Power conferences seeking more autonomy in NCAA

NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks during a luncheon fundraiser for the A PLUS youth program, which uses academics and athletics to support and motivate young people, Thursday, April 25, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

EMMERT

By Rachel Cohen

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK – President Mark Emmert says NCAA members are “cautiously optimistic” that the organization can create an acceptable plan to give the five power conferences more autonomy.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference are seeking more flexibility to provide financial support to athletes. The NCAA hopes to present proposals to members at its convention next month.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany acknowledged Wednesday at the Intercollegiate Athletics Forum that it’s hard “for people to vote themselves less political authority.”

There are 340 schools in Division I, and only 120 of them are in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Just 65 will be in the five power conferences.

Delany hopes that other NCAA members realize that “if we’re not healthy, it doesn’t help them at all.”