Most of the talk surrounding the NCAA’s governance reform has focused on the autonomy that will be granted to the power conferences. But included in the reform package are changes to how all of Division I will adopt legislation that is earmarked for “shared governance.”
Right now, legislation passes through up to four votes in the membership to be adopted (not counting Board of Directors consideration):
- Legislative Council initial consideration (2/3 majority required for adoption)
- Legislative Council final consideration (simple majority required for adoption)
- Override period (75 requests required to trigger override process)
- Override vote (5/8 majority needed to overturn legislation)
In this system, a proposal could have receive majority support to adopt the legislation in January at the NCAA convention but not be finalized until the summer after a comment period, another round of voting, an override request period, an override comment period, and an override vote.
The proposed changes (beginning on page 42 of the pdf) include a longer period to consider and debate legislation but then a simpler and faster voting period that occurs toward the end of the academic year. The biggest change is that the two “votes” in the main legislative process and override process will both be reduced to one. This legislative process will cover all bylaws that are not subject to five conference autonomy and which are not considered academic rules. Academic rules will be handled by the Board of Directors.
In the regular voting process, the January vote will be eliminated. It will be replaced with a “round table” discussion of the proposals and their amendments. All active member institutions will be able to participate in the discussion, as well as other groups presumably (student-athletes, faculty reps, coaches associations, etc.). The first and only vote on legislation will occur at the Council meeting in April. At that vote one of three things could happen.
- The proposal gets less than 50% support: the proposal is defeated.
- The proposal gets between 50% and 85% support: the proposal is adopted subject to rescission.
- The proposal gets greater than 85% support: the proposal is adopted and is final.
Rescission is the replacement to the override process. When a proposal is adopted with between 50% and 85% of the vote, each individual member school will have 60 days to submit a rescission request. If two-thirds of all active Division I members submit rescission requests, the proposal is defeated. This combines both parts of the override process into one procedure and raises the threshold to overturn a proposal from five-eighths of voting institutions to two-thirds of all institutions. A proposal defeated either by Council vote or rescission may not be submitted for two years. The same process (with the same voting weights) will be used for football-specific legislation by FBS and/or FCS institutions.
The new legislative process will also eliminate the ability of the Council or the Board of Directors to craft and consider alternate proposals to the ones in the current legislative cycle. After November 1, alternate proposals may not be submitted. Two things are unclear though: whether the Board of Directors still has final authority over non-academic legislation and whether emergency/noncontroversial legislation will have its own process or even still exist.