SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, speaking in Massachusetts, made a number of things clear.
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First, the five power conferences will be doing things a bit differently (the NCAA is expected to create a new subdivision this summer).
Second, he's more interested in adapting the current structure than starting over. Like the Big Ten's Jim Delaney, Slive has little appetite for making college athletes employees.
Beyond that, he has seven main concerns, which ESPN lists as follows:
- providing the full cost of attendance to grant-in-aid recipients
- fulfilling the health, safety and nutrition needs of student-athletes
- allowing student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility to complete their undergraduate degree without cost
- ending the cold war against agents and advisers so that players testing the professional waters can receive better information
- harnessing the demands of sports so that student-athletes get more balance in their lives -- i.e., another crack at the "20-hour rule"
- more and better assistance for academically at-risk student-athletes
- giving student-athletes a role and a vote in NCAA governance that affects them
None of that seems unreasonable, although UNC's recent revelations make you look at # 6 a bit. Barely literate athletes are being recruited across the country. It's nothing new; it's gone on just about as long as college sports have existed. If it's a new age, though, it would be nice to address what in reality is a two-tier system and to figure out how to deal with people who come to college with a grade school education.
Part of the solution could be in bullet point #3, for athletes who wish to avail themselves of it. It's amazing how often you read accounts of guys who washed out of basketball or football and realize, only too late, that they should've taken advantage of their educational opportunities.