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SBD/December 12, 2013/Colleges
Leaders Say NCAA Reform Is Coming Soon, But What Or How Much Remains To Be Seen
Published December 12, 2013
CONFERENCE CALL: The AP's Rachel Cohen reported the five power conferences "want more flexibility in providing financial support to athletes." NCAA leaders are "exploring ways to alter their governing structure, which would allow the colleges that can afford it to pay for certain expenses currently prohibited." That includes "offering a stipend for the costs of attending school not covered by scholarships." Benson, whose conference lacks an automatic BCS bid, "supports greater autonomy for those five as long as there's proper oversight and believes a change will come, though it won't be very dramatic." Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany acknowledged that he and his counterparts "don't have many concessions to offer the other members to entice them to approve a change that clearly bolsters those five leagues." But Cohen noted the tribulations that have "recently roiled college sports may mean this time really is different." Delany insisted that from the "botched investigation of Miami to lawsuits seeking compensation for athletes, 'we got to a tipping point last year.'" While conference leaders "currently express support for staying in NCAA Division I, there's always the risk they could try to break away unless they gain more autonomy." Delany said, "If we can do that, I think we can stay together. If we can't do that, I think we have to honestly say, 'Hey, we not only have external threats, we have internal threats.' And the internal threats are that we can't find a way to use the NCAA as a town hall for us to solve our problems" (AP, 12/11).