On Thursday, the NCAA approved expansion of the men's basketball tournament to 68 teams. Here's a look at some of the other key decisions the NCAA's board of directors made during its meeting in Indianapolis:
- Approved expansion of the men's basketball tournament from 65 to 68 teams, effective March 2011. The board also endorsed a proposal to expand the opening-round games from one to four. The format must still be approved by the men's basketball committee this summer.
- Approved new rules mandating concussions. Schools in all three divisions must comprise a concussion policy that mandates removal of players who exhibit concussion-like symptoms and require players who are diagnosed with concussions to sit out the rest of the day. Players can only return if they have been cleared by a medical professional trained in concussion injuries. Athletes will have to sign a statement saying they will report illnesses and injuries to team doctors. The new rules take effect this fall, and schools that do not comply could face yet-to-be-determined sanctions.
- Endorsed a recommendation that will require football players to complete a minimum of nine credit hours during the fall semester to remain academically eligible for the following season. The board said studies show players who complete at least nine hours in the fall are more likely to be academically eligible in the spring. Players who fail to meet the requirement would have to sit out four games, but could reduce the penalty to two games if they complete 27 credit hours by the end of the next summer session.
- Endorsed a recommendation from the Committee on Academic Performance to eliminate waivers for penalties assessed to Football Bowl Subdivision schools that have players leave school after completing their eligibility and are not academically eligible. That's a problem for players who leave school to attend pre-NFL combine workouts. The board agreed that eliminating the waivers would be an incentive to improve retention and eligibility issues.
- Adopted a recommendation to continue studying the time demands on football student-athletes and the requirements for two-year college transfers.
- Endorsed recommendations for new Division I membership standards. If approved, new Division I schools would undergo a four-year reclassification process, becoming fully eligible in the fifth year; need to be an active member in Division II for at least five years before starting reclassification; need to meet Division I requirements upon the start of reclassification; and have a bona fide offer to join a conference before starting the reclassification process.