As has been all but inevitable given the changing landscape of major college athletics, the NCAA unveiled a plan today which after approval will give the so-called Power 5 (the ACC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12, and the SEC) conferences in Division I sports autonomy in decision making and rule implementation.
Under the current model, college sports' power brokers would need 2/3 support from a board that included the euphemism labeled Group of 5 (The American, Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West, and the Sun Belt) as well as the basketball only conferences in order to implement changes. With the new system the NCAA is basically assured to rubber stamp Aug. 7, 60% of all votes from a reformed, more power conference favorable board structure along with support from three of the five power conferences or 51% of all votes and support from four of the five power conferences would enable change.
"We will begin to focus on student-athlete welfare in ways they will feel as early as next year," said Ohio State president Michael Drake, who also happens to be an NCAA steering committee member
The power conferences would also have an "autonomy list", which would be areas of governance they'd be able to operate independently of the rest of Division I on. If three of the five major conferences and 12 of the 20 presidents or chancellors on the board approve, a facet of governance can be converted into that capacity.
Perhaps most interesting, transfer guidelines and rules were something the power conferences initially wanted oversight over, but have punted on for the time being. If "substantial change" isn't facilitated within the new governance structures' first two years, the power conferences will automatically be granted autonomy over the rules and guidelines for transfers.
The new NCAA governance structure is expected to go into effect for the 2015-2016 athletic cycle.