Obviously, the NCAA Board of Directors’ affirmative vote today to allow the so-called “Big Five” expanded voting power to set its own standards didn’t take the Pac-12 by surprise. The league issued a statement after the vote expressing its satisfaction at being able to chart its own course, unencumbered by the smaller NCAA schools that can’t afford it.
Going forward, there are essentially two schools of thought on what happens in college sports: Either the power conferences exist within the bigger structure, content with their ability to control their destiny as they see fit. Or the movement continues apace, and the big leagues use this as a lever to keep wedging more power, and eventually they simply break off from NCAA governance.
I would think there would be significant national pressure among academic types to argue against a complete break — the contention that this movement is merely a case of the athletic-academic relationship out of whack. Then again, the NCAA has been riddled by bullet holes from so many quarters in recent years, had its excesses and faults exposed, that it isn’t likely to be seen as the white knight in this debate, either.