The NCAA announced Thursday that leaders from outside higher education will join college and university presidents on the board that governs college sports.

More than 1,000 representatives from schools and conferences in all three NCAA divisions came together for a historic vote aimed at increasing objectivity and adding fresh perspectives to the NCAA Board of Governors, the association's highest-ranking governance body.

University of Colorado Chancellor Philip DiStefano, who sits on the NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors, voted in favor of the addition of five leaders from outside higher education to the board.

"Given the issues that have come up these past couple of years in men's basketball and the recommendations from the Rice Commission, it was clear to me that the perception is we are having a difficult time in some cases governing ourselves, and bringing in external members will assist us in being seen as more objective," said DiStefano in a press release.

The current Board of Governors includes 16 college and university presidents and chancellors representing each division as voting members; the chairs of the Division I Council and the Division II and III Management Councils as ex-officio nonvoting members; and the NCAA president.


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The Board of Governors has contracted a third-party search firm, Heidrick & Struggles, to filter and vet candidates. Nominations may be submitted by NCAA members or the public. The Board of Governors executive committee, which includes presidents and chancellors from all three divisions, is the nominating committee for independent board members and will make recommendations to the full board for approval.