U of M could be part of NCAA overhaul

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University of Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague said in an article by the Star Tribune Monday that there is a good chance major changes in the structure of the NCAA will happen.

College athletics' five biggest conferences – the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC – are looking to become autonomous so they can make their own rules and regulations instead of following the NCAA's guidelines.

One of the biggest changes in this proposed new structure would be an increase in scholarship amounts, according to a release from the NCAA.

Right now, a scholarship covers room, board, tuition and books. Under the proposed structure, however, athletes may receive $2,000-$5,000 extra to cover expenses like transportation, clothes and laundry, according to the Star Tribune.

This additional scholarship money would come out of the school's budget. According to the Office of Postsecondary Education, the U of M athletic department turned over a $1.78 million profit on $98.2 million in revenue during the 2012-13 school year. That same year, the school had 981 scholarship athletes. If the U had to pay each athlete an additional $2,000 – the low end of the proposal – the school would end up owing another $1.96 million to student athletes.

The structure of scholarships would also change. Scholarships would now last long enough for an individual to earn their bachelor's degree, as opposed to the current year-to-year structure, according to the NCAA's website.

Other changes would include long-term medical coverage, decreased time demand for teams in and out of season, loosened transfer restrictions and an increased focus on academics, including tougher Academic Progress Rate (APR) requirements, according to the NCAA's website.

For the 2014-15 academic year, teams must have a four-year average APR of 930 to be eligible for postseason play (previously, schools had to have a minimum APR of 900). During the 2012-2013 school year, the most recent data available, all University of Minnesota teams met the APR requirements. The U of M football team did lose three scholarships in 2007 however for not meeting APR requirements.

Teague said he likes the changes that could be made under the new structure.

“When we’re making an effort to support our student-athletes from a health perspective, from an insurance perspective, from a total collegiate athletic experience, I like that," Teague told the Star Tribune. "So I think we’ll make good decisions.”

In the past, smaller conferences have balked at the idea of an autonomy , but SEC commissioner Mike Slive said that if the new governing model is not passed, the five conferences may move into a separate division. The NCAA Board of Directors passed the new NCAA governing structure in April, and the member schools will have a chance to vote on the new structure in August, according to Sports Illustrated.

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