By Will Vandervort
When the NCAA holds host its national convention next month, one topic up for discussion is how the organization is exploring ways to govern its structure.
What does this mean exactly? It means, the NCAA could give the five power conferences—the SEC, The Big 10, the ACC, the Pac 12 and the Big 12—greater autonomy. NCAA leaders are exploring ways to alter their governing structure, which would allow the schools that can afford it to pay for certain expenses currently prohibited.
That includes offering stipends for the costs of attending school not covered by scholarships.
“What is happening within the NCAA is a reformulation of government,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “Right now you have the board of directors, you have the executive committee, you have the leadership council, you have the legislative council and you have all of these various committees under each other.
“I think it has been in place for at least a decade and there has been serious discussion if this is the right way to govern the organization.”
Radakovich says he has not heard any discussions about the five major conferences breaking away from the rest of the NCAA. Instead, as he understands it, the NCAA is trying to find the best way to serve its members in what is in the best interest of college athletics.
Emmert told reporters at the Intercollegiate Athletics Forum earlier this month that members are “cautiously optimistic” an acceptable plan can be devised.
There are 340 schools in Division I, and only 120 of them are in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Just 65 will be in the five power conferences of the FBS.
“I can’t speak for the conference commissioners; they need to be able to speak,” Radakovich said. “As athletic directors we are practitioners in our own world. Sometimes there are pieces of legislation that will come down the pike that maybe we do not know about or have not had an opportunity to weigh in on.
“Those happen because of the way the structure works. We want to be able to attack the structure so athletic directors, as the day-to-day practitioners, have a little bit more of a voice. We have had the opportunity to sit down with President (Mark) Emmert and other members from the board of directors of the NCAA and voice our concerns as other groups have as well.”
Radakovich says the athletic directors will receive a document for review that will be disturbed during the January convention.
“We all get a first view as to what some of the conversations have moved towards,” he said. “What kind of models are they looking at? Then we will be able to react to those.”