Indianapolis, IN, United States (4E Sports) – Via a 16-2 vote, the NCAA Division I board of directors has allowed schools in the top five conferences to write many of their own rules.
With the decision, the power conferences can decide on things such as cost-of-attendance stipends and insurance benefits for players, staff sizes, recruiting rules and mandatory hours spent on individual sports.
“This keeps Division I together,” board chairman and Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch said. “I’m thrilled that Division I and all its virtues can be maintained, and I think this is the pathway to do so.”
The top 64 schools in the richest five leagues — the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 plus Notre Dame — can submit their own legislation by Oct. 1 and have it enacted at the January 2015 NCAA convention in Washington, D.C.
Several presidents said the full cost-of-attendance stipends, which could be worth between $2,000 and $5,000 per player, likely would be the first item taken up.
The NCAA approved those stipends three years ago, but legislation was halted when the full membership voted it down. Four-year scholarship guarantees are expected to be on the early agenda, as well.
“I think you’ll see those issues be acted on very aggressively, right away,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said.
Other new rules the biggest conferences could enact include loosened restrictions involving contact between players and agents, letting players pursue outside paid career opportunities and covering expenses for players’ families to attend postseason games.
Areas that will not fall under the autonomy umbrella include postseason tournaments, transfer policies, scholarship limits, signing day and rules governing on-field play.