Thursday November 26th, 2015 8:06PM

NCAA board hands 5 biggest conferences more power

By The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a package of historic reforms Thursday that will give the nation's five biggest conferences the ability to unilaterally change some of the basic rules governing college sports.<br /> <br /> If the 16-2 decision stands, there will be striking differences between the 65 largest schools and the more than 280 others in Division I beginning as early as Oct. 1, though few expect change to come that quickly.<br /> <br /> "I am immensely proud of the work done by the membership," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. "The new governance model represents a compromise on all sides that will better serve our members and, most importantly, our student-athletes. These changes will help all our schools better support the young people who come to college to play sports while earning a degree."<br /> <br /> Representatives from the five richest leagues - the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC - will hold nearly twice as much voting power (37.5 percent) as any other group on a newly created council, where most legislation will be approved or rejected. The five other Football Bowl Subdivision leagues would account for 18.5 percent while the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision and non-football playing schools would split up another 37.5 percent of the vote. Athletes and faculty will account for the rest.<br /> <br /> Commissioners and school leaders from the power conferences have until Oct. 1 to create a wish list of issues they want to handle on their own.<br /> <br /> Any items that make the wish list would have to be approved by at least three of the five power-conference reps and at least 12 of the 20 presidents or chancellors on an expanded board of directors. Then, one representative from each of the 65 schools in the power-five leagues and three student-athletes from each conference would vote on each item. Passage would require 60 percent of the 80 votes and a simple majority of support from schools in at least three of the five conferences or a simple majority of all votes (41) and a simple majority from schools in four of the five leagues.<br /> <br /> Proponents believe all the checks and balances will work.<br /> <br /> "It does provide degrees of autonomy for the five high-resource conferences," said Nathan Hatch, board chairman and Wake Forest president. "This is not complete autonomy, we're still part of Division I, but I think it allows us to provide more benefits to student-athletes."<br /> <br /> The legislation still could be overridden in the next 60 days.<br /> <br /> If 75 schools sign the override measure, the board must take a second look at the plan. If 125 schools join the movement, the changes would be suspended until the board schedules a vote to reconsider.<br /> <br /> The No. 1 goal for the big conferences will be expanding scholarships to include more money toward the full cost-of-attendance -- funding that goes beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees. Legislation to give athletes an additional $2,000 to cover college expenses was approved by the board in October 2011 but was overridden two months later by the smaller schools, spurring the big leagues' vocal lobbying effort to be granted more autonomy.<br /> <br /> What else could make the wish list? The big conferences also want to invest more in athlete health care and continuing education, and want to ensure athletes retain scholarships for four years.<br /> <br /> Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby recently complained that cheating pays in college sports. It is unlikely the board would allow the five biggest conferences to set their own policing parameters for rules violations.<br /> <br /> Critics worry that the impact will create an even greater split between wealthy leagues and everyone else..<br /> <br /> "I think it's going to be great for those five conferences and that's about it," said Gerald Gurney, president of The Drake Group, an NCAA watchdog. "I don't think it's going to be a good step for non-revenue sports or for Title IX. We are going to get into a new phase of competition, and there will be no holds barred."<br /> <br /> Some leagues agree with the overall concept of the changes but have other concerns.<br /> <br /> A group of compliance officers and faculty representatives wrote to board Chairman Nathan Hatch in hopes of getting greater representation in the decision-making process. Big East and Ivy League officials expressed concerns over giving the five non-power, FBS-playing leagues permanent seats on the board, meaning almost two-thirds of the schools that do not play in the FBS will only hold seven seats on the board.<br /> <br /> Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky also told the NCAA his league strongly opposed any changes in transfer rules that would permit athletes to transfer "from our institutions to high resource conference institutions without restrictions unless it is the result of shared governance discussions and provides for shared voting privileges for all Division I conferences/institutions."<br /> <br /> Banowsky also chairs the NCAA's infractions committee. The board agreed and deemed transfer rule changes are off limits.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 10 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 10 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 10 months ago )
Jackets, Mississippi St. clash in Orange Bowl
No. 10 Georgia Tech has the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. No. 8 Mississippi State has held seven of its 12 opponents under 125 yards on the ground.
5:04PM ( 10 months ago )
Ole Miss defense braces for TCU offense in Peach Bowl
Mississippi and TCU were part of the playoffs story in 2014. Each team was part of the chase. Each team fell short of the coveted semifinals.
5:01PM ( 10 months ago )
Kiffin shining again after season of redemption
Lane Kiffin was modest in his goals and complimentary about the team he'll be facing in the Sugar Bowl. He went on and on about how much he's learned from Nick Saban, while insisting it's no big deal when his boss yells at him. Very un-Kiffin-like, you might say.
11:02PM ( 10 months ago )
College Sports
'Scary' Archer offers huge roadblock to Hawks' semifinal quest
It wasn't quite ‘The Exorcist,’ but all it took was one quick look at Archer's game film to make Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis shut his eyes and turn away.
9:20PM ( 1 hour from now )
VIDEO: Races won, Champions crowned in NASCAR finales at Homestead
After 10 months, 35 races, nine elimination races, a lot of racing and just as much drama, it all came down to the final restart. Kyle Busch surged ahead of leader Brad Keselowski with just seven laps left in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2:00PM ( 6 hours ago )
Girls basketball: West Hall closes Florida tourney with win
The West Hall girls basketball team notched a 53-42 win over TR Miller High of Brewton, Ala., on Wednesday in the Emerald Coast Thanksgiving Classic tournament in Ft. Walton Beach.
By AccessWDUN Staff
12:00PM ( 8 hours ago )
Pressure Cooker: SEC coaches face unyielding pressure to win
Georgia coach Mark Richt seems to be under constant scrutiny, and it has intensified since the Bulldogs (8-3) were knocked out of the title chase by rival Florida...
11:16AM ( 8 hours ago )
Mann, Frazier help Georgia hold off High Point 49-46
It's Thanksgiving not Halloween, but Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox was sure the Bulldogs were waking the dead with their 49-46 win over High Point Wednesday.
By The Associated Press
11:50PM ( 20 hours ago )