First off, Wisconsin week is alive and happening. The Cocktail Party will be out this afternoon... In the meantime, let's talk about Power 5 Autonomy!
By now, I'm going to assume that most of the OTE commenting base has at least heard about - or read about - the upcoming vote on the Autonomy Proposal the NCAA has put together. The idea is really simple. The Power 5 conferences have more money than everyone else and want the ability to use that money so they can
avoid getting sued better help their student-athletes achieve on the field and in the classroom... It's kind of an interesting system in which legislation could pass so long as the Power 5 vote in one of two ways:
1) Get 60% of the voting body PLUS get a simple majority of 3/5 of the conferences
2) Get 51% of the voting body PLUS get a simple majority of 4/5 of the conferences
The voting body would be the 65 member schools of the Power 5 - ACC, B1G, Big XII, SEC, Pac 12 - and 3 student-athlete votes from each conference, resulting in 80 total votes.
Now, it should be pointed out that there are specific types of legislation the Power 5 would be able to vote on for themselves. In the Draft Proposal (posted via CBS Sports), matters that could be changed/overseen by the Autonomous Power 5 were things like Health and Wellness - expanded insurance, Meals and Nutrition, Financial Aid - full cost scholarships/stipends, expenses - parents travel or stuff like that, lifetime scholarships, and the like. Things like academic eligibility would still be up to the greater NCAA body as would transfer rules, for now. That seems to be a sticking point on both sides, and while the Power 5 is willing to give up its legislative authority on that area at this point, it would push for the NCAA to make significant headway on getting things in order - the way they see it at least - or would ask for authority over transfers. Of course, if you're a small school, you can imagine why this is not so great news. Imagine if you have a star athlete who suddenly wants to go to a Power 5. If transfer rules are simpler, there is a chance that athletes could jump 'up' just because. I'm not convinced it would happen that way, but everyone is working feverishly to protect themselves, and you can't blame them. Luke Zimmerman explains in greater depth the way that issues could move from the larger NCAA Oversight to the Power 5 here.
The proposal goes to vote on August 7th, and I am assuming it should pass. If it doesn't, the NCAA fears the Power 5 takes its ball and plays elsewhere. That would be somewhat catastrophic to the NCAA structure as a whole, and the smaller schools know they have to compromise severely to keep things happening. If you have time, the NCAA did release all of the feedback they've gotten on the draft proposal. You can see that the non-Power 5 are frustrated, but conceding.
So how does this affect the Big Ten? Well, quite simply, we're one of the Power 5, and it gives us a lot of opportunity to do right by the student-athlete. Rather, it gives our schools the perceived ability to do right by the students. Remember what a lot of the Northwestern Union demands were? Things like, "Hey, maybe you should bring better insurance and medical care into negotiations?" or, "Hey, wouldn't it be great if you had lifelong scholarships for players considering you have the money to do so?" As I discussed above, the issues the Power 5 want to oversee directly correlate with helping out student-athletes, even going so far as giving stipends. I'd imagine that the Presidents and ADs know that something needs to be done, and this is a step in the right direction.
As far as leveling out competition among the Power 5, that remains to be seen. I look forward to seeing what proposals will be pushed by the Power 5 right off the bat if this is passed. What do you do about 'full cost of attendance' when schools are all different? How do you cater to students in diverse geographical, economic, and academic areas, all while keeping the playing field the 'same'? Moreover, does this actually save the NCAA or push it closer to the brink of destruction? Are we playing a game of haves and have-nots?
There are a ton of questions left to be answered, and probably a million I haven't even thought of. Anyhow, that's enough from me. What do you all think? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Let's talk about autonomy! Something I don't really expect to say that often...