‘The Path Ahead’ – A letter to NCAA members from President Charlie Baker – Sports activities Legislation Professional

We’re in an unprecedented period for faculty sports activities. The atmosphere is quickly shifting culturally, politically, legally and financially. To deal with the challenges forward, the NCAA must make actual change. At my route and that of the Board of Governors, the NCAA nationwide workplace and membership have begun a big vary of labor to satisfy that cost. Instantly after taking up as president, I led an effort to herald exterior specialists to research each side of the nationwide workplace, whereas I additionally got down to hear straight from all 97 major conferences throughout the Affiliation. In consequence, we produced a strategic plan for the work forward that prioritizes student-athlete outcomes. On the similar time, we’re already making actual modifications throughout the Affiliation, together with bettering the advantages and protections school athletes have entry to. There may be extra work forward, however what we have now already completed these previous few months makes clear the workers, membership and student-athletes all over the place are able to get to work.

  • Gender fairness progress. For the reason that NCAA accomplished an exhaustive third-party gender fairness evaluation in 2021, workers have been implementing advisable modifications to make sure that ladies’s sports activities obtain equitable assist and that the experiences of student-athletes in these sports activities are each bit as inclusive, fulfilling and rewarding as these of their counterparts in males’s sports activities. The NCAA has made great strides in closing gaps, and up to date progress was analyzed by exterior specialists and launched final week. Progress has been made, however extra work stays. This week, I designated Felicia Martin, NCAA senior vice chairman of inclusion, training and neighborhood engagement, to go up these efforts for my crew. Martin, who has greater than 20 years of expertise in school sports activities, has been with the NCAA since February 2017 when she started as vice chairman of the Eligibility Middle. She was named to her present function in 2021. Earlier than the NCAA, Martin oversaw lecturers, scholar companies and sports activities administration because the senior affiliate athletics director at Texas Tech, the place she additionally had expertise as a counseling specialist for the tutorial and mentor program.
  • Up to date NIL pointers. I absolutely assist student-athletes’ rights to revenue from their title, picture and likeness. Over the previous a number of months, student-athletes and members alike known as on the NCAA to alter NIL insurance policies to enhance outcomes for student-athletes and enhance aggressive fairness. We answered that decision final week by advancing enhanced NIL policies on the Division I Board of Administrators assembly. These pointers nonetheless have a approach to go earlier than they’re carried out, however I imagine they’ll make sure that student-athletes have the flexibility to train their incomes potential within the NIL market and have protections from exploitation by potential unhealthy actors. In addition they will assist make sure that student-athletes throughout the nation have entry to the identical elementary alternatives whereas competing in keeping with the identical elementary guidelines. I look ahead to seeing extra from the Division I Council later this fall.
  • Medical insurance fund creation. Final week, we made a breakthrough in advancing the “holistic mannequin” developed by the Division I Transformation Committee in 2022 and authorised in idea earlier this yr. A key provision of the holistic mannequin is sustained medical health insurance for student-athletes who are suffering athletically associated accidents that require therapy past the top of their school enjoying careers. I’m proud to share that we developed a fund that will help all schools, throughout all three divisions, entry the assets they should meet their commitments to this side of the holistic mannequin.
  • Key enterprise evaluate findings. Earlier this yr, I launched a third-party enterprise and technique evaluate, and we recently received the results. We started this evaluate to assist establish alternatives to modernize the NCAA’s organizational construction, work processes and enterprise mannequin in methods that may improve the worth we generate for our member colleges and assist us higher ship on our core mission of offering a world-class athletics and educational expertise for student-athletes. We are going to now harness the expertise of the nationwide workplace to make these ambitions into our actuality.

Whereas there are limitations on what we alone can accomplish — which is why we proceed to concurrently advocate for Congress to take motion to stabilize the way forward for school sports activities — we’re dedicated to exhausting each avenue for reform inside our management. This has been an exceptionally productive time for the crew on the NCAA as we proceed to work collectively to assist greater than 500,000 student-athletes collaborating in NCAA sports activities throughout the nation.