NCAA Transformation Committee to maintain coaching staff limits for season

LAS VEGAS—Coaches expecting their on-court staff to swell this fall are going to be surprised.

The NCAA’s Transformation Committee’s concept to remove the policy limiting the number of coaches on a football team will not be finalized by August, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and Chief Executive have said. Ohio Athletics, Julie Cromer, Committee Co-Chairs. Sports Illustrated tuesday.

“We have issues that have persisted for decades,” Sankey says. “It would be unwise to just flip a switch on some issues in August when you’re embarking on a competitive season.”

The Transformation Committee is in the fifth month of what is expected to be a year-long process to overhaul the NCAA’s policy and governance structure. He plans to lift decades-old rules on cost containment and competitive fairness legislation in light of antitrust legal concerns raised by the Supreme Court’s Alston decision last summer.

In April, committee leaders first shared concepts with Dallas athletic directors, which included controversial measures that would eliminate caps on the number of coaches on a staff and scholarships offered to athletes on specific teams, allowing these limits to be determined by schools and/or conferences.

Sankey says some committee decisions, like coaching staff limits, will take longer.

As previously reported by SI, these concepts were unfinished and were weeks (if not months) away from finalization. If the concepts are approved, Sankey and Cromer say they will be part of the second half of a two-part process: the first wave of approvals in August and the second in January. After reports surfaced that the elimination of training and scholarship limitations would come in the first wave, coaches became agitated and some believed their staff would increase immediately.

“I don’t think it’s a delay. He was there publicly before we put him there,” Sankey says. “When outlets report things, they’re not always accurate.”

Football teams are limited to a head coach and 10 assistants who can work with players in hands-on roles. In theory, lifting the restriction would open the door for an unlimited number of coaches to work with players and roam the touchlines in different roles. Cromer says the concept of staff limitations is tied to the committee’s ongoing study of the year-round recruitment schedule, which should be streamlined.

“The two will be done together,” Cromer says.

For the concept of scholarships, officials plan to remove limitations on at least equivalency sports (sports with partial scholarships, such as many Olympic sports). For example, the maximum number of scholarships allowed in baseball is 11.7 for a roster of 35, a figure often criticized by top baseball schools from wealthy conferences that want to spend more. According to the concept of transformation, a school could eventually offer 35.

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The concepts have come under some criticism amid growing fears they will stress the programs financially and further widen the gap between high-resource schools and others, according to several administrators .

“We haven’t set a date. [to implement the concepts]”, says Sankey. “We went to the sports communities and asked for their point of view. You have to be thoughtful. We went to the sports communities to get comments and the same on the structure of the list [in regards to scholarship limitation] and addressed recruitment issues.

“If the attitude is that we have to solve everything now, that does not allow for effective decision-making. What’s going to the board this week are pretty well-developed executives.

Sankey adds that the concepts may not evolve into a rule change. “Don’t assume an outcome.”

As part of the first wave, the NCAA board of directors is expected to consider proposals on Thursday that would implement windows in the transfer portal, as well as an overhaul of the NCAA’s infraction process. In the new windowed transfer portal, players must enter the portal only during designated windows in order to use the one-time transfer exception and be immediately eligible at their new school. The new infraction process should speed up investigations and hold coaches more accountable for infractions. If the board approves the measures as planned, the concepts would be finalized in July and adopted in August.

It would be a big step in the committee’s progress toward bigger changes, paving the way for more work on training and scholarship limitations, and positioning the committee to study its biggest problem – determining new membership criteria for Division I.

Division I has grown into a disparate group of 350 schools that vary widely in financial and cultural criteria, growing frustration for top FBS and Power 5 programs who feel handcuffed by low-resource schools. The committee should seriously explore strengthening the membership requirement, largely determined by a school’s support for athletes, such as scholarships and medical care. Among DI’s current membership criteria, schools must sponsor at least 16 sports and fund at least 50% of possible scholarships in 14 sports.

There are three initial points that will inform the committee’s thinking on any new criteria for membership, Sankey says: (1) move beyond the status quo; (2) athlete experience; and (3) the athlete’s voice.

“Those three criteria can be met by all current Division I members,” he said when asked if the 350 would stay in DI. “The answer to that question is, will there be additional expectations and how will people adjust to that? One of the elements of the loadout is direct support for student-athletes.

“It doesn’t mean we automatically kick people off the island,” Sankey told hundreds of sports administrators on Tuesday during a 90-minute panel with Cromer and other members of the transformation committee at the convention. of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics. “It’s not just about blowing something up. It is a commitment to solving difficult problems. This will stress people out and stretch them.

The committee’s panel was short on details, but included direct comments from its leaders.

“We have student-athletes who are so demanding for change that they are taking us to court,” Cromer said. “If you read the Alston decision, it cries out to us to change. We are back to the wall. »