INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Emmert wants the NCAA to fast-track upgrades for college athletes — regardless of whether a player union is pushing for them.
One day before the board of directors meets in Indianapolis and two days before Northwestern football players are scheduled to vote on creating college sports’ first union, the NCAA president told The Associated Press that a new governance system could solve many problems by providing more opportunities for college athletes and their families.
“It’s the intention of the membership and my hope with the governance (proposal) in place, that the 65 universities in the big five conferences and the other schools can came to a quicker resolution about ways to help student-athletes,” Emmert said Wednesday.
A formal vote on the proposal is not expected until at least this summer.
The 57-page draft proposal would give schools in the five biggest conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) more autonomy to implement changes deemed to be in the best interests of their athletes. The list could include adding the full cost-of-attendance in scholarships, expanded health insurance, additional help with academic and career counseling, and providing money for the families of athletes to travel to NCAA tournament events.
Back in October 2011, the board approved a stipend that would have given athletes up to about $2,000 per year to cover expenses beyond tuition, room and board, books and fees. Two months later, it was shelved amid opposition from full Division I membership.
Despite having the full support of Emmert, nothing has been happened since then and the criticism has only grown — sometimes from commissioners of the big leagues themselves.
“The group of five would argue we’re the ones being sued and attacked,” said Morgan Burke, Purdue’s athletic director and a key broker in helping find a consensus on the new structure. “The other schools would say, ‘Yeah, but we’re competing against you in the championship.”’