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Big Ten supports new NCAA model to give major conferences automony

  • Blog Post by: Joe Christensen
  • June 2, 2014 - 10:53 AM

The Big Ten is ready for significant NCAA change. Commissioner Jim Delany has long made that clear, but the conference issued a statement Sunday stressing that it supports a new model that would give autonomy to the five power conferences (including the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC).

The statement echoed the urgency the Pac-12 presidents had in their letter last month. The five power conferences are ready for this new model now, so they can begin providing athletes with "full cost of attendance scholarships” and other enhanced benefits.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Friday that if the Power Five conferences aren't given the flexibility to form their own bylaws, they might have to form a new NCAA Division -- Division IV. The Big Ten didn't go that far, but here's how it summed up its annual June meeting of the Big Ten's Council of Presidents/Chancellors:

Key areas of discussion focused on NCAA restructuring, the need for autonomy for the 65 institutions comprising the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC, and ensuring accountability for delivering reform.

Similar to Pac-12 letter, the Big Ten stressed the urgency of taking action now:

While the NCAA Board of Directors’ Steering Committee on Governance has made good progress in the area of autonomy, more work needs to be done as we seek to implement a 21st century governance structure that preserves the collegiate model while allowing each school to focus on improved student-athlete welfare.

Why autonomy? Because the power five conferences are ready to start implementing these changes but have met resistance from the lower-revenue conferences. From the statement (with highlights of what the athletes could get in bold):

The Big Ten continues to strongly support full cost of attendance scholarships, reasonable on-going medical or insurance assistance to student-athletes, continued efforts to reduce the incidence of disabling injury, guaranteed scholarships to complete a bachelor’s degree, decreased time demands and enhanced time to fully engage in campus life, adjusted restrictions on preparing for careers based on advice and counsel of agents and a meaningful role in governance for student-athletes.

Some other key points:

The [Big Ten presidents] also examined three other principal objectives for reform proposed by the Pac-12 presidents – strengthening the Academic Progress Rate (APR) requirements for post-season play, the “one and done” culture in men’s basketball and liberalizing current limits on transfer rules. While the concept of increasing APR requirements has not been discussed in the past, the Big Ten has long supported increased academic standards for all institutions. With respect to the issues of the “one and done” culture and transfer rules, the [Big Ten council of presidents] agrees that these are important issues that should be examined and addressed in cogent ways.

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