December 2022: LEAD 1 Recommendations – FBS Football Governance Proposal

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Executive Summary:

Although our recommendations provide FBS football with more autonomy within the NCAA, for FBS football to continue operating within the structure of higher education, precise demarcation of authority among NCAA governing entities must be drawn including with regard to material risk and liability.

In that light, after an elaborate seven-month process upon which more than 100 FBS ADs, all 10 FBS commissioners, NCAA governance representatives, and the College Football Playoff (CFP) Executive Director participated in dialogue about the future of FBS football governance within the NCAA, we reached consensus on the following main recommendations.

  1. That the NCAA should establish an FBS Football Governing Board, primarily comprised of football-knowledgeable FBS conference appointments, one representative from the American Football Coach Association (AFCA), and four independent directors, at least two being former FBS football student-athletes, appointed by the FBS conference Board members, and AFCA representative. This FBS Football Governing Board should serve as a parallel entity to the NCAA Division I Council. Additionally, the FBS Football Governing Board should decide all matters related to FBS football except for academic, student-athlete financial aid/benefit rules, and decisions deemed to materially impact the NCAA (including financial, health and safety, and other risk factors) amongst possible other important decisions, which should be subject to NCAA Division I Board of Directors oversight; and
  2. Similar to a Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball, who serves on the NCAA President’s Leadership Team/Cabinet, a new position should be created for FBS football, a Chief Operating Officer (COO) with staff, to run the day-to-day operation of the sport and report to the FBS Football Board. This COO should also be on the NCAA President’s Leadership Team/Cabinet.

Failing implementation of these recommendations, our FBS ADs are in favor of examining options for such decision-making outside of the NCAA.