INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA’s board of directors took the first step toward shifting power to the five largest football conferences on Thursday, endorsing a 57-page plan that calls for giving 65 of the nation’s biggest schools more autonomy in how to fund scholarships, handle health care and decide other increasingly hot-button issues involving their athletes.
If approved later this year, schools in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC could implement some rules on their own and would get more voting power over legislation that would affect every NCAA member school.
A formal vote on the recommendations is tentatively scheduled for the board’s August meeting, and if it passes then, the transition could begin this fall.
The endorsement came one day before Northwestern football players were scheduled to vote on whether to create what would be the first union for college athletes in U.S. history. NCAA President Mark Emmert this week suggested the changes within the NCAA will address some of the issues raised by those backing the unionization effort.