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

We’re in an unprecedented period for school sports activities. The setting 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 fulfill that cost. Instantly after taking up as president, I led an effort to herald exterior consultants to research each facet of the nationwide workplace, whereas I additionally got down to hear instantly from all 97 main conferences throughout the Affiliation. Because of this, we produced a strategic plan for the work forward that prioritizes student-athlete outcomes. On the similar time, we’re already making actual adjustments throughout the Affiliation, together with enhancing the advantages and protections school athletes have entry to. There may be extra work forward, however what we’ve already completed these previous couple of months makes clear the employees, membership and student-athletes in every single 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, employees have been implementing really useful adjustments to make sure that girls’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 consultants and launched final week. Progress has been made, however extra work stays. This week, I designated Felicia Martin, NCAA senior vp of inclusion, schooling and neighborhood engagement, to go up these efforts for my workforce. 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 vp of the Eligibility Middle. She was named to her present function in 2021. Earlier than the NCAA, Martin oversaw lecturers, scholar providers 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 totally 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 vary NIL insurance policies to enhance outcomes for student-athletes and improve 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 solution to go earlier than they’re carried out, however I imagine they’ll be sure that student-athletes have the power to train their incomes potential within the NIL market and have protections from exploitation by potential dangerous actors. Additionally they will assist be sure that student-athletes throughout the nation have entry to the identical basic alternatives whereas competing in response to the identical basic guidelines. I stay up for 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 permitted in idea earlier this 12 months. A key provision of the holistic mannequin is sustained medical health insurance for student-athletes who are suffering athletically associated accidents that require remedy past the tip of their school taking part in 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 facet of the holistic mannequin.
  • Key enterprise evaluate findings. Earlier this 12 months, 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 faculties and assist us higher ship on our core mission of offering a world-class athletics and educational expertise for student-athletes. We’ll 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 workforce on the NCAA as we proceed to work collectively to assist greater than 500,000 student-athletes taking part in NCAA sports activities throughout the nation.