Rice Commission: Can NCAA’s Quick Legislative Changes Restore Trust?

by | Jul 30, 2018

What’s Happening?

When the Commission on College Basketball (“Rice Commission”) issued its recommendations on April 24, 2018, one of the unanswered questions was how the process by which these recommendations would be implemented.  Typically, the concept for legislative proposals is not driven by independent, outside bodies, so seeking guidance from the Rice Commission was already a departure from the standard process, but one that was seen as necessary to implement the sweeping changes to an uncertain college basketball landscape.  Donald Remy, Chief Legal Office for the NCAA, originally stated while speaking on the Knight Commission panel, that implementation of the recommendations would not follow the typical legislative process, in an effort to put the new rules in place by the start of the 2018-19 college basketball season.  This would significantly shorten the standard 7 to 9 month timeline NCAA DI proposals usually follow.

The NCAA Legislative Process typically operates as follows:

Sponsorship Deadline

September 1

            A concept for a new rule can be developed by institutions, conference offices, committees or coaches associations, but the proposal must be sponsored by one of the following: DI Board of Directors, DI Council or DI Conferences. Entities such as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Committee on Academics who report to the DI Council, must request the Counsel to sponsor legislation these groups want to support and the Council will codify the legislation in their meeting report. Once all sponsored proposals are submitted, Academic and Membership Affairs at the National drafts the legislation and uses reports to explain the rationale.

Comment Period

October 1

            All Division I member institutions can review and comment on the proposed legislation through an online portal called the Legislative Services Database (LSDBi).  The Council then reviews and decides whether or not to amend the original proposals via a majority vote.  If the proposal is submitted by a conference office then the would be working during this same period to see if they would like to amend the proposal as well.

Sponsor Modification

November 1 – November 15

Sponsor modifications must be submitted by November 1 and the sponsor may change the proposal in any way as long as it is within the scope of the original proposal.  If sponsors do not elect to accept the changes then the proposal could become an amendment if it is sponsored by November 15.  All official notices of the proposals and amendments are published for the membership by December 1.



In January of each year, the NCAA holds a convention and the membership has the opportunity to discuss the proposals with the Council during that time.  The DI Council reconvenes in April and a weighted voting process occurs for each proposal or amendment.  Voting is weighted the same for all concepts except for FBS or FBS:

  • Power 5 conferences get (ACC, Big 12, Big 10, SEC, Pac 12)
  • 5 other conferences get 2 votes (American, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt)
  • Remaining 22 conferences get 1 vote
  • 2 Faculty Athletic Representatives get 1 vote each
  • Student-Athlete Representatives get 1 vote each

In late April, the Board of Directors holds a meeting and all results are considered final.

60 Day Rescission Period

If a proposal receives an 85% approval, the new rule is considered Final-Adopted and may not be reconsidered except after a two year required waiting period.  If it does not receive the 85% approval, the proposal enters a 60-day rescission period where DI members can request rescission.  If 66.7% of DI member institutions request, the bylaw would be restored to its applicable state and is considered Final-Defeated.  If it receives fewer than 66.7% then it becomes Final-Adopted.


Potential Timeline for the Rice Commission Recommendations

Since, Mr. Remy’s appearance with the Knight Commission panel, the National Office has articulated a Governance Timeline for the recommendations as follows:

  • April 24-25, 2018: Commission on College Basketball presents recommendations to Board of Governors and other NCAA leaders.
  • April 25, 2018: Division I Council Coordination Committee approves rosters for working groups and adjunct members of standing committees.
  • June 11-13, 2018: Division I Council and standing committees meet to develop legislation.
  • August 1, 2018: Division I Council finalizes legislation.
  • August 8, 2018: Division I Board of Directors meets to review and approve DI-specific legislation.
  • January 2019: Association-wide voting at annual NCAA Convention.

Based on the information provided, the timeline does not appear to allow for a comment period from the membership.  Further, it is still unclear whether the Board of Directors will implement the proposed legislation when they meet on August 8th, or whether the association will vote during the 2019 Convention.  Enacting the new legislation without “buy-in” from the membership would be an unprecedented departure from the member-run governance model the NCAA usually follows.


CCHA Collegiate and CCHA Sports Law

CCHA will continue to follow the developments as the Division I Council drafts the legislation and provide insight on how these changes may affect your Division I compliance program. Most clients turn to CCHA Collegiate Sports Consulting for education, head coach control plans, and institutional control assessments.  Other clients turn to us for representation during NCAA inquiries.  Please contact us regarding any of our services. We’re happy to help.

Share This