Hitting the Links: Power Conferences Talking Autonomy

USA TODAY Sports

Athletic administrators are meeting in San Diego to discuss changes that could severely change the landscape.

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Early morning on Friday an interesting story was reported by ESPN. At the annual NCAA convention a "sub-committee of the Division I board of directors proposed a rough governance model that would give more autonomy to the five power conferences -- the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, ACC -- and give a stronger voice to athletic directors with respect to how student-athletes are supported."

The autonomy as described in the article centers around:

  • The power conferences could make certain legislative decisions on their own.
  • The two major issues for legislation are full cost of attendance and ongoing education scholarships.
  • The new legislative committee would feature school presidents as board of directors but also sub-committees and advisory councils made up of athletic directors and student-athletes.

As Kevin Gemmell from ESPN states:

"Spearheading the change is a growing belief that the "level playing field" model no longer applies and the divide between the five power conferences has grown to the point where a different standard of governance is needed."

There is a lot of interesting stuff that can come out of these talks and it looks like stipends for athletes will be here sooner rather than later. The ongoing education scholarships seems like a good idea and would allow athletes to go play professionally but still come back at a later time and have their academic scholarship in tact in order to graduate.

You would think this will effectively begin turning the wheels on the major conferences creating their own super division separate from the other conferences but that's still going to be a tricky proposition to pull off outside of the sport of football. Craig Thompson, the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, doesn't seem too concerned:

"For the most part, a lot of this is business as usual. There don't seem to be any red flags ... There hasn't been a level playing field for decades. People like to say that and there's a perception. But there are different budgets etc. We felt like we have performed nationally and competitively at a pretty good pace and I don't see this changing our world too dramatically."

We'll see where Notre Dame fits into this possible new world of governance. You have to assume that Swarbrick will be heavily involved in these discussions and Fighting Irish athletics are going to be in line with the ACC. The commissioner of the ACC John Swofford mentioned back in October about restructuring the NCAA and had this to say about paying athletes:

"I'm not for paying players. I think that's a disaster waiting to happen if you go down that road.''

Swofford said he did see the need to provide student-athletes with additional compensation. He preferred to keep that compensation "education-based.''

"I still think the opportunity to receive a quality education and to play a sport you love is a pretty good deal,'' Swofford said. "But at the same time, we can't live with our heads stuck in the sand. That's why we really need to look at that and try to find the sweet spot, if you will.

"I'm a big believer in the collegiate model. It's not perfect, by any means.''

What's interesting is that Stewart Mandel from SI.com has a completely different opinion on the NCAA conference proceedings. This line sums things up in a different light:

More realistically, as several industry officials told SI.com in some form: "This is all for show."

If there's one thing that is true it's that the NCAA isn't going to change enough for most people and it's not going to change fast enough. I tend to think that's at the root of a lot of the frustration around potential changes. No one on the outside looking in is really willing to accept gradual change.

If that's not enough opinion for you Pat Forde from Yahoo! weighs in with his thoughts on the NCAA conference.

NATIONAL LINKS

It's looking like Stanford DC Derek Mason is going to be the next head coach at Vanderbilt.

The Ol' Ball Coach got a raise and contract extension at South Carolina. Spurrier will make $4 million per year and is now signed through the 2018 season.

Two tragedies occurred recently. First, Iowa State defensive line coach Curtis Bray passed away at the age of 43. Second, Arkansas State defensive lineman Markel Owens and his step-father were shot to death during a home invasion.

ESPN is writing season recaps for college football and you can read the ACC blog's thoughts right here.

Notre Dame isn't the only team switching to Under Armour. The United Stated Naval Academy announced it is leaving Nike and will sign with the Maryland-based company. Also, a high-ranking and respected official in the AAC is leaving his job to be the senior director for college sports at Under Armour.

Notre Dame is set to play at Arizona State this fall and Sun Devil Stadium is getting a $210 million renovation which will decrease the seating capacity by nearly 12,000.

James Franklin took out a classy ad in The Tennessean newspaper thanking Vanderbilt and their fans for his time in Nashville. Oh, by the way Penn State paid for the ad.

Florida State, Alabama, and Oregon lead the way in SI.com's early 2014 Top 25. The Irish come in at No. 13 in the country.

If you haven't already checked it out from our main page you should peruse Bill Connelly's Top 100 games from 2014.

Here's a good piece from Barking Carnival on the culture change going on at Texas with Charlie Strong.

Interested in the Heisman race for 2014? You might want to read this article.

Viva the Matadors had an interview with head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Here's an interesting and sad story from ESPN on recruiting in the Twitter age.

Mark Dantonio pulled a Vinny Cerrato while at the Rose Bowl.

IRISH LINKS

NBC: Focus Turns to Offense

NBC: Exits to NFL Present Challenges to Irish

B/R: Blueprint for a Perfect Off-season

HLS: #HLSRecap Awards Show

HLS: Where Are They Now: Pat Eilars

UHND: Swarbrick's Vision Comes to Fruition

ESPN: Lombard, Collinsworth, Moore, & Utupo back for 5th Year

BGI: Notre Dame & the NCAA Tournament

BGI: Final Data, Special Teams

Irish fans don't forget to tune into a Fighting Irish Digital Media and 3 Penny Films collaboration titled "88 and 1" a celebration of Notre Dame's stunning 1974 upset of UCLA in men's basketball. The program airs at 8:00 PM ET tomorrow night on ESPN 2.

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