Posts Tagged ‘Basketball’

The NCAA will move forward with plans to restructure the current Division I system and allow the so-called  “Power Five Conferences” greater autonomy because an override period for the Division I Board of Directors’ decision to restructure how member institutions govern themselves ended and the legislation did not acquire enough override requests to require the board to reconsider.images

As per the NCAA: “The override period for the Division I Board of Directors’ decision to restructure how members govern themselves ended today, and the legislation did not garner enough override requests to require the board to reconsider.

Of the 345 schools in the division, 27 schools requested an override of the legislation that finalized the restructuring plan, less than the 75 required.

The new governance structure provides student-athletes with a vote at every level of decision-making in Division I and will preserve and improve college sports, which has helped millions of student-athletes gain access to higher education and pursue a degree.”

The new model will allow the 65 schools in the top five conferences:

  • ACC,
  • Big Ten
  • Big 12
  • SEC
  • Pac-12

greater autonomy to determine their own rules concerning, among other things:

  • Meals and nutrition.
  • Financial aid.
  • Health and wellness
  • Expenses and benefits for student-athletes.
  • Expenses and benefits for prospective student-athletes.
  • Insurance and career transition.
  • Career pursuits.
  • Time demands.
  • Academic support.

The new model becomes effective for the 2015-2016 academic year, though the 65 schools have already begun developing their agenda for discussion at the 2015 NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C.

What does this mean for student-athletes? Is this a good thing for the athletes involved in college sports? We can only wait and see. The good news, the new governance structure provides student-athletes with a vote at every level of decision-making in Division I, something student-athletes have never had previously.

For those of you who are unaware, the 2014 Asian Games began this week in South Korea. The competition is the world’s second-largest multi-sport event, with about 9,500 athletes representing 45 countries. (Where’s ESPN?)

But even before the Games began, members of the Qatari women’s basketball team were told by FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, that in order for the Qatari team to participate in the games, the players could not wear their headscarves or hijabs, even though they do so in observance of their Islamic faith.

The reason FIBA announced was because that its rules do not allow “headgear, hair accessories, and jewelry.” FIBA stood firm on its arcane position even though it is fully aware that the women basketball players would be wearing headscarves designed specifically for female athletes and that athletes competing in rowing, badminton and other sports have been wearing religious headscarves without incident.

The Qatari team was alerted of FIBA’s stance regarding hijabs but had hoped FIBA would make an allowance based upon the fact that the wearing of a hijab was for religious reasons – not as a fashion statement. When FIBA failed to make any allowance, the Qatari women chose to forfeit the game and then subsequently officially withdrew from the tournament prior to their second scheduled game. (Yes, FIBA will invite you to play in the spirit of international competition, but if you don’t like its rules – go home.)

“We are here to push the international association that all Muslim teams are ready to compete in any competition,” stated Alham Salem M. al-Mana, a member of the Quatai basketball team.

FIBA based in decision on the premise that the hijabs create unsafe conditions on the court.  My question is how? What facts does FIBA have to support such a position?

In fact, many Muslims, and non-Muslims such as myself, have criticized the rule as discriminatory and Human Rights Watch challenged FIBA to prove that the headscarves are unsafe. “In the case of basketball, it’s difficult to see how a ban on the headscarf is anything other than an unnecessary restriction on the players’ rights to religious freedom and personal autonomy,” the organization said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch, along with a others, are pushing for FIBA to follow FIFA’s lead wherein, beginning last March, it has lifted its ban on religiously mandated headgear.

The ironic part of all of this is that the motto of the 2014 Asian Games is “Diversity Shines Here.” Apparently, however, FIBA is not bending any rules to live up to the creed.