voting process, that happens. This is a frustration we all face.
I thought about Dick's comments this morning, that we are about 10 years removed from the 1984 TV football plan and what that's done with revenues. It's also about 12 or 13 years into the assimilation of women's athletics programs and the costs that have been incurred into institutional athletic programs. That may be a large part of being 10 years into that process now in the extreme financial pressures that are there, I think have really brought a lot of concerns and a need to address individual problems, as Roy as pointed out.
There's a lot of good things in some of the concepts that Roy identified that were developed by some of the conferences. There's a lot to be said for those, but there are also a lot of pitfalls individually. The NCAA has a committee now on rules federation by sport. One of the things that is really difficult is when you start talking about allowing institutions to start identifying those programs and how much emphasis they're going to put on it from a conference commissioners, that runs right to the existence of a lot of the conferences and individually. How you deal within your own group, whatever it is, when someone starts saying that we're giving up on baseball, or we're not going to focus on field hockey or women's volleyball, we're going to focus over here. How you get those structures to pull together.
When you look at the issue of gender equity, Division I needs to have a committee on gender equity .Divisions II and III can work on it because the problems are so different. But, in the meantime, you start allocating different spots for Division II representatives, Division III representatives. There's a strong feeling now that the committee structure within the NCAA is becoming choked. A lot of the frustrations begin to fall from that. I would look more at these important committees being federated by division.
The NCAA Council has 24 Division I members. There are 13 I-A representatives and 11 I-AA and I-AAA representatives. One of the things that has come to pass, is that if you took the eight elite Division I-A conferences and their representatives that they can appoint, that breakdown is that there are two athletic people and six non-athletic people in that batch. I would venture to say that if you put those eight people together and tell them to rewrite anything they want, they would come back down to a group of athletic department people and we would have a great deal of difficulty .I hear that in my own conference. If you have the people that are not working in and with these issues on a full-time basis, now in a position to set the policy changes and what direction these policies are taking, maybe we need to look at the need to put more full-time athletic administrators on these committees. We now have a position with the NCAA Presidents' Commission that, as a comparable power structure, if the NCAA Council now becomes tangent, you'll always have the Presidents' Commission to bring it in line. Conversely, the NCAA Executive Committee is made up of athletic background representatives. When you get into the issues of the budgets and the championships issues, this committee all has an athletic background. When the Revenue Distribution Committee was formed, it had 10 Division I representatives, eight from I-A and two from I-AA and I- AAA. Out of that, the breakdown of athletic and non-athletic was five to three of those eight representatives. They were basically the officers of the association.
I'm not sure that the voting structure is broken. There are some things clearly that we can do a better job with and there is a need for those professionals that are full-time in these issues being empowered in places and on these committees. We do need to have those issues that may touch all three divisions, but are primarily Division I issues.
Thank you. That was some great information.
Warner, I'm Brad Hovious from Arkansas State University. Roy, did I hear you correctly when you said we would be grandfathered in as far as Division I and there would be no minimum sports criteria? Have you revised your first plan, because I didn't read that.
There was in there, some additional criteria and we have since dropped all of that criteria other than the budgetary criteria.
So, if you don't meet the budgetary requirements, you're not grandfathered in?
This is totally different than what we're doing right now. There is a Division I competitive issue and a Division I governance issue. You're grandfathered in to Division I competitively. If you're playing Division I-A football right now, you're grandfathered into Division I-A football. If you're playing Division I-AA, you could move up, depending on how you structure your program, but you're grandfathered in at the competitive level of the football program you're playing right now. Our intent is to further expand that for I-AA to be able to play I-A, to take that out of the hands of the postseason committee to grandfather in some type of requirement whereby you meet 75 percent of what I-AA itself determines to be the fmancial aid. Or, if you allow those people to be in on a need-based aid, then they're grandfathered in anyway to be able to play up against Division I-A and Division I-A to count a limited number of those games in their present schedule. It would work both for the Division I-A schools who are looking for those types of games and would help fmancially for the Division I-AA schools to play those type of games.
The structure has absolutely nothing to do with Division I-A football or Division I football. It has absolutely nothing to do with Division I basketball, as such. That's the point a lot of people have a hard time understanding. It's not sports specific. It's a governance specific proposal and that takes it totally out of the present way we do business. I understand the difficulty of understanding that.
From the Floor:
Roy, If I could ask you a question on the governance issue. Is there a particular issue or incident of late that is at the root of interest to have everything revamped?
There has always been a desire and an issue of trying to restructure the NCAA. I don't think it's driven by one particular thing. I think it's driven by an overall frustration of the way in which the operation is at the present time. There is greater frustration today than there has ever been because of the convention and the way we do business there is that it's allover when you get there. If the Presidents' Commission says this, nobody can oppose the Presidents' Commission. I can tell you that. I've done it. You can get 15 votes and maybe 20 on a good day. So, as a result, we have increased the frustration by the way the convention is managed. The convention is not a one institution, one vote anymore. It's the Presidents' Commission. We don't have one vote, one institution anymore. That day is long gone. The scary part of that operation today is that you have a Presidents' Commission that does not get great input, meets for a day and one-half and is an
authority on everything that you and I do business with every single day of the year. The net result is that we get all kinds of legislation that we have to go over and change later or else live with bad legislation in many cases.
It appeared to us that it was a much more sensible process to let them have the control. They're going to have the control anyway. But, let's make sure that we have a process whereby the information that is fed to that group is knowledgeable from the people that are in the trenches, from t~e people who understand how you operate an athletic department. Thereby, you have a much more meaningful and representative way to make decisions than the way we have at the present time.
Conrad Colbert from the University of New Mexico. Roy, when you talk about the equity levels, the large equity
people, and you're talking about governance, if you're talking about 106 members, say Division I, would all of those have a vote, or would it be based on the size of their budget? What would be the criteria?
The equity conferences will have one vote. It's the same as you elect a senator from the state of New Mexico
Well, does that drive us, as Dick Schultz said this morning, into eight conferences?
No. That doesn't keep you from participating. You're already in Division I-A and you play just like you do today. The other option in there for the people on the border line is that, let's say that in that structure, the scholarship requirements got changed in basketball, football or whatever sports, as long as you come, and we haven't set that criteria. Right now, we're looking at 70 percent. You can still stay there. You determine what you want to do, but you can continue to play in that division regardless of what you want to do.
You will have a say so in the governance, but it will be on a representative basis, not on a one-to-one vote basis. They will have I-AA membership, a representative from the predominately black conferences, representative from I-AAA, everybody will have representation. But, you wont' have one school, one vote. It will be a representative form of governance. It will require a conference to do a lot more of its homework to decide how you want that person to vote before you get there.
I'm Doug Fullerton from Montana State University .I'm curious about your reaction to Ced Dempsey's comments this morning. In Division I, the four things that are driving restructuring are the need to keep more of the funds. Some people are frustrated at the commitment to a broad-base program and some other people don't have that same commitment. They're running a limited-base program. There's people that don't like to be told in cost containment. I never understood that one
because 70 percent can't fund their program. The frustration of a level playing field and our inability to provide one. Roy, from what I'm hearing, these aren't the driving forces in Division I restructuring. At least, in the proposal you put forward. You're mad at the presidents for taking over the NCAA. What is driving restructuring?
Now, we're going to give the presidents complete control, but we're doing to do it in a more meaningful way than our present structure provides. One of the things that Ced is talking about is the frustration with regard to membership requirements in divisions. We've taken that out now. We're going to grandfather you in and your conference can do what it wants to do. It could have six total sports and still remain in the division.
From the Floor:
What is the underlying thing that will be gained in the change of the governance structure?
A more simplified and meaningful way to make significant decisions within the NCAA than we have at the present time.
I think this program has a tremendous amount of merit for people to look at simply because it tries to recognize as many interests as it possibly can from a competitive standpoint of all of the people that are involved presently in Division I. It doesn't address Division II. It doesn't address Division III in any way. Their structure is totally up to them.
Let's give our panel our thanks. It was a very good discussion. Ced will come in now and if you have any questions for him, he's available for a couple of minutes.
From the Floor:
Ced, you mentioned this morning that one of the driving forces is revenue sharing. What specific revenues are we talking about besides basketball? Right now, that's decided by the executive committee. What potential future streams of revenue would be subject to Roy's plan, such as a football playoff? Would you comment on that?
I feel somewhat awkward because I don't know what these people have said. Certainly, we're talking about the basketball revenue, whether or not that continues to be distributed in the same manner that it presently is distributed in. What I was referring to this morning, that is still the same dollars that we are talking about, is the growing need among Division I-A, and Division I in total, that help generate those dollars to help fund their own programs. Most of you are in financial difficulties, so it's a matter of that distribution of reorganizing. To reorganize, obviously, has a tremendous impact on Divisions II and III. That's one area.
The other area I mentioned this morning is one reason I felt that we needed to look at a football championship is that the
mission in Division I-A is to be as self-sufficient as possible. Sometimes we forget that. Basically, there's only two major revenue streams that the association can really assist the membership in at this point in time. One, is the football championship. Now, there are other issues related to that beyond the revenue stream, but I still feel that if you're talking strictly dollars for the membership, that is still the best way to generate more dollars. The other one is doing some centralization, marketing promotions and licensing. Dick related to that this morning as still an untapped source. Again, the reaction and resistance to that would be as great as there is on the playoff. Those are the only two revenue streams that I see that's left that has potential for assisting the membership with financial issues.
If we're not going to fmd any new revenue streams, how are we going to finance our programs and, obviously, that's where it gets back to Division I saying we want to keep more of the dollars. What does that do to the rest of the membership? I don't know if that totally answers your questions. But, as an association, there are basically three avenues the two I mentioned, plus the basketball revenue.
I might mention that it does seem to us that the time is right to consider possibly trying to extend the basketball contract. Obviously, CBS has some program needs. They have an image problem. It's not a bad time for us to reconsider renegotiating that contract. The value in doing that is that it would free up some dollars to go back to the membership immediately. About four years ago, the executive committee decided that they would cap the dollars at $143 million, we're now over that amount of money coming in. The rest of those dollars have been put into a membership reserve fund which will, at some point in time, go back to the membership, should the basketball contract continue to escalate or not diminish. There was a strong concern by the membership that we had a very healthy contract that will carry us through 1997. At the end of 1997, we're not going to have that kind of dollar revenue stream coming in off the basketball championship. That's why it was capped at $143 million. At the present time, there's about $20 million in that reserve fund that as soon as there is confidence that the contract might escalate, certainly not decrease, those dollars would be redistributed back to the membership on the basis of the revenue distribution plan that was in existence at the time the dollars were created in that particular year. Potentially, if you kept it all the way through 1997, the amount of those dollars would be about $67 million that would go back to the membership. So, there is a pot of dollars that's going to assist many of you by 1997 in one form or another .
From the Floor:
I would ask if Roy would address the distribution of revenue in his plan and how the decision would be made on the distribution of those streams of revenue.
The plan is very clear. The distribution of basketball would be grand fathered in, as we already talked about. It would be grand fathered in under the current structure. It's based on a percentage so, if a contract were to increase, then it would increase accordingly. The plan was designed entirely without football involved in any way. We did not address postseason revenues from the NCAA because there is a significant number of conferences that believe somewhat different with regard to the postseason issue than perhaps the NCAA does. So, we didn't address postseason in any way.
There is potential for revenue for all of us from the marketing concept. The issue there, once again, how that is addressed and how that affects current revenue streams of certain institutions that are already driving a significant amount of revenue from those sources of revenue, such as logo copyrighting and things of that nature. If there is a plan that drives that in a centralized and more efficient way than we're driving it now, that's good. But, that will be very difficult. I could tell you how difficult it is to drive that with a 12-institutional agreement where every institution has a different set of people they deal with in the area of marketing. It's very difficult for institutions to give that up. When you talk about giving that up by 700, 800 or 900 institutions, that becomes a greater difficulty .There's no question in the world that the NBA and the NFL are driving an enormous stream of revenue by that method, but they've also totally given up individual rights to those issues. I don't think you're going to be able to do that given the independence and the fact that many ofus are controlled by state regulations within our states. That becomes a more difficult issue to produce that stream of revenue.
From the Floor:
Perhaps the most significant statement was made by Roy in the last 10 minutes when he mentioned fmding an alternative form of structure for the NCAA, or we'll find ourselves with a different organization. I'd like to ask Mr. Dempsey if that is a widely-held view? I want to fmd out how far down the road we are.
I don't think it is. I don't deny that we need to look at some form of restructuring related to federation. I would encourage that. I think we're opening ourselves up to the federal government coming in right on top of us. If I can think that the University of Michigan is going to be allowed to go by itself, we're going to have a tremendous political fight on our hands and that's going to bring the federal government into it. I do not think that's in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics and I would hope that we can resolve our issues and our differences in a different manner. Let's not have a national inquiry into what's going on. We've got enough problems there as it is.
The model that Division I-A has presented the commissioners is a healthy model for us to look at. I'm not attacking that at all. If nothing else, it creates a different kind of paradigm for us to look at. It stimulates some thinking. What's discouraging is that no one else has come up with any other kind of model. We're reacting to that instead of looking at what else we could do to meet the needs of the membership. I do not think a separate organization at this time would be in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics in this country .
Thank you again, for your participation. We'll have another session at 11:45 a.m.