The NCAA Division I Board of Directors on Thursday voted through legislation that will change how schools and conferences will be able to govern themselves in the future.
The new governing structure within the organization will allow the Power 5 conferences — ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 — a certain level of autonomy. The schools will now have the power to put into place rules and regulations that will benefit them.
“I am immensely proud of the work done by the membership. The new governance model represents a compromise on all sides that will better serve our members and, most importantly, our student-athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “These changes will help all our schools better support the young people who come to college to play sports while earning a degree.”
RELATED: What does this change mean for college hoops? Not much. Here’s why
The vote passed by a 16-2 margin. The Board of Directors has a 60-day veto period to get through before the new rules become official, but according to USA Today, that is unlikely to happen.
This rule change comes at a time when the NCAA is facing more pressure and scrutiny than ever before regarding student athlete rights and the compensation that athletes can receive in revenue generating sports, football and men’s basketball. One of the biggest reasons that this change was made was to allow the power conference schools the ability to provide their athletes with a stipend to cover full cost-of-attendance scholarships.
The schools in the Power 5 conferences that have eight and nine-figure budgets for their athletic department and generate millions upon millions of dollars off of their television broadcasts can afford those stipends. Programs at the lowest level of Division I have budgets that are roughly equivalent to what the most famous coaches make in salary. It’s a different game at the highest level, and this rule change acknowledges that.
“Today’s vote marks a significant step into a brighter future for Division I athletics,” said Nathan Hatch, board chair and Wake Forest University president. “We hope this decision not only will allow us to focus more intently on the well-being of our student-athletes but also preserve the tradition of Division I as a diverse and inclusive group of schools competing together on college athletics’ biggest stage.”
With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.
And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.
Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.
Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.