the BigAmateurism monologues

A series of events over the last 18 months—some unforeseeable—have created a perfect storm that will change college sports forever. The NCAA's bait an…
Dec 7th, 2021 | 58:24

The Division I “Transformation Committee”: The Power 5 Claim the Iron Throne of College Sports Regulation

In late October 2021, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors announced the creation of a Division I “Transformation Committee.” An October 28, 2021, press release on the NCAA website said the Committee was “charged with making recommendations to the [Division I] board for how to address the Division I’s most significant challenges and more effectively meet the needs of current and future student-athletes. The Committee, co-chaired by Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey and Ohio Athletics Director Julie Cromer, will consider what it means to be a Division I member and how the division should be organized, what is the best process for making decisions, and how to better meet the needs of and set expectations for Division I student-athletes.” These vague aims and aspirations belie a hostile takeover by the Power 5 of the entire college sports regulatory field. Why the current 24-member Division I Board could not address these issues was unstated and unknown. The Transformation Committee has 21 members, nearly the same size as the existing Board of Directors. A comparison of the membership of the two bodies may provide the answer to that threshold question. The Power 5 holds only 6 of 24 (25%) voting seats on the current Board of Directors. The Power 5 holds 11 of 21 seats (52%) on the new Transformation Committee. The Transformation Committee also differs in another fundamental way: on the existing Board of Directors, university presidents or chancellors hold 20 of the 24 seats (83%). Presidents or chancellors hold only 6 of 21 seats (29%) on the new Transformation Committee. The composition of the Transformation Committee also differs from the current Board of Directors in other material ways, including the prominence of conference commissioners and athletics directors. However, Sankey’s role is the most important feature of the Transformation Committee. Sankey is viewed by many as the most powerful man in college sports. Sankey is the top dog among Power 5 conference commissioners, and the SEC is the top dog in college football. Sankey’s role raises a question fundamental to the regulation of college sports: Will the interests Sankey represents define the future of college sports?