The End of D1 Sports

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The End of D1 Sports

Post by wrv on Wed May 21, 2014 9:01 am

It does not take a great leap of immagination to conclude that the Northwestern men may have started a small fire that will ultimately burn big, leading to perhaps a splintering of smaller D1 institutions from the larger. The Pac 12 may be able to afford a stipend that smaller Catholic universities cannot. Below is an aritlce from ESPN, dated today, about a proposal arising from the Pac 12. It may be that in the not too distant future our division will be structured differently, somehow separated from the larger conference schools. Perhaps the changes proposed below do not seem all that earth shattering, but they may well be a gateway to the slippery slope of even more expensive changes, further diminishing the ability of smaller schools to compete. Your thoughts.



Pac-12 university presidents have sent a letter to their colleagues at the other four major football conferences calling for sweeping changes to the NCAA model and autonomy for those leagues.

A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday night. It was sent last week to the other 53 university presidents from the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference.

Spurred in part by Northwestern football players' move to unionize, the Pac-12 presidents outlined a 10-point plan for reform that includes many proposals commissioners have been advocating for several years, including a stipend for athletes. The NCAA is working on a new governance structure that will allow the five wealthiest conferences to make some rules without the support of smaller Division I schools.


Arizona State President Michael Crow said the letter outlines "what the NCAA should be and how it should work."

"We acknowledge the core objectives could prove to be expensive and controversial, but the risks of inaction or moving too slowly are far greater," the letter reads. "The time for tinkering with the rules and making small adjustments is over."

Arizona State President Michael Crow told the AP that his counterparts in the Pac-12 are not "happy with where things are going. We're not happy with the nature of the debate out there. And we felt like our voice is not well understood."

"We've been talking about the need for reform for a long time, and so in a sense our thinking has coalesced," Crow said. "There's just so much thinking going on relative to the NCAA. So we thought it was time to say, `Well, this is what we think the NCAA should be, and this is how we think it should work."

The full list of proposals included in the letter are:

- Permit institutions to make scholarship awards up to the full cost of attendance.

- Provide reasonable ongoing medical or insurance assistance for student-athletes who suffer an incapacitating injury in competition or practice. Continue efforts to reduce the incidence of disabling injury.

- Guarantee scholarships for enough time to complete a bachelor's degree, provided that the student remains in good academic standing.

- Decrease the demands placed on the athlete in-season, correspondingly increase the time available for studies and campus life, by preventing the abuse of organized "voluntary" practices to circumvent the limit of 20 hours per week and more realistically assess the time away from campus and other commitments during the season.

- Similarly decrease time demands out of season by reducing out-of-season competition and practices, and by considering shorter seasons in specific sports.

- Further strengthen the Academic Progress Rate requirements for postseason play.

- Address the "one and done" phenomenon in men's basketball. If the NBA and its Players Association are unable to agree to raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men's basketball.

- Provide student-athletes a meaningful role in governance at the conference and NCAA levels.

- Adjust existing restrictions so that student-athletes preparing for the next stage of their careers are not unnecessarily deprived of the advice and counsel of agents and other competent professionals, but without professionalizing intercollegiate athletics.

- Liberalize the current rules limiting the ability of student-athletes to transfer between institutions.

Pac-12 presidents are asking for a response to the proposed reforms by June 4. Crow said the decision by Pac-12 presidents to send the letter was unanimous and the initial feedback from university presidents has been positive.

The plan comes after Northwestern University football players cast secret ballots April 25 on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes. The results of the vote will not be known for some time.

The full National Labor Relations Board has agreed to hear Northwestern's appeal of a regional director's March ruling that the players are university employees and thus can unionize. Ballots will remain impounded until that process is finished, and perhaps until after any court fight that might follow a decision.

Part of the idea behind the proposal by the Pac-12 presidents is to get ahead of the issue and meet some of the demands that have been raised by Northwestern players and other athletes without "professionalizing" college sports.

The letter states "it is clear from the recent statements of any number of individuals that, while they may share or view that labor unions are not the answer, the time has come for a meaningful response both to the student-athletes' grievances and the need to reassert the academic primacy of our mission."

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by A_Fan on Wed May 21, 2014 9:50 am

Alas, but were the last few words "and the need to reassert the academic primacy of our mission" true.

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by Geezaldinho on Wed May 21, 2014 1:05 pm

They lost me at:
The NCAA is working on a new governance structure that will allow the five wealthiest conferences to make some rules without the support of smaller Division I schools.

The bcs school can already do anything they want. By NCAA bylaw the BCS has 60% of the votes on all legislation and 60% of all appointments to committees.

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by Geezaldinho on Wed May 21, 2014 1:14 pm

Anybody else catch that the Northwestern students who filed the lawsuit and cast the secret ballot have no chance whatever of ever seeing the fruits of their fight?

We may never even see the results of their vote.

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by Guest on Wed May 21, 2014 1:40 pm

PurpleGeezer wrote:They lost me at:
The NCAA is working on a new governance structure that will allow the five wealthiest conferences to make some rules without the support of smaller Division I schools.

The bcs school can already do anything they want. By NCAA  bylaw the BCS has 60% of the votes on all legislation and 60% of all appointments to committees.

Here's the kicker -

Number of schools in BCS: 125 (plus 3 transitional)
Number of combined schools in Pac-12, Big 12, Big 10, SEC, ACC: 64

Idaho and UT San Antonio are every bit as much BCS schools as are Ohio State and Auburn.

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by wrv on Thu May 22, 2014 7:16 am

It appears then that the BCS may also be restructured if the proposals are implemented. No way that UT San Antonio can provide for their student athletes the way universities from the five(or more) major conferences can.

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by Geezaldinho on Thu May 22, 2014 8:43 am

Actually, in many sports I don't think you are talking all that much money. There are only 13 basketball scholarships UT San Antonio would have to be concerned about. Hardly a  crushing burden.  I'll bet the conferences in question aren't going to be rushing to give full stipends in the minor sports anyway.

It is all about keeping the Football bowl money for themselves and maybe trying to figure out how to wrest March Madness away from the NCAA.

Another interesting proposal being floated is going back to not allowing Freshmen to play varsity. Buh bye one and done.

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by wrv on Fri May 23, 2014 5:47 am

Whatever UT San Antonio’s fortunes—I was assuming they play football and factoring the additional cost as such—one has to wonder whether the splintering of the larger richer conferences will in the end be influenced as well by their desire to create a separate, more elite division for competition. Might not work outside football but who knows.

The freshman ineligible rule for once makes sense . . .particularly if its proposal results in the NBA extending the age/school year requirement.

Even more comment about reallignment from an article in the O:

"The letter represents a sense of urgency that our presidents have," Scott said. "But maybe more importantly, our desire to be really, really clear about what we want to see happen. And we want to make sure that we have alignment among conferences. We don't want to go through this governance reform process and get autonomy and wake up and find out in January that not everyone agrees. We want to know now. And we want to tell the world now what we want to do."

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who has long advocated for many of these same reforms, also said during a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that his conference will continue to support autonomy. The NCAA board of directors is expected to vote on restructuring in early August.

The five power conferences are seeking decision-making powers in funding the full cost of scholarships, handling health care and other areas involving their athletes. Other changes under consideration include providing money for families to travel to NCAA tournaments, more resources for academic and career counseling, creating mandatory break times from sports and relaxing transfer rules.

Scott said he doesn't expect much pushback on the issue from schools in small and mid-major conferences. Asked if the autonomy initiative could create a bigger divide between conferences, Scott said most collegiate leaders — even those from non-major conferences — believe that idea is outdated.

"One size fits all doesn't work anymore," Scott said. "The conferences that can afford to and want to do more for student-athletes ought to be able to do it. I'd be a little surprised if that view were still out there."

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by wrv on Sat May 31, 2014 8:53 pm

And yet more on this from ESPN May 31:

DESTIN, Fla. -- The Southeastern Conference sent a strong message to the NCAA on Friday: provide the Power Five some autonomy or they'll form their own division.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said if the Power Five conferences -- which also include the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big 12, the Big Ten and the Pac-12 -- don't get the flexibility needed to create their own bylaws, the next step would be to move to "Division IV."

"It's not something we want to do," Slive said on the final day of the SEC meetings. "We want the ability to have autonomy in areas that has a nexus to the well-being of student athletes. I am somewhat optimistic it will pass, but if it doesn't, our league would certainly want to move to a Division IV. My colleagues, I can't speak for anybody else, but I'd be surprised if they didn't feel the same way."


We hope everyone realizes we are moving into a new era and (Division IV) is the way to retain your collegiate model. It would be a disappointment and in my view a mistake not to adapt the model. This is a historic moment. If we don't seize the moment, we'll make a mistake.

-- SEC commissioner Mike Slive
Moving to Division IV would keep the Power Five under the NCAA umbrella while granting college football's biggest money makers the kind of power to better take care of student-athletes. The SEC, for example, would like to pay full cost of college attendance, provide long-term medical coverage and offer incentives to kids who return to school and complete degrees.

Smaller Division I schools likely can't afford the changes the major conferences are seeking. And while Division II and Division III have their own rules, forming a Division IV would seemingly create a wider divide between the Power Five and other smaller schools.

Slive, however, said a potential move wouldn't disrupt championship formats, including the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

"I've been so optimistic that we're going to stay in Division I that we haven't sat down and tried to map it out," Slive said. "But we know that failure to create what we're trying to create would result in doing something different. How we would construct a Division IV? We haven't looked in that.

"We hope everyone realizes we are moving into a new era and this is the way to retain your collegiate model. It would be a disappointment, and in my view a mistake, not to adapt the model. This is a historic moment. If we don't seize the moment, we'll make a mistake."

University of Florida President Bernie Machen wasn't nearly as confident about staying in Division I.

"We're in a squeeze here," Machen said. "There are now six lawsuits that name our conference in them that specifically have to do with the whole cost of attendance and stuff like that. We would like to make changes, but we can't because the NCAA doesn't allow us to. We're really caught between a rock and a hard play. We desperately would like some flexibility."

Southern Mississippi athletic director Bill McGillis believes the major conferences will get that flexibility and that a Division IV won't be needed.

He said more autonomy for the high-resource leagues is just "the reality of the situation" and that schools like Southern Miss in Conference USA agree with many of the proposed changes. McGillis expects schools from all Division I conferences will have a say in the process and will adjust to whatever is decided.

"I think the system will work and that the schools outside the high-resource five conferences that are committed to competing at a high level will still be able to do that," McGillis said.

The SEC wants the NCAA steering committee to adopt its proposal for the voting threshold, which would allow the Big Five to pass legislation with more ease. The NCAA board of directors will vote on the steering committee's proposal in August.

Currently, the NCAA requires a two-thirds vote of the 65 schools and 15 student representatives as well as four out of five conferences.

"What we fear is that nothing will change because the threshold is so high," Machen said. "We're asking them to lower the threshold, which we propose is 60 percent and three conferences. With three conferences out of five and 60 percent of the 65 and 15, you can make those kinds of changes."

Still, Machen has his doubt it will pass.

"This is the NCAA we're dealing with," he said.

And Machen envisions rough waters ahead if things don't change.

"The whole thing could go up in smoke if the lawsuits come down or with the unionization rule," he said. "So the whole intercollegiate model is at risk if we don't do something. If they don't want to do this, it seems to me it's incumbent upon them to come up with something else that will help us get out us this box."

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by pilotram on Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:43 am

Oh, enough already. Let them go make their football minor league. Maybe then the NCAA can institute reforms for remaining D1 programs.
Funny how the Power 5 want to have their cake and eat it too- go autonomous in football but still be a part of the (very profitable) NCAA bball tournament.

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Re: The End of D1 Sports

Post by up7587 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:04 pm

Well, if Duke, Kansas and UCLA et. al. end up in a different bball tournament, I don't think the NCAA tournament will be quite so profitable.

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