Yesterday we told you that NCAA president Mark Emmert was promising big changes to the way his organization governs Division I athletics. Last night, Dan Wolken of USA Today broke down some of the major themes that — according to D-I athletic directors — came up during this week’s conversations between the NCAA, faculty athletics representatives, and ADs.
According to Wolken, his sources claim those themes are:
1. “There is zero momentum to the long-theorized notion of leaving the NCAA and forming a new organization.” If you read this site, that won’t surprise you. We’ve been pooh-poohing secession talk since launching MrSEC.com in 2008. That said, according to Wolken’s sources, we’re not likely to see a completely new super-division at the top of the D-I tree, either. “Rather a new subset within Division I would be mostly about flexibility and voting power to enact policies without pushback from schools that don’t have FBS football programs.” In other words, there would be no separation between the haves and have-nots on the playing field. There would, however, be a separation when it comes to voting on such things as full-cost-of-tuition scholarships. The new super-division that we have prophesied would be more of a backroom split than a front porch division.
2. The idea of each sport having “some autonomy to deal with its unique issues” is being kicked around, a la the US Olympic Committee. Swimmers and basketballers aren’t held to the exact same rules and Wolken says “there’s some consensus that governing football and men’s basketball by the same set of rules as, say, tennis no longer makes much sense.”
3. Everyone is still hung up on how exactly to provide more financial aid to student-athletes. “Though there’s virtual unanimity that athletes should, and ultimately will, receive some sort of stipend above the value of their scholarship, there’s still disagreement about how to implement it.” A stipend? A full-cost-of-tuition scholarship? Something else? There appears to be no consensus on how to get from A to B even though everyone realizes that B is the ultimate destination.
4. No one is sure what — if any — changes could be in the offing for the NCAA’s rules on agent-player relationships.
The big takeaway appears to be that there will be no big breakaway from the NCAA. Also, a new super-division of the richest schools could be more of a behind-the-scenes power bloc than a front-and-center split between the mega-conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12) and the rest of the FBS leagues.