LEAD1’s letter proposes the appointment of a college football chief executive | Catch My Job


College athletics leaders are considering naming a college football chief operating officer to answer to a proposed FBS football governing body, according to a lengthy letter from the LEAD1 Association obtained by ESPN.

The letter was sent this week to all Division I athletic directors, members of the NCAA Division I Transformation Committee and the NCAA Board of Governors.

The proposal has been circulated at the highest levels of college football, including 10 FBS commissioners and College Football Playoff executive Bill Hancock, sources said.

The detailed recommendations for the sport’s future governance are the result of months of discussion, which began simmering last spring when some of the most prominent voices in college athletics, including Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, advocated for college football to break away from the NCAA. completely.

Any momentum for that changed in September, when an overwhelming majority of Division I athletic directors at the annual LEAD1 meetings expressed a strong preference for FBS football to remain under the NCAA if it could be simpler and less bureaucratic.

Following strong consensus at its fall meeting, LEAD1, which represents the 131 athletic directors in the FBS, established a task force composed of representatives from all 10 FBS conferences.

Under the group’s proposal, the FBS football board of directors would consist primarily of people with significant football knowledge, appointed by their respective conferences. There would also be a representative from the American Football Coaches Association, along with four independent directors, including at least two former student-athletes — a combination of nonpartisan people and those with the players’ perspective, which the Knight Commission is separately pushing for.

The FBS football board of directors would “decide all matters relating to FBS football” except for rules related to academics, financial aid and health and safety. While the board would oversee things like officiating, rules and eventual scheduling, many agree there are issues that should remain at the level of university presidents, and the NCAA would remain a legal shield.

Accountability issues are at the heart of why most athletic leaders want college football to remain under the NCAA. The NCAA currently has a football oversight board, but six of the 18 members represent the FCS, and many athletic directors complain that they have different challenges to deal with separately.

COO would be a similar position to Dena Gavita, who is the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball. FBS football is currently the only collegiate sport governed by the NCAA, but runs its own national championship, through the CFP. The NCAA deals with issues such as rules, officiating, concussion litigation and enforcement, but it doesn’t have a person like Gavitt at the table when important sports decisions are made. This proposed position would also be on the NCAA President’s Leadership Team/Cabinet.

While LEAD1 does not have the authority to implement any of the recommendations, it is another step toward changing the way the sport of college football is governed as the NCAA undergoes major changes in its own organization and shifts more power to individual conferences. The proposal also calls for the NFL to provide financial support, arguing that “the NFL is reaping the benefits of FBS football serving as a farm system without providing any financial support (and other resources) to the NCAA.”

It will likely take weeks to gather feedback, and the proposal would ultimately have to be approved by the Division I board of directors. While there could be a push back on the plan, there could also be those who want to wait until the NCAA appoints a president to replace Mark Emmert before making such drastic changes to the sport’s structure. It’s also unclear who needs to vote to officially approve it, as there are differing legal opinions, according to the sources.

According to the letter, “In the event of failure to implement these recommendations, our FBS ads are to explore options for such decision-making outside of the NCAA.”


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