SEC Commish Rattles Saber; NCAA Shrugs

Published on 31-May-2014 by Stacey Mickles

Football - NCAA    NCAA Football Daily Update

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SEC Commish Rattles Saber; NCAA Shrugs

Sounds like SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is getting impatient.

Or at least, touchy.

Slive and commissioners of the other power conferences want long-debated changes to be made within the NCAA framework, and if they aren't, he says it's time to activate the nuclear option.

In this case, that would be what's come to be known as Division IV.

As the SEC's spring meetings were ending, Slive wasn't mincing words:

We need to face up to change. It is time. I do believe this is a historic moment, and if we don't seize the moment, we'll be making a mistake.

When a dude in power says it is time, he's either channeling an X-Men movie, serving notice, or both. It's good when you can call the shots.

The deal hasn't changed from what was put on the table last year. Here are the main points:

  • Colleges will provide the full cost of a student-athlete's attendance;
  • Colleges will offer improved medical and insurance coverage for student-athletes.
  • The NCAA can pass legislation that affects them only if 60 percent of the 65 power schools and three of the five power conferences agree.

In other words, they don't want the lower-tier Division I schools making big decisions for them.

But there are an increasing number of university presidents who are ready to say, 'Fine. Go.' They're of the belief that the Power Five need the NCAA more than it needs them. They may have a point unless unionization of student-athletes winds up piercing the NCAA's veneer.

Spreading risk of damages from lawsuits is another major reason to stay in the NCAA. Some of them, like the Kessler and O'Bannon cases, could radically change the organization with or without the Power Five.

So in that respect, Slive, isn't fooling anyone. The NCAA is the devil he knows until proven otherwise. That's why he's still optimistic that the 'right' change will come:

We think the NCAA is better served and college athletics is better served if we stay in Division I. We want to be in the NCAA, and we want to all be in Division I.

At least, until the large lawsuits are decided.