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For the second time in less than two weeks, schools are objecting to a reform measure sought by university presidents and endorsed by NCAA president Mark Emmert.
More than 75 schools are asking to override a plan approved in October to allow multi-year athletic scholarships rather than the one-year renewable awards schools currently provide. That’s the minimum number of dissenters needed for reconsideration by the Division I Board of Directors when it meets next month in Indianapolis at the annual NCAA convention. The NCAA announced the change the Friday before Christmas.
On Dec. 15, the NCAA suspended plans to give athletes a $2,000 stipend for living costs not covered by scholarships after at least 125 schools objected. The higher number of protests allows the organization to immediately put the change on hold.
Both measures were pushed by Emmert and adopted as emergency legislation after a presidential summit in August.
“The NCAA and presidents step up with this legislation and then the universities want to vote it down,” said Christian Dennie, a former compliance officer at Missouri and Oklahoma who now practices sports law in Fort Worth, Texas, and writes an NCAA oversight blog.
“They say, `We don’t have enough money,’ and then the coach gets a $2 million raise,” Dennie added, speaking in general terms rather than about a specific school. “It’s really a resource allocation issue.”
The Division I Board of Directors now faces three options: scrap the two reform measures and operate under previous NCAA rules; modify the rule or create a new proposal that would go back to the schools for another 60-day comment period; or allow members to vote on the override, which needs a 5/8ths majority of the roughly 350 Division I members to pass.