the BigAmateurism monologues

A series of events over the last 18 months—some unforeseeable—have created a perfect storm that will change college sports forever. The NCAA's bait an…
Feb 13th, 2022 | 1:07:44

The “New” NCAA: Power 5 Autonomy 2.0

The NCAA Constitution Committee hailed the make-over of the NCAA Constitution as a transformative event for the NCAA and college sports regulation. In that framing, the NCAA, Power 5, and in-system stakeholders suggest the “new” NCAA is the product of original thinking. In fact, the recently ratified NCAA Constitution is a carbon copy of the Power 5’s 2013-2014 campaign for the Autonomy classification and legislative authority. Using rarely discussed evidence from the O’Bannon case, I analyze the Power 5’s Autonomy campaign in 2013-2014 and compare it to the work of the NCAA Constitution Committee in 2021-2022. This comparison exposes the NCAA’s constitutional overhaul as little more than unfinished business from the Power 5’s Autonomy power grab. Both campaigns were the product of eerily similar turmoil in the college sports world, including external regulatory threats (O’Bannon and Northwestern unionization), frustration with NCAA national office leadership, infractions and enforcement train wrecks, and a general sense that the walls were closing in on the big-time college sports status quo. On the back end of the firestorm of 2013-2014, the NCAA and its corrupt national office escaped relatively unscathed. At the same time, the Power 5 used crisis as opportunity to enhance its authority and autonomy under the NCAA umbrella. Having completed its Autonomy power grab in 2021-2022, can the Power 5 manage the current firestorm and reclaim the pre-Alston/NIL/transfer status quo? If past is prologue, the Vegas odds are on the Power 5’s side.