Emmert embraces collegiate model
NCAA President Mark Emmert told delegates during the Convention’s opening business session Thursday that college athletics is facing a fork in the road.

Naturally, he encouraged the membership to take it.

However, rather than choose one branch of the fork that some critics have suggested, which is to abandon the collegiate model the NCAA has nurtured for more than a century, Emmert told the standing-room-only crowd that the Association has a shared responsibility to fix the collegiate model in the context of the contemporary athletics landscape.

“We have to acknowledge there are real problems that need to be dealt with, and we have to deal with them in the real context of the 21st century,” Emmert said.
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Council broadens ‘agent’ definition
The Division I Legislative Council tabled several proposals in anticipation of the work of the Transforming Intercollegiate Athletics: Rules Working Group’s recommendations later this year, though it did cast votes Wednesday on several key pieces of legislation.

Council chair Carolyn Campbell-McGovern, senior associate executive director of the Ivy League, said the meeting was different than a customary Council meeting because members didn’t pore over every detail of each proposal.

“We tabled a significant number of proposals in deference to the fact that there are a lot of discussions going on about what our rules need to look like,” Campbell-McGovern said.

However, the Council approved a rule that broadens the definition of agents to include third-party influences, including family members, who market student-athletes’ athletics ability or reputation for personal financial gain.
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DII discussing championship criteria
The Division II Championships Committee is throwing a number of questions on the table in an effort to assess the membership’s attitude toward in-region, nonconference competition.

“As we see conferences growing, we see fewer nonconference, in-region games being scheduled,” said Bob Boerigter, commissioner of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and Management Council representative on the Championships Committee. “We’re trying to address that and ask people’s feedback to determine how significant this issue is. Is it really a big deal or is it just a situation where it impacts a few sports in some isolated ways?”

To facilitate discussion, the Championships Committee has prepared a white paper that poses several key questions.
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Cousins says Michigan State stay ‘rewarding’
When Kirk Cousins sat in the locker room Jan. 2 after Michigan State’s 33-30 triple-overtime victory against Georgia in the Outback Bowl, it hit him.

After five years, his stellar career with the Spartans, whom he quarterbacked for three seasons, was completed.

“The further I remove myself from my student-athlete experience, the more I will come to appreciate what I had at Michigan State,” said Cousins, who led the Spartans to a school-record 27 victories as quarterback. “I realize how blessed I was to be a part of Michigan State’s football program and a part of their university.”
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Emmert would support a four-team FBS playoff
NCAA President Mark Emmert would support a four-team playoff in college football -- as long as the field doesn't grow.

After giving his annual state of the association speech Thursday in Indianapolis, Emmert acknowledged he would back a small playoff if that's what Bowl Championship Series officials decide to adopt.

"The notion of having a Final Four approach is probably a sound one," Emmert said when asked what he heard coming out of New Orleans this week. "Moving toward a 16-team playoff is highly problematic because I think that's too much to ask a young man's body to do. It's too many games, it intrudes into the school year and, of course, it would probably necessitate a complete end to the bowl system that so many people like now."

Emmert spoke two days after the 11 Bowl Championship Series conferences met to discuss possible changes to the system starting in 2014, but there is no consensus yet.
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Group looking at behavior in basketball
An LLC tasked with overseeing men’s basketball officiating has developed a plan to address on-court sportsmanship and behavior of coaches and players in an effort to elevate the image of the sport and positively impact game environment.

The Men’s College Basketball Officiating Competition Committee’s plan was shared with the Division I Leadership Council on Thursday and the Playing Rules Oversight Panel the previous day. PROP is asking that all rules committees take a similar look at ways to improve the image of their respective sports.

Committee members believe the current environment of Division I men’s basketball is eroding and hurting the image of the game. The committee believes NCAA competitions should be conducted with behavior typically associated with higher education.
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Magnus’ growth is out of this world
For one student-athlete, the soccer pitch at Missouri S&T was more than a vast field of grass where she played the sport she loved -- it was a launching pad.

Sandra Magnus, who patrolled the back line for the Division II Miners in the mid-1980s, has grown from young soccer player to veteran astronaut -- one of four who was aboard NASA’s final space shuttle mission in July. The lessons she learned on that pitch 100 miles west of St. Louis helped propel her more than 200 miles above Earth’s surface into orbit, where she spent four-and-a-half months on the International Space Station in early 2009.

On Friday, Magnus, who in 1986 earned her degree in physics from Missouri S&T (then known as Missouri-Rolla) and has made three trips to space, addressed Division II attendees at the 2012 NCAA Convention. She relayed how the lessons she learned as a student-athlete -- knowing her role on a team, dealing with failure and setting goals, among others -- have helped her endure the rigorous training and preparation required of astronauts.
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NCAA recommends violation structure
An NCAA working group on Enforcement will recommend the adoption of an expanded, four-level violation structure for infractions when it meets with the Division I Board of Directors on Saturday.

In its report to the board, the group wrote:  “The working group anticipates that the proposed four-level structure will provide member institutions and affected individuals with a better notice of the alleged infractions, and the level of seriousness assigned the infractions, for which they will be held accountable if NCAA rules are violated. Further, the group anticipates that the proposed structure will better ensure that enforcement efforts are focused on those infractions that clearly violate NCAA enduring values.”

The group will also recommend increasing the size of the Committee on Infractions from its current number of 10 to more than 18, and expanding the composition to include former presidents, athletic directors and coaches.  It is anticipated this would decrease the workload of individual members and increase the number of hearing opportunities held per year.
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Basketball recruiting model approved
The Division I Leadership Council approved the final elements of the men’s basketball recruiting model and will forward its recommendations for both summer access and on-campus evaluations to the Division I Board of Directors for its consideration Saturday.

The Council approved a summer access model that will allow an entering or continuing men’s basketball student-athlete a maximum of eight hours of athletics activities per week during the summer in which institutional staff members may conduct or supervise. Of that, no more than two hours can involve skill-related instruction, for a maximum of eight weeks, under the following conditions:
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Board reaffirms support for allowance
The Division I Board of Directors reaffirmed Saturday its support for a $2,000 miscellaneous expense allowance, but directed the Student-Athlete Well-Being working group to come back to the presidents in April with recommendations for implementation.

The action by the Board eliminates the need for an override vote on this issue.

The Board also reaffirmed its support for multi-year scholarships.
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NCAA extends Emmert’s contract
Mark Emmert did enough in his first 17 months as the NCAA president to get a 24-month extension.

On Friday, the executive committee unanimously approved a deal to keep Emmert in office through October 2017.

“I am grateful for the executive committee’s support during this critical period of time in intercollegiate athletics,” Emmert said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, coaches and other leaders as we strengthen our service to student-athletes.”
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DII approves 16 legislative proposals
The Division II membership demonstrated its flexibility for new ways of doing business during its Convention business session Saturday -- and it did so without a twist.

Delegates approved 16 legislative proposals, all sponsored by the Division II Presidents Council, by large margins and with a minimum of debate.

Though there was little controversy at the end, that shouldn't diminish the importance of the primary changes. As a result of the Convention's actions, regulations affecting recruiting and membership were changed in ways that will affect Division II for years to come.
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Panel eyes ramifications of evolving broadcast technology
Evolving technology has made it possible for anybody with a computer, a few high-tech cameras and a good Internet connection to effectively begin their own broadcast network. That has come to present a few challenges for the NCAA, whose current rules were not drafted with such a scenario in mind.

That background set the stage for a session at the NCAA Convention on Friday to revisit an August meeting in which NCAA staff, Division I members and conference and institutional broadcast network professionals discussed youth sports programming on conference and institutionally branded networks.

Current NCAA policy bans the broadcast of youth programming on such networks because of perceived recruiting advantages and possible amateurism violations. However, the public’s appetite for the broadcast of high school games and other activities is only increasing, broadcast professionals said at the August meeting.
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Text messaging adopted in DIII
Division III loosened the communication reins in recruiting when delegates approved a proposal to deregulate text messaging at the 2012 NCAA Convention business session on Saturday. Effective immediately, text messaging will be regulated according to the same standard as telephone, email and fax correspondence in the recruiting process.

Moravian College President and Management Council member Chris Thomforde used popular text messaging lingo like “OMG” and ‘LOL” in presenting the proposal to the floor, and it was adopted by an overwhelming majority 418-44-5.
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