There was plenty of overreaction Thursday to the 16-2 vote from the NCAA Board of Directors giving the power five conferences more autonomy. Banter ranging from Athletes being paid to the death of the NCAA was controlling the news. Some punks in the media even called it the creation of “Haves and Have Nots in college sports.”
My response is simple.
Where the heck have you been?
The NCAA has always been operating in a “haves and have nots” system. Especially in football. The Sun Belt has never been equal to the SEC. The same for the MAC and the Big Ten. In terms of resource disparity, Thursday’s vote changed nothing.
In a lot of ways, the vote will do some immediate good. The NCAA has never been able to police the institutions in charge. The cheaters who launder money know how to get around them. The power five conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12 and SEC) are more nimble in making preventive measures around cheating. Stipends, not paying players thousands of dollars, are long overdue. You can’t eliminate cheating but you can place players in a less vulnerable position financially.
Seeing Oklahoma self report itself for giving players too much pasta has to end. Heck, South Carolina self reported itself for having too much icing on a cake. The system is broken and the power five are more qualified to fix it than the overwhelmed enforcement staff in the NCAA.
The NCAA is still needed as there has to be a governing body for all schools, and Thursday’s vote didn’t change that either. The bigger conferences have different needs than the rest and the Board of Directors recognized that. That doesn’t mean the NCAA is going to disappear.
As much as the SEC wants to just be by itself, it will always need competition from around the country to validate its prestige. That keeps the NCAA safe from elimination.
The real issues will be how much compensation the power five will agree to disperse to players? Will mid-majors drop down in competition? Staple issues, like Title IX, are not going away either.
But don’t expect the sky to fall because of Thursday’s vote. Intercollegiate athletics is not going to blow itself up. The “Star Trek” clip resembles the situation as Scotty thinks the cloaking device will overload. However, sometimes you just have to throw the switch.