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.

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109 schools oppose payments

You knew the NCAA's decision to allow member schools to pay athletes up to $2,000 in addition to scholarships and cost of living expenses would be divisive. Power conferences like the SEC and Big Ten have called for the change, while smaller schools and especially academics-centered (there's not a nice way to say "insufficiently sports-crazed") have plenty of cause to object.

And object they have -- 109 of them, according to a document that lists dissenters (ht SEC blog Team Speed Kills) and comments from many of them. The doc also lists objectors to other NCAA movements, with Prairie View A&M showing up all over the place. The Panthers have had it.

Regarding the $2,000 issue, FBS schools Army, Boise State, Bowling Green, ECU, Marshall, Miami (Ohio), Rice, Rutgers, Utah State and Wake Forest appear, along with large FCS programs like Appalachian State and a horde from the Colonial Athletic Association. Among the FBS schools, you'll note a couple that are known to be especially cash-strapped.

The issue goes beyond football, of course, but football's distinguished subdivisions are useful here.

Boise State was one of the several schools to include comments in their objections. A note from the Broncos:

1. 2001-96 creates an unfair playing field between institutions. It expands the divide between the "have's" and "havenot's." It creates a recruiting advantage for those that can afford it and puts those that can't at a disadvantage.

2. 2001-96 creates a divide internally between those student-athletes who receive a full ride and those that do not. Webelieve this is unfair and unjustifiable.

3. 2001-96 creates a Title IX issue. Looking at head count sports alone, football and men's basketball have 98 full rides ascompared to 47 on the women's side. That widens the gap allowable to be in compliance with Title IX.

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NCAA board okays paying players

It's not going to be easy for some people to digest the news that the NCAA just said schools will soon be allowed to pay their players up to $2,000 a year in addition to their scholarships.

For some, it sounds like part of a reform long past due. Others are going to wail about broken innocence and the student-athlete getting a small* amount of money. Nevermind that the NCAA invented the term "student-athlete" in the first place.

The basics of the rule:

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.

The working group that made the recommendation told the board the $2,000 figure is meaningful in addressing the miscellaneous expenses student-athletes now have. Institutions will not be required to offer the benefit, but conferences are encouraged to consider common application within their membership.

But, really, it's nothing new. Every round of the debate includes at least one person who points out that students in other fields get paid -- even academic scholarships often include full cost of attendance perks. Why not athletes?

Two stacks amounts to a pebble compared to the mountain of money college football players have built for their schools and conferences and to the empire basketball players have made of the NCAA. But it's a move in the right direction, even though it's hard to buy that it's being done solely for the good of the athlete.

It removes the agent's common excuse for sliding money to players, since now players can afford ever-so-slightly more stuff on their own. And it provides the moneyed conferences a recruiting edge -- the Big Ten and SEC were the first two to call for the change.

* Seriously, y'all. That's $40 per week.

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

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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.

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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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