For those those of you that thought that the biggest conferences on the college sports landscape played by a different set of rules, now they will. Literally. The NCAA board voted 16-2 to allow autonomy among the power five conferences, which consist of the SEC, Pac 12, Big Ten, Big 12, and ACC. Of course Notre Dame is included in this group as well.
So what exactly does this mean? It means that the power five will now be able to write most of their own rules. The biggest things expected to be addressed are cost-of-attendance stipends and recruiting rules.
Items that do not fall under the autonomy umbrella are postseason tournaments, transfer policies, scholarship limits, and signing day rules. Anything else is fair game.
Or unfair. The smaller conferences will also be given a chance to enact the same rules, but they likely will not be able to afford the same things that the big schools and conferences can. The gap between the haves and the have nots is getting bigger, not smaller as some would have you believe.
Essentially what this does is keep Division I intact. For now. The larger schools and conferences have been trying to bully the smaller schools into submission or back to 1-AA for years now. This will only help them do so.
If 75 schools from outside of the power five vote to override this legislation within the next 60 days, it will be sent back to the board for further consideration. This likely will not happen because of the smaller schools wanting to stay on the good side of their bigger counterparts.
The five leagues still have to let the other four vote on their rules, so it won’t be total anarchy. What it will do is turn the NCAA landscape into Capitol Hill. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours will be the order of the day.
The Power Five have until October 1st to put their rules submissions in to take effect for the 2015 year.