MC Athletic Directors Attend Landmark NCAA Convention / Charles Williams

The past months have been some of the most eventful in NCAA history, as multiple big changes have changed the landscape of college sports across all levels. Due to these changes, the NCAA deemed it necessary to make changes to its constitution to keep up. On Jan. 20, the new constitution was passed, instituting changes that would affect every athletic program, including MC.  

“This year, in particular, was a special year,” said MC Associate Athletic Director of Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator Susan Musselwhite, in reference to the changes being made to the constitution. “Sometimes you could get a feel that it wasn’t necessarily student-friendly,” she went on to say about the old constitution, before praising the fact that the new constitution was opening the door for student-athletes to profit off of their own likeness. 

Athletic Director Kenny Bizot echoed this sentiment, saying that he enjoyed his first conference and liked how the whole conference seemed “geared toward the student-athlete and making sure we’re protecting the student-athlete.”  

Much of the new legislation in the revised constitution is centered around the NIL legislation that came out this summer, allowing college athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness for the first time. This means college athletes across all levels are now able to sign endorsement deals, something that has already greatly affected college athletics.  

However, since this change mostly relates to the marketability of the athlete, the changes relative to the new NIL legislation will affect each division differently. For this reason the committee decided to give each division the ability to make their own rules regarding those changes. According to Musselwhite and Bizot, the changes will primarily affect Division I, so the ability for each to make their own regulations will let them tailor those regulations to Division I’s situation. This also allows Divisions II and III to make unique rules that will fit the situations of the smaller schools and programs in their divisions.  

One of the potential side effects of the new NIL rules that Musselwhite foresees is that bigger schools will end up using it as an advantage over smaller schools in recruiting because of their potential to offer better endorsements. However, overall both she and Bizot expressed excitement that athletes at MC could be compensated.   

Since she was once a student-athlete herself, Musselwhite praised the fact that student-athletes could now earn money despite the busy schedules that come with playing a sport.  

“I think it’s great…I’m all on board for our student-athletes,” said Bizot, adding that as long as they followed the rules he was absolutely in favor of MC athletes utilizing the new rules.  

While we still have yet to see how Division II and the Gulf South Conference institute their specific changes, there is no denying that these changes are going to be extremely impactful to college athletics. Mississippi College and other universities of our size may not be the ones getting headlines, but the new rules will impact us in an equally big way.   

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