SBD/April 25, 2014/Colleges

NCAA Endorsing Proposal To Allow Power Conferences To Make Independent Decisions

The NCAA D-I BOD Thursday voted to "endorse a proposal that would allow" the Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and ACC "to make their own decisions in several areas," according to Stefanie Loh of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The conferences would be able make decisions in areas such as "financial aid (including full cost of attendance stipends and scholarship guarantees beyond one year), insurance (including policies that protect future earnings), academic support and other support for student-athletes and their families." Other support could include things like "free tickets to sporting events and expenses such as parking that are associated with practices and competition." The proposal "advances to a full vote in August, and many questions still need to be answered." Areas of concern "include mandatory time away from athletics for student-athletes, recruiting and transfer issues, and the elimination of rules that prevent student-athletes from pursuing careers beyond athletics during their eligibility." Under the new model, NCAA D-I membership would "still be led" by a BOD "composed mainly of university presidents." But this BOD "will now include" the D-I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Chair, the most senior D-I member of the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association's executive committee and the chair of a new group tentatively named "The Council." This group "would have 38 members -- one from each Division I conference -- and include two voting student-athletes and four commissioners." The new structure "gives student-athletes a seat at the table for the first time" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/25). ESPN.com's Brian Bennett wrote the BOD on Thursday also decided that any rules "adopted by the power five conferences would not require separate votes by the other 27 leagues." NCAA officials said that they would "seek more input from those conferences on how they would want to handle those decisions." The BOD "resolved to begin the transition to a new structure" by the fall, with the "new council in place" by '15 (ESPN.com, 4/24).

FOOD FIGHT:
In N.Y., Zach Schonbrun writes with the new NCAA rules on meals, coaches "have carte blanche to push for larger menus, leaving administrators to worry about the cost." North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora called nutrition and food services “one of the last frontiers” in athletics. He added, “It hasn’t been fully tapped yet." Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez said, "Each school has to make their decision about how elaborate they want to be.” He added, “I think occasionally you want to feed them a really nice meal and reward them for something. Now you can do it" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/25).
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