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Aug 7, 2014 9:00 PM by John Patrick

UA reacts to NCAA's autonomy decision

TUCSON - The NCAA board of directors has overwhelmingly approved a sweeping package plan that will give the five biggest conferences the ability to create some of their own rules.

The autonomy measures will permit the leagues to decide on things such as cost of attendance stipends and insurance benefits for players. The decision brings mixed emotions to fans of college sports but it seems the power conferences may have just got a lot more powerful.

Many college students and fans of the college sports like Tyler Frank are all for giving the top five conferences more authority.

"Giving the five biggest conferences more leeway for their scholarships, it's a great idea," said Frank.

For others like Jordan Brenner, the idea of more support may take away from the way the games are played.

"College is competing for the sake of the sport," said Brenner. "People in college aren't trying to make more money by getting to a national championship they just want to win."

The proposal passed 16-2 giving the five richest conferences, including the Pac-12, the authority to vote on and enact policies without the approval of the NCAA or other Division-I schools.

The 65 schools in these conferences have sometimes been restricted because smaller Division-I schools and conferences banded together to prevent proposals they couldn't afford from moving through the NCAA approval process.

Student-athletes in the five power conferences could see paid stipends, or increases in scholarships to cover the whole cost of attendance and not just tuition, room and board.

They could also get free access to improved health care which is something Tony Bouie, UA Sports Hall of Famer and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, said is long overdue.

"It's a good thing for players in college because they're going to find a way to have some true benefit for what they give to a school rather than just a scholarship," explained Bouie.

UA Athletic Director Greg Byrne said this will be a big topic at the upcoming Pac-12 meetings and some issues are already being analyzed.

"As far what we want to get behind as a conference, our Presidents and CEOs have already named some of those including things from the health care to being able to come back to school," said Byrne.

Commissioners and school leaders from the power conferences have until Oct. 1 to create a wish list of issues they want to handle on their own.

However, NCAA's decision is not set in stone. If 75 schools from outside the power five vote to override the autonomy legislation in the next 60 days, the measures would be sent back for further consideration.

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