On Thursday, the NCAA Board of Directors will be voting on a proposal that would give the Big 5 greater autonomy in rules and legislation, allowing them to make rules and pass legislations without needing the approval of the other Division I schools.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive stresses that, “All the things we’re trying to get are tied to the well-being of the student-athlete. This is not about competition. This is not about enhancing revenue.”
All of the schools included in the Power 5 want to be allowed to spend their revenue on increasing scholarships that cover the “full cost of attending college beyond tuition, room, and board”, as well as invest in better long-term health care for their athletes. For the other 27 Division I schools these changes will not be required, but done on the school’s volition.
The vote would change college athletics and bring them to a more updated athletic model that fits the new standard. Some fear that passing the proposal will create inequality among the many conferences and their respective schools. The Power 5 schools generate millions of dollars in revenue annually that other Division I schools cannot compete with, thus they can afford to pay for the best players and keep their teams increasingly competitive. This means skewed championship scenarios, potentially less funding for other schools athletic programs, and ultimately the elimination of less popular sports at schools with smaller funding.
The likelihood the legislation passes is high, if not simply because of money. However, the effects of the Power 5 creating its own autonomy will not be felt for the short-term. There is no suggestion that the vote is certain to pass, so schools still have a fight to stay equal.