Earlier in September, the Faculty Athletics Representatives Board of Directors recommended to the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors a new governance structure, which includes making the current FBS a new division and perhaps giving the current power conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, and potentially the AAC) greater power. The recommendation does not specifically outline which institutions and conferences should make up the new division, but the implications are clear enough.
With this recommendation, the FAR Board's expressed aim is to streamline governance, which it hopes to achieve in part by the "grouping of institutions and conferences with greater similarity in revenues and mission," which would allow for, as they put it, smaller governance groups.
"The FBS must be the master of its own fate, particularly with regard to matters of enhancement of the student-athlete experience that depend on increased revenue allocation," the recommendation states. "The simpler the governance structure the better."
The FAR Board uses "FBS" as a placeholder term for whatever the proposed new division would be called -- it is not, to be clear, meant to include every institution at the current FBS level. This would be a brand new tier for the big-money schools, leaving behind the mid-majors of the current FBS level.
At the heart of the matter for the FAR Board is the notion of a more agile governing body, and one that is attuned specifically to the needs and issues of the power-conference schools (including, for example, full cost of attendance scholarships). Such a change, FAR hopes, would allow for the quicker implementation of policies and speedier resolutions to governance issues that crop up. As a byproduct, the Board aims to instill greater confidence in how college athletics are governed.
For months now, significant changes along these lines have been suggested by power-conference commissioners, who used their respective media days during the summer to discuss the myriad issues facing the NCAA and college athletics as they are currently structured. They all seemed pretty much on the same page, which is telling. NCAA commissioner Mark Emmert agreed that major alterations are coming.
While faculty don't often have much direct control over athletics, the FAR Board's recommendations might be among the first indications of the direction college football is headed.
A faculty athletics representative serves as "a liaison between the institution and the athletics department, and also as a representative of the institution in conference and NCAA affairs." Each NCAA member institution has a faculty athletics representative. The FAR Board is made up of about a dozen faculty members from schools within the current Football Bowl Subdivision. Its president is Brian Shannon of Texas Tech, and there are also representatives from Ohio State, Nebraska, Troy, Buffalo, Colorado, Southern Mississippi, San Jose State, Duke and Mississippi State.
HT UB Bull Run
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