Scott Shafer addresses NCAA's new autonomy structure (explanation included)
The NCAA approved a plan today that will give the five power conferences the ability to create their some of their own rules. The conferences could start exercising these new freedoms as early as October 1.
The SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 are the 'power conferences' involved.
So, what does this mean for schools like Syracuse University, who is now in the ACC?
As it says above, the ACC now has more power to operate on their own accord, which means the athletes themselves could have increased benefits in the future. One of the first facets on the list is a "Cost of Attendance Scholarship" for athletes. This is already done for academic scholarships in some cases. In this case, a player's scholarship would include extra funds for things like clothes, laundry and travel. Right now, athletes have a limited stipend for tuition, room and board and books.
Other possible changes include enhanced long-term medical coverage for athletes with injures, and more opportunities for education after the athletes graduate.
Non-power conferences will be able to take advantage of these rules, but it's the power conferences who will vote on the decisions. Some of the smaller non-power conference schools don't have the funds to afford the benefits the power conferences could vote on, which is why they'll have to decide whether or not they want to include them.
Syracuse football coach Scott Shafer has seen Division I athletics from both the power conference and small conference perspective, so while he thinks it's good for the Orange, he does think it'll be more difficult for those smaller schools.
"Unfortunately for those types of teams that I grew up coaching, I think it'll be a little more difficult for them," Shafer, who coached as an assistant at schools like Rhode Island and Northern Illinois, says. "On the flip side of that, if you're in the Power 5 you have an opportunity to upgrade everything that you're doing, because there are a lot of financial differences between the two. Now that I'm on this side of the fence, I'm like 'oh that's really good,' but I do look back and say, 'man that's a tough deal,' but I think it's a great thing for the ACC and a great thing for Syracuse University. It's just reality of where football is going."