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Changing Times: NCAA Proposes Framework For Power Conference Autonomy

The NCAA news just keeps on coming today. The latest is that the NCAA directors have fleshed out the autonomy system proposed for the power conferences, namely the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. John Infante has the details of this:

Basically everything the power conferences asked for is in the proposal. Those will still be part of shared governance by the entire Division I membership. Areas earmarked for autonomy include:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Academic support;
  • Meals and nutrition;
  • Most incidental benefits;
  • The value of a scholarship;
  • Rules relating to canceling an athlete’s scholarship;
  • Insurance and career transition (agents);
  • Transfer rules;
  • Time demands on athletes;
  • Recruiting contact; and
  • Personnel limits.

This is the beginning of Calipari's original prediction that the power conferences would break away from the NCAA, and the NCAA responding to that threat. This new proposal basically provides a vehicle for power conferences to be more permissive, spend more money, and do more things that are currently off limits by NCAA rule. Non-power conferences would also have an opportunity to do those "permissive" things as well, if they want. Conferences and individual institutions would be able to accept or decline the items at their discretion.

You should read Infante's whole piece as he fleshes this out quite a bit, and it actually kind of makes sense. It looks to me like it is a framework that may well address most of the power conferences' complaints, like stipends and things like that, without inflicting them on smaller schools. Smaller schools may adopt them if they want, but wouldn't be forced to.

Obviously, this will give power conferences a potentially significant recruiting advantage, but in all honesty, they mostly had that anyway. I suspect that once all this is done, you won't see near as many recruiting upsets from non-power conference schools as you do these days, because almost all recruits will be looking for ways to get into power conference schools because of the additional money they'll be willing to spend.

Times, they are a-changin', as old Bob Dylan used to sing ...