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SBD/April 29, 2014/Colleges
Power Conference Autonomy In NCAA Could Come At Big Cost For Some Schools
Published April 29, 2014
TAKING CONTROL: In Providence, Kevin McNamara noted after "signing TV deals worth billions (mainly for football games), the 65-school cartel will now mold the future of college sports the way they see fit." Rhode Island AD Thorr Bjorn said, "This is a big deal. Much more communication needs to take place with the power conferences to see what their priorities are. Everyone is a bit leery right now." McNamara noted the five power conferences will "split the majority" of a $650M-a-year payout that TV is "forking over" for the new CFP. The NCAA’s men’s basketball TV contract pays out $770M a year, but that money is "distributed to all schools." The apparent "losers in the new world may well be those schools that still want to play football" in the FBS but "lack the funds to match dollars." This is a "direct challenge to many schools" in the AAC and a potential "death knell to schools" in the MAC, such as Akron and Eastern Michigan. At schools that "do not play big-time football, the challenges are less dire but could quickly become complex." Providence College does not have a football team, but AD Bob Driscoll and the "rest of his Big East brethren insist they are ready to pay up to compete in men's basketball." Driscoll said, "We consider ourselves a power conference, and we expect to keep pace. We don't have the resources to go across the board like some of those other schools, but we will keep pace in sports where we are trying to win the national championship" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 4/27). In Hartford, Paul Doyle wrote in the short term, D-I administrators will "benefit from more streamlined NCAA rules." UConn AD Warde Manuel, who has served on NCAA rules committees, is a "proponent of simplifying the rules and allowing schools to make common sense decisions." Manuel said, "I think it gives us the freedom to make decisions on our campus about how we want to move forward and how we want to deal with issues related to student-athlete welfare, whether it's stipends or food or travel or whatever it is" (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/27).