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NCAA Board of Directors begins process of setting up new governance structure

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INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA's Board of Directors delayed its first major vote under the new governance structure Thursday.

Rather than choosing members of the first big committee, the board asked conference leaders to submit a more diverse pool of candidates before the rescheduled vote within the next month.

The committee, known as the Council, is scheduled to begin its work in January by selecting a chair person.

"We believe the highest decision-making body in Division I should be reflective of the different perspectives in the division," board chairman Nathan Hatch said.

"Requiring diversity on the Council will lead to better decisions for the NCAA as a whole. We started restructuring partly because we wanted a broader range of voices in the room for important conversations, and we hope that is the end result when we appoint the Council."

The committee is expected to be comprised primarily of athletic directors, which will give them more input into major decisions. Any rules adopted by the committee must still be approved by the board, which is comprised primarily of university presidents.

Once the Council chooses a chair, the committee members will then begin selecting subcommittee members to assist with legislation, oversee championships and any other functions deemed necessary.

It's just a start.

Earlier this month, the five richest football conferences asked the NCAA to give its schools more latitude on a handful of issues such as providing more scholarship money, multiyear scholarships and expanded health and wellness benefits.

Earlier this week, NCAA President Mark Emmert reiterated that he supports all of the measures included on the wish list.

"I think all the issues that have been outlined so far by the five conferences individually are all things consistent with things we've been talking about, certainly all issues I support," he told The Associated Press.

PHOTO: The Michigan State basketball team practices following the team's NCAA college basketball media day, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
The Michigan State basketball team practices following the team's NCAA college basketball media day, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

"They want to wrestle with, this is a complicated issue, but they want to wrestle with the time and opportunity for student-athletes to be involved in their academics and their academic community. I think all of those things are part of what makes great sense."

Scholarships are currently allowed to cover tuition, room and board, books and fees. The five power conferences want to provide additional money that would cover additional expenses, up to the full amount a traditional student might spend annually.

Three years ago, the board of directors passed a provision that would have allowed each student-athlete to collect up to $2,000 per year beyond the standard scholarship limit.

The legislation was later overridden by a large group of smaller schools, which could have opted in or out, and eventually led to the push to give the power conferences more control over some rules.

This time, Emmert believes, the power conferences are looking for a more flexible plan which would account for cost-of-living disparities across the nation.

"The full cost-of-attendance conversation has pretty much always been about meeting costs, the realistic costs of being at that particular school," Emmert said.

"So if it's in an urban area versus a rural area, if a student is traveling from a small distance rather than a near distance, all of those things come to bear just as they would with any student that's going to that school."

The other 27 conferences, Emmert said, will be given an opportunity to again opt in or opt out of any legislation that is passed, which may explain why only 27 schools signed an override measure to the new governing structure that was passed in August.

"They want an opportunity to make sure that their student-athletes have a realistic chance to compete on the field or on the court in any given game," Emmert said.

"They want to make sure that decisions are made in all the other areas of Division I rules with their voice and their opinions and their vote. They want to make sure that they're provided an opportunity to follow rules changes that are made with the five high-resource conferences and if they're have those things, then they've indicated they're pleased."

In other business Thursday, the board selected Ohio University President Roderick McDavis the chair of the new 20-member Committee on Academic Performance.

One opening remains for a yet to be named student athlete. And the board added four new members to the infractions committee — former college football coach Bill Curry; Jack Ford, CBS legal analyst and co-founder of American Education Television Network; Larry Parkinson, director of investigations at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Jill Pilgrim, an attorney who once represented USA Track & Field and the LPGA.

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PHOTO: The Michigan State basketball team practices following the team's NCAA college basketball media day, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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