SBD/July 18, 2014/Colleges

NCAA Proposes New Governance Structure Aimed At Pleasing Power Five Conferences

White said private school athletes may already be earning $500,000 in benefits
The NCAA D-1 Steering Committee on Friday released its "proposal for a new governance structure," and it includes "lower voting thresholds for the five power conferences to pass legislation," according to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY. That was a "key element" that SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany "had been pushing for." Instead of a two-thirds supermajority, the new model "outlines two ways autonomous legislation can be passed" -- either a 60% approval and a "majority in three of the five conferences" or a "simple majority if it's supported by four of the five conferences." The D-I BOD will vote on the new set-up Aug. 7, and if it passes, "each of the 65 power conference schools will have one voting representatives on autonomous issues." Each of the Power Five also will have "three voting athlete representatives for a total of 80 votes." Approval of the new structure will "pave the way for major conferences -- and others in Div. I who want to adopt the legislation -- to make significant rules changes including full cost of attendance scholarships" (USATODAY.com, 7/18). CBSSPORTS.com's Jon Solomon reports if the proposal passes, there will be a 60-day "override period for the membership." At least 75 schools would "have to request an override to require the board to reconsider the rule change, and 125 schools are needed to suspend the rule change until the board meets to reconsider" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/18).

SMITH CONFIDENT OF SUCCESS: Ohio State AD Gene Smith said he believes the outcome of the vote "is going to be highly positive." He added, "In the end, we’ll be able to do what we want to do for our student-athletes in our types of institutions.” In Columbus, Todd Jones notes the Power Five seek "increased autonomy in part because legislation for a $2,000 stipend for athletes was initially passed in 2011, only to have a majority of the 347 members in Division I override the proposal." Smith: "The top 65 are different. Our resources are significantly different than the other schools. We have the capacity to do more things for our student-athletes that other schools can’t do. ... We should be allowed to do those” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 7/18).

TRIANGLE OFFENSE: In Durham, Harold Gutmann reports North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham, Duke AD Kevin White, NC Central AD Ingrid Wicker-McCree and NC State AD Debbie Yow gathered Thursday to discuss the "complications of the cost of attendance issue." Should the Power Five receive more autonomy on athlete benefits, Yow "believes that the first issue up for debate would be providing athletes with the full cost of attendance." She said, "It sounds like such a simple idea but is anything but that, for a couple of reasons." Yow also spoke on Title IX and said it "doesn’t recognize revenue-producing sports." Yow: "If we’re going to do this for the men, are we also going to have to do this for the women?” Meanwhile, Cunningham said that UNC "already gets $500,000 a year from an NCAA student assistance fund that can be given to student-athletes in need, and some athletes get up to $11,000 a year." He was "concerned that spending more money could decrease the opportunities for kids who want to play collegiate sports." Wicker-McCree said that earlier this summer, the MEAC, "decided not to follow a new NCAA guideline that allows Division I athletes to receive unlimited meals and snacks." She said that the "cost of attendance issue would be another challenge for non-Power 5 conferences, though she didn’t think that should be a reason to stop it from moving forward." Meanwhile, White said that a scholarship athlete at a private school like Duke "could already be receiving the equivalent of $500,000 in benefits over a four-year career." He would "prefer a system that provided full cost of attendance only to those in need instead of offering it to everyone" (Durham HERALD-SUN, 7/18).
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