The NCAA has released a Q&A about the upcoming rules changes that came out of the Rules Working Group and which are expected to be approved by the Board of Directors at the upcoming NCAA Convention. One question in particular shows the type of new territory the NCAA is exploring:
Why rely more on campus-level policies and procedures than rules for everybody in Division I?
The Rules Working Group recognizes that some schools will be pressured to adopt policies and procedures to not place their program at a competitive disadvantage. The new rulebook would require that policies be in place in specified areas, that they address key components or campus values and that they will be followed. NCAA violations would occur if policies are not developed or followed.
The NCAA already does this in a couple of areas. Schools are required to have a recruiting entertainment policy and if the school fails to have a policy or follow it, it is an NCAA violation. Schools are not required to have institutional drug testing policies, but if they have one, it is an NCAA violation to not follow the policies.
But the new regulatory structure that will be put in place over the next couple of years will rely more heavily on this pattern. While not part of the current round of proposals, food for student-athletes is likely to be deregulated with institutional policy taking over. Many of the limits on official visits are likely to be eliminated, replaced by institutional rules.
That means instead of evaluating one NCAA rule, the NCAA enforcement staff may be handling multiple institutional policies, some of which may be intentionally vague or not publicly available. If this becomes a major issue, it stands to make enforcement even more time consuming and difficult rather than freeing the NCAA from having to worry about many issues.