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Faculty Leaders Endorse New Division for Richest NCAA Programs

The most-powerful athletics conferences should form a new and separate NCAA division with their own board of directors and management council, a group of faculty leaders said on Wednesday.

The proposed “Football Bowl Division,” as envisioned by the 1A FAR, a group of faculty-athletics representatives from the NCAA’s highest rung, would include the 120 or so institutions in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.

But with a new governance structure, those colleges would have more flexibility to make rules and policies supported by institutions at their level, including the ability to provide players with additional money toward their full cost of attendance. Such policies have met resistance in Division I, where there are big financial disparities and philosophical differences.

“There is wide consensus that the current Division I governance model is not working,” Josephine R. Potuto, a professor of law at the University of Nebraska and the immediate past president of 1A FAR, said in a statement. “A separate FBS division offers more-streamlined governance among schools with comparable revenue streams that face issues either unique to them or that fall on them with more acute impact.”

Under the faculty representatives’ proposal, which was submitted to the NCAA on Wednesday, the fourth NCAA division would have a separate board of directors comprising at least one president or chancellor from each FBS conference. The proposal does not specify whether conferences would be given the same voting power or if the biggest leagues would have more say.

In addition, the proposal envisions a management council that would include at least one athletic director and one faculty athletics representative from each FBS conference, with potentially more members coming from the ranks of conference commissioners and other senior campus leaders.

The management council would combine the current functions of the NCAA’s Leadership and Legislative Councils.

The proposal also recommends maintaining combined Division I championship events, such as the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

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