INDIANAPOLIS — Significant and strategic change is needed in Division I intercollegiate athletics, NCAA President Mark Emmert said Tuesday as he provided the framework for next month’s presidential retreat.
“The integrity of collegiate athletics is seriously challenged today by rapidly growing pressures coming from many directions,” Emmert said. “We have reached a point where incremental change is not sufficient to meet these challenges. I want us to act more aggressively and in a more comprehensive way than we have in the past. A few new tweaks of the rules won’t get the job done.”
The retreat, on Aug. 9-10, will focus on three overarching areas: continued expectations for student-athlete academic success; fiscal sustainability in Division I, and fortifying the integrity of the enterprise.
Retreat participants will engage in collaborative breakout sessions on the three topic areas, and discussions will gauge the priorities and, importantly, the appetite for change on these key issues across the diverse group.
Emmert announced plans for the presidential retreat in Indianapolis earlier this year with the goal to drive substantive change on issues affecting the collegiate model of athletics and discuss direction for the division for the coming years.
Emmert has reached out and spoken to many conference commissioners, athletic directors, faculty representatives and other constituents in advance of this retreat and some will attend.
“The huge financial differences across Division I make it very hard to create ‘one-size-fits-all rules,’” Emmert said. In order to address the real issues in front of us I believe we have to be more flexible and aggressive, while recognizing the different needs of our members and the financial situations they face.”
Emmert has made clear that the need for change is not about specific incidents that have happened on campuses. They are about fundamental concerns that commercialism is overwhelming amateurism; that some student-athletes’ and coaches’ behaviors are fundamentally at odds with the values of higher education; and that we need an even sharper focus on educating student-athletes through athletics.
“Decision-making rests with the presidents. Strong, decisive presidential leadership is critical to the future of Division I intercollegiate athletics,” said Emmert. “In my discussions with presidents, chancellors and conference commissioners leading up to this retreat, I have learned there is a deep sense of concern about the issues and an eagerness to address them. We can’t continue to sail in all directions. We need to set a clear course and establish the will to navigate the rough seas ahead. “
• Q&A: Emmert on why the retreat is needed