In October, the NCAA created its new Transformation Committee, a group of athletic directors, conference commissioners, university presidents and former players that is charged with suggesting changes for Division I athletics in the coming years.
As the future of the Division I sports landscape continues to endure rapid change and speculation, Maryland athletic director Damon Evans, one of the members of the Transformation Committee, has his eyes set on a bright future for both college athletics and the Terrapins.
“I think as we look at what’s going on in the world of intercollegiate athletics, there’s so many things changing around us, and it’s incumbent upon us not to always be reactive but to maintain a position of being proactive,” Evans said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov 4.
“We’ll take a look at things such as our current governance structure, the way that we make rules and regulations,” the athletic director added. “… We’ll focus on things such as the student-athlete experience, also looking at student-athlete well-being from a physical health and mental health standpoint to move our collegiate model along the lines of meeting the needs of student-athletes where they are today.”
Evans is one of two Transformation Committee members from the Big Ten, one of 11 from Power 5 conferences and one of 21 overall representatives in total. He is looking forward to the committee’s work to “address Division I’s most significant challenges and more effectively meet the needs of current and future student-athlete”, per the Committee’s introductory press release.
“I’m just excited about the opportunity and working with my colleagues from around the country to make the changes that are necessary for intercollegiate athletics,” Evans said.
With overall excitement for the trajectory of college athletics around the country comes an extra source of buzz on Maryland’s campus. For the first time since March 2020, students and fans were welcomed back to the Xfinity for Terps men’s and women’s basketball’s season openers.
It is an especially exciting season for Maryland basketball, as both teams open the year ranked in the top 25. The women’s team is currently ranked No. 3, and Maryland’s men’s team sits at No. 20. Both teams began the year 3-0.
“As you can imagine, we’re excited about both of our basketball programs. … [Our men’s team has] a good nucleus returning with Eric Ayala, Donta Scott and Hakim Hart, as well as some new additions,” Evans said.
NCAA Division I programs continue to work through rumblings of more conference realignment on the horizon. Oklahoma and Texas announced plans to move to the SEC ahead of the 2025-26 school year, which shook up the college sports landscape during the summer. If, by ripple effect, the Big Ten is involved in realignment in the future, the football program figures to be among the programs most affected at Maryland.
“I think that for those of us in the Big Ten and other conferences, we have to look at what [we can] do to better position ourselves as we continue to move forward in this world of intercollegiate athletics,” Evans said of the prospect of the Big Ten being involved in a nation-wide conference shakeup.
The Big Ten announced this summer that it had formed an alliance with the Pac-12 and ACC to collaborate on all-encompassing university programs and initiatives — including out-of-conference scheduling for football and men’s and women’s basketball.
Evans believes Maryland is well positioned to take advantage of whatever comes its way.
“We are a very, very good [institution] academically. We’re a top-20 public [university], and our athletics program continues to grow,” Evans said. “… I believe whatever changes are forthcoming, we will position ourselves to meet the challenges, embrace those challenges, and make sure that we continue to be in the upper-echelon of intercollegiate athletics across this country. I’m confident we’ll do so.”
For more from Evans, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics