NCAA President Mark Emmert addresses Sun Belt Fall Meeting

NEW ORLEANS ( – As the Sun Belt Conference began its fall meeting on Tuesday, NCAA President Mark Emmert took time to address the conference membership on important national collegiate athletics topics.

"This is a fascinating moment in college sports," said Emmert. "It is a moment of great possibilities and a moment where there has never been greater success in collegiate athletics – the number of student-athletes is at an all-time high, the graduation rates of student-athletes is at an all-time high, and the attention on college athletics is at an all-time high. While all of those positives are going on, there are a number of issues that simultaneously need to addressed - resources are furthering divisions, safety of student-athletes is a primary concern, and the governance structure of collegiate athletics has come into question.  This is a very active time – and it is critical that Sun Belt Conference membership can weigh-in on these issues."

"We appreciate Dr. Emmert's willingness to engage with our group on a wide range of important topics," said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson.  "Our membership understands the significance of the current collegiate athletics landscape and values the opportunity to share our viewpoint with Dr. Emmert."

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors, comprised of college and university presidents from around the country, is undertaking a comprehensive review of the division's governance structure and processes to better serve student-athletes. Members from all Division I subdivisions are now working to streamline the process and structure by making it more transparent, responsive and inclusive.

Representatives from Division I institutions will  take part in an open and collaborative conversation about the future at the Division I Governance Dialogue in January, scheduled in conjunction with the 2014 NCAA Convention in San Diego. At that meeting, members will work to build consensus around possible paths forward.

The Sun Belt Conference's Fall Meetings are taking place in New Orleans on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Tuesday evening the conference will host its membership and local New Orleans dignitaries for a reception at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – the headquarters of the league office.