Much of the public perception of intercollegiate athletics is that it is a big business which is inconsistent with our campus ethos and values and is divorced from the best interests of student‐athletes. This impression has triggered a crescendo of external threats to the continued viability of the collegiate model. We are at a critical crossroads in the history of our membership. Faced with challenging questions regarding restructuring, we are also presented with the opportunity to maximize the effectiveness of Division I and the new Council. The participation and adequate representation of ADs and FARs at all levels of Division I is essential and beneficial to the membership in developing effective, well‐designed policy. Thus, we believe that the Council should be comprised of an equal number of ADs and FARs. We articulated a number of reasons for doing so in our February 4th letter to the Steering Committee: Letter to President Hatch. The following summarizes several specific rationales:
(1) Including an equal number of ADs and FARs demonstrates that intercollegiate athletics is a shared partnership between athletics and the greater campus. It also is the most effective way to underscore our commitment to the collegiate model and to emphasize that DI governance embodies the campus mission to advance the best interests of our student‐athletes, both as athletes and as college students.
(2) On our campuses, the CEO has numerous responsibilities with oversight of all things from A to Z. Typically, the CEO delegates significant responsibilities to the FAR and expects the FAR to represent the greater campus interest in athletic policy development and implementation just as the AD represents the athletic interest. Extending that model to the Council will bring together the skills sets, experiences, and perspectives of ADs and FARs to enable DI governance to adopt policy as an integrated whole that best responds to the critical issues facing college athletics and best advances the well‐being of our student‐athletes.
(3) The redesigned DI Board’s ability to exercise effective oversight depends on a Council that will fully vet policy and areas of concern. A Council with an equal number of ADs and FARs will be best positioned to serve the DI Board because:
- Full, robust, and interactive engagement by both ADs and FARs is most likely to identify potential negative consequences of particular policy choices and can lead to policy articulation least likely to produce unintended consequences.
- In those rare cases in which ADs and FARs do not reach consensus, the Council can identify the area of disagreement and the considerations and policy emphases that led to disagreement. As a result, the DI Board will have a detailed and focused analysis to permit it to make a final, informed decision.
(4) The FAR often has greater institutional memory and may have been in the FAR role longer than the AD or the CEO, and certainly may have more years of being a part of the greater campus than either the AD or CEO. That broader experience can assist the Council and DI Board in shaping national policy.