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Letter from Pac-12 Presidents

May 22, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to you, our colleagues at the member institutions of the Pac-12's four peer conferences, because we believe that the events of the last few months have underscored the urgency with which we must move forward in reforming the rules that govern intercollegiate athletics, and because we believe that bold rather than incremental  action must be taken now.

Due in no small part to the support you and your conferences have provided, the NCAA Governance Steering Committee and the NCAA Board have made great progress toward supporting the autonomy our five conferences have been seeking to implement  important reforms. Nevertheless, we remain concerned that the process remains vulnerable to inertia or attempts to override, disagreement over details, and incrementalism, all of which may contribute  to harmful  delay. Because it is essential that the issue of autonomy, and the specific reforms we intend to enact once given that autonomy, be clear coming out of the NCAA meeting in August, we believe this is a crucial time - as we all head into our respective Board meetings in the coming weeks - to ensure that we are all advocating for substantial and meaningful  change.

We need not have every last detail worked out. Our conference and campus  experts can work on those details in the coming months, but we as CEOs must set and announce the substance of our reform agenda as soon as possible. It is clear from the recent statements of any number  of individuals that, while they may share our view that labor unions are not the answer, the time has come for a meaningful response both to the student-athletes' grievances and to the need to reassert the academic primacy of our mission.

We are confident that you share our sense of urgency. A loss of momentum  at this crucial time could leave the field to more extreme viewpoints that seek either to do away with college athletics entirely or professionalize them to such an extent as to have the same result. Thousands of student-athletes in those sports - the vast majority of whom will go on to careers outside of their sport - could lose their access to a system that has supported  the
education  of generations of students, and strengthened  bonds among students, alumni, and
our communities.

For these reasons, we have outlined below our principal objectives for reform, addressing both the need to increase the funding for student-athlete driven initiatives and the restoration of academic  primacy to the mission of intercollegiate athletics:

1.  Permit institutions to make scholarship awards up to the full cost of attendance.

2. Provide reasonable on-going medical or insurance assistance for student-athletes who suffer an incapacitating injury in competition  or practice.  Continue efforts to reduce the incidence  of disabling injury.

3. Guarantee scholarships for enough time to complete a bachelor's degree, provided that the student remains in good academic  standing.

4. Decrease the time demands  placed on the student-athlete in-season, and correspondingly  enlarge the time available for studies and full engagement in campus  life, by doing the following:

a. Prevent the abuse of organized "voluntary" practices to circumvent the limit of 20 hours per week.

b. More realistically assess the time away from campus  and other commitments during the season, including travel time.

5. Similarly decrease time demands out of season by reducing out-of-season competition and practices, and by considering shorter seasons in specific  sports.

6. Further strengthen the Academic Progress Rate requirements for post-season play.

7. Address the "one and done" phenomenon in men's basketball. If the National Basketball Association and its Players Association are unable to agree on raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men's basketball.

8. Provide student-athletes a meaningful role in governance at the conference and
NCAA levels.

9. Adjust existing restrictions so that student-athletes  preparing for the next stage in their careers are not unnecessarily deprived of the advice and counsel of agents and other competent  professionals, but without professionalizing intercollegiate  athletics.

10. Liberalize the current  rules limiting the ability of student-athletes to transfer between institutions.

While each of our conferences likely has additional items on its agenda, we believe these are the core objectives toward which we all are striving. We acknowledge this agenda could prove to be expensive and controversial, but the risks of inaction or moving too slowly are far greater. The time for tinkering with the rules and making small adjustments is over.

We are confident that you will join us in this final push to enact the NCAA reforms described above, and we would very much appreciate hearing from you so that we can accurately gauge the level of alignment among our five conferences and 65 institutions.

Please let us know your response on this reform agenda by June 4 by reply to this email message or through your conference commissioner. It is important to know where everyone is on these specifics before our colleagues meet together in Dallas on June 16.

With best wishes,

President Ann Weaver Hart, University of Arizona
President Michael Crow, Arizona State University
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, University of California Berkeley
Chancellor Philip DiStefano, University of Colorado
President Michael Gottfredson, University of Oregon
President Edward Ray, Oregon State University
President John Hennessy, Stanford University
Chancellor Gene Block, UCLA
President C.L. Max NIkias, USC
President David Pershing, Utah
President Michael Young, University of Washington
President Elson S. Floyd, Washington State University