Could the NCAA’s Division I setup be in line for a change?

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The current structure of the NCAA is an interesting one, with their being three divisions (I, II and III) with separate championship systems. Obviously at the Division I level schools can give out more scholarships than Division II schools, and Division III schools don’t offer athletic scholarships.

But within Division I there’s quite the division between the “haves” and the “have-nots” with college football being the big reason why.

The revenue brought in by that sport had a major impact on conference realignment, and when the dust settled there were essentially five “major” conferences, with those leagues (the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) receiving that designation due to the fact that many of the sport’s most powerful programs reside in one of those five conferences.

That separation has also led to increased questioning of the current setup of the NCAA, and how that impacts the way in which schools are governed.

While the five conferences that reel in the most money would like to do things such as meeting the full cost of attendance for its scholarship athletes, getting that legislation through has been difficult due to smaller schools being concerned about their ability to afford such an expense. That led to the occasional idea that the five most powerful conferences could consider splitting off from the other Division I leagues, with the question being whether that would occur under the NCAA umbrella or if they would take their money and leave.

At the NCAA meetings in San Diego that was one of the topics discussed, and according to Yahoo! Sports we could be approaching the day when those five league are allowed to govern themselves while remaining part of the NCAA structure.

“It makes sense for the five big revenue conferences to have their own voice,” [NCAA President Mark] Emmert told Yahoo Sports Friday. “A year ago that would have been a very difficult conversation. Now [member schools] are saying, ‘Yeah, that makes sense.’ … People have just become more comfortable with the ideas and concepts of it.’ “

The process still will take time. Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, the chair of the Division I Board of Directors, said there will be more focused discussion on the NCAA’s new governing structure in April, and individual conferences will then have a chance to discuss those findings at their spring meetings. Then the proposals can be put to a formal vote.

“We hope to have it wrapped up and approved by summer,” Hatch said.

According to the story 58% of the administrators in attendance were in favor of the five most powerful conferences having the ability to govern themselves, hence the thinking that this could be the way collegiate athletics is headed. But would this prohibit other leagues, like the American Athletic Conference or Mountain West for example, from taking up the same initiative(s) to better compensate student-athletes?

That’s just one of the questions administrators will need to address between now and the summer, with how much of a voice athletic directors should have in the governing of collegiate athletics moving forward being another. But just as the case was with conference realignment “the times they are a-changin’,” and athletic departments will have little choice but to adapt.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)