A group of like-minded institutions in the southern part of America is trying to secede in order to achieve greater autonomy. Sound familiar? This time, however, it’s actually to benefit their unpaid employees.
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said that if the so-called “Power Five” conferences, which include the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-12, aren’t able to create their own bylaws, they would have to consider creating a division even higher than Division I, something confusingly named Division IV. For the enjoyment of college football fans nationwide, one can only hope Notre Dame is purposefully left out.
One of the changes the SEC is specifically looking to make is the ability to pay the full cost of attendance to student athletes, rather than simply the cost of tuition. The SEC also wants to provide long-term medical coverage for students who return to school instead of going pro. However, smaller D1 schools may not be able to afford these changes. Still, there are six different lawsuits against the SEC because of the cost of attendance issue, and player safety continues to plague football at all levels.
“It’s not something we want to do,” Slive told the media. “We want the ability to have autonomy in areas that has a nexus to the well-being of student athletes. I am somewhat optimistic it will pass, but if it doesn’t, our league would certainly want to move to a Division IV. My colleagues, I can’t speak for anybody else, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t feel the same way.”
Brought forth by the notion of high-level collegiate athletics and dedicated to the proposition that men’s basketball and football can bring boatloads of money to universities, we will discover soon if Division I sports can long endure.