Hatch says new NCAA governance model may warrant congressional review

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said on Thursday that congressional review might be warranted for the governance redesign model that has been approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division I Board of Directors.

The five largest conferences in the nation would have autonomy under the new model, which could lead to college athletes being paid for athletic performance.

“The NCAA should be responsible for promoting fair competition among its participating institutions and their student athletes,” Hatch, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said. “I am concerned that (Thursday’s) action could create an uneven playing field that may prevent some institutions from being able to compete fairly with other schools that have superior resources to pay for student athletes. I also worry about how this decision will affect a school’s Title IX requirements and whether this consolidation of power will restrict competition and warrant antitrust scrutiny.”

Under the restructured governance model, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors will be expanded to include a student-athlete, faculty representative, athletics director and female administrator. The new model also grants larger conferences the flexibility to independently change rules within specific areas.

“I am immensely proud of the work done by the membership,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “The new governance model represents a compromise on all sides that will better serve our members and, most importantly, our student-athletes. These changes will help all our schools better support the young people who come to college to play sports while earning a degree.”

Hatch said he would “closely” examine the redesign model to determine whether or not action must be taken to ensure that competition in college athletics is preserved.