Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive is ready to take his league and go elsewhere if the NCAA Division I board does not adopt sweeping changes that would lend autonomy to the five major conferences.
In his 13th year as SEC boss, Slive said he has built much of the bridge to the future he set out to establish when he was hired in 2002.
Right now Slive is laying the groundwork for what we can expect sometime in the not too distant future that the Super Conferences will be leaving the NCAA. It may not happen this year but it is coming and the groundwork is being started.
At the forefront of a movement to overhaul the NCAA’s governing structure, Slive unscored the pressing importance for a radical renovation of college sports and repeated his intention to break away from the collegiate sports body if a series of proposed changes are not enacted.
At SEC Media Day this past week he told a packed gathering of reporters that things need to change or the SEC, ACC, Pac12, Big Ten and Big 12 would move on, starting their own organization.
“If we do not achieve a positive outcome under the existing big tent of Division I, we will need to consider the establishment of a venue with similar conferences and institutions where we can enact the desired changes in the best interest of our student athletes,” Slive said Monday.
The NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors has invested significant time and effort in the restructuring process,” he said. “The Steering Committee on Governance will soon issue its final recommendations to the NCAA Board for Recommendation in a meeting and a vote scheduled for August 7. So we will know soon.”
When asked at the press conference if autonomy was the key to the future, Slive stressed that there are ways to help athletes in ways that might not have been possible, including: full cost of attendance, multi-year scholarships, ways for players to gauge professional sports value, involving parent costs related to recruiting and attending some games.
Change is part of college football, he said, pointing to the BCS becoming the College Football Playoff in requesting a restructuring of the NCAA to evolve in a way that meets the needs of modern-day student-athletes.
Slive said he wants to maintain the intercollegiate model, but is teaming with the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 to develop a plan for change.
“The vision includes the NCAAs enactment of a governing system that will provide greater autonomy for the SEC and the other four conferences for the benefit of student-athletes,” Slive said. “The ongoing review of the NCAA governing structure is intended to provide for the introduction of new strategies and new ideas. With the new structure in place, amongst other goals, we seek to support the educational needs of our student-athletes through the provisions of scholarships linked to the cost of attendance — rather than the historic model of tuition, room, board, fees and books.”
Circle the day of August 7th because that could be the key to the beginning of the break up of the Super Conference’s and the NCAA.