WASHINGTON - MARCH 17: NCAA President Mark Emmert address the media during a press conference before the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center on March 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

NCAA Announces Major Rule Changes, 109 Schools Oppose Player Payments

In October, the NCAA unveiled three big new rules it'd been working on since the summer.

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22 Total Updates since August 11, 2011
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If playoff doesn't help players? No thanks

College football needs fundamental changes. But a playoff? That's just something selfish fans want when they should focus on what's most important: helping the players get what they deserve.


NCAA Approves Athlete Payments, Multi-Year Scholarships And Postseason APR Bans

The NCAA announced a trio of major rule changes Thursday, springing from a series of summer rule recommendations. They're all going to impact college sports significantly, but the one likely to draw the most attention is the part about PAYING STUDENT-ATHLETES CASH PAPER:

The Board also adopted legislation giving student-athletes who receive full athletics scholarships the opportunity to receive additional athletics aid up to the full cost of attendance or $2,000, whichever is less.    

Schools will essentially have the option to pay their players up to $2,000 in addition to their scholarships. Power conferences like the Big Ten and SEC have lobbied for this change, since their schools have the money to throw around $2,000 like it's nothing.

But the one that's going to stir up the most controversy very soon is the APR bit. Academic Progress Rate is a flawed metric, and over the next few years we're going to see it keep a deserving team from postseason competition:

The new post-season eligibility structure will take effect in the 2012-13 academic year, with a two-year implementation window before the benchmark moves from 900 to 930.     

However, the option for a school to offer a scholarship beyond one year might be the most important change of all:

The Board also approved multi-year grants up to the full term of eligibility, though one-year grants will remain the minimum. A prescribed minimum award value should apply to all scholarships (percentage amount to be decided in the coming months), and institutions could increase the allotted aid during the period of the award.

As Team Speed Kills points out, the Mississippi States of the world now have a bargaining chip. If Alabama's only offering a one-year scholly and the Bulldogs are offering two, that's a much more competitive recruiting atmosphere than if both were offering the same terms.

For more college sports, visit SB Nation's many exquisite college sports blogs.


SEC Media Days 2011: Mike Slive Outlines 'National Agenda For Change'

Live coverage from Birmingham, where SB Nation is taking in the spectacle of SEC Media Days.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive's annual address to kick off his conference's three-ring Media Days circus was billed as a must-see by official sources, leading to rampant speculation among the assembled media members that he was planning on stepping down. Slive puts those rumors to rest straightaway with a quick Mark Twain quote and gets to the meat of his agenda: A four-part master plan to enact sweeping-ish change in the conference and around the sport. Slive says "intercollegiate athletics has lost the benefit of the doubt," and here's what he wants to do about it:

• Redefine available benefits. It's clear Slive wants a national conversation on cost of attendance (COA) scholarships. He acknowledges in about five words that this would cause financial hardships at other schools, and dismisses the notion of caring about that just as quickly by hedging that the SEC has to do what's best for its own student athletes. Other items of import Slive would like to see on the table: Multi-year scholarships, a process by which players beyond the current six-year window could return to school and earn their degrees, and (here's the big one) a "refocusing of efforts to develop a regulatory approach" on student-athlete contact with agents. 

• Strengthen academic requirements. Slive would like to see an increase in required GPA for freshmen athletes from 2.0 to 2.5 in core curriculum work, along with an annual satisfactory progress bar prospective SAs must clear at the high school level. 

• Modernize recruiting rules. Slive says it's time to "push the reset button" on the regulatory approach to college football recruiting. In his opinion, the idea of a completely level playing field in recruiting is unrealistic, thanks to existing and unavoidable disparities in physical resources at different programs. Rules on phone calls and texting don't make any tangible headway as far as making up that ground, to hear him tell it. 

• Support NCAA efforts to continue improving the enforcement process. Slive (and other conference commissioners headed to the upcoming NCAA President's retreat) would like to see a streamlined NCAA manual focusing on core issues. Having had to page through that thing more than once, I can certainly sympathize. 

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