Hopkins: Satisfied with changes to NCAA
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Returning to Wright State after a busy Thursday in Indianapolis following a vote that alters the landscape of intercollegiate athletics, WSU President David Hopkins told The Guardian Friday he was satisfied with the monumental vote.
Thursday’s vote by the NCAA Board of Directors allows five high-resource conferences such as the Big Ten autonomy to create its own rule structure while keeping over 300 schools together as one division. The autonomy vote passed by a 16-2 margin.
While members from the large conferences have threatened to breakaway from the NCAA or form its own division, the new structure keeps the Division I members together when it comes to national championships including the men’s basketball tournament.
Consequently, Thursday’s vote opens the door for large institutions to spend potentially millions of dollars per university on cost of attendances stipends on athletes along with improved insurance packages. The large schools also could enact changes to recruiting and hours of training.
“It is a step in the direction of where they can spend more of the money they have — and they spend millions on coaches salaries and athletic facilities — this allows them to spend a little bit more on what the students and their families need,” Hopkins said.
While it is possible if not likely athletes at universities such as Ohio State will receive a cost of attendance stipend valued in the thousands annually, the expenditure for universities in conferences like the Horizon League might be too much.
Hopkins said for WSU to provide full cost of attendance to all of its athletes, it would cost the university over $1 million annually.
Devoting $1 million to cost of attendance would cause the athletics budget to swell by over 10 percent according to WSU budget figures.
“Whatever they approve, we can adopt if we want to,” Hopkins said. “It is conference by conference, so if they go to full cost of attendance, we will have a strong conversation about it at the Horizon League. If we did, we couldn’t go to full cost of attendance for all of the sports. But for revenue generating sports like men’s basketball and women’s basketball, we might do something.”
Hopkins, the Horizon League’s representative on the Board of Directors, said Thursday’s decision will not negatively mid major conferences despite the major conferences gaining more power.
“For the most part, Wright State and teams like us, we’re not trying to compete with Ohio State so let’s not fool ourselves,” Hopkins said. “This is not about competitive advantage. This is about using resources towards students. We are going to live within our means and provide a tremendous student-athlete experience for all of our sports. We are not trying to keep up with the Joneses.”
The major conferences given autonomy were the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC, and ACC. All 65 institutions within the five conferences will be given a vote along with three athletes from each conference.
For a rule to be adopted by the major conferences, there are two ways for the legislation to be passed. One way is to have 51 percent of the votes along with the support of four out of five conferences. The other way is to have 60 percent of the votes along with support from three conferences.
“All of the challenges these higher resource conferences have, we try to remind people that even within those conferences, the resources aren’t the same,” Hopkins said.
The Board of Directors itself also changed. Currently, 18 university presidents sit on the Board of Directors, 11 of whom come from Football Bowl Subdivision schools. The board will consist of 20 presidents and four practitioners. Of the 20 presidents, 10 will come from non-FBS schools.
Hopkins said that even with the vote that was a big victory for the major conferences, those conferences requested more from the NCAA Board of Directors.
“Today’s vote marks a significant step into a brighter future for Division I athletics,” said NCAA Board of Directors chair Nathan Hatch“ We hope this decision not only will allow us to focus more intently on the well-being of our student-athletes but also preserve the tradition of Division I as a diverse and inclusive group of schools competing together on college athletics’ biggest stage.”
Ruling on the O’Bannon case
Late Friday night, a federal court in California ruled in favor of former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon in his suit against Electronic Arts and the NCAA for his likeness being used in video games.
The lawsuit caused EA Sports to suspend its popular NCAA Football series while the lawsuit was ongoing.
The ruling from Judge Claudia Wilken was a loss for the NCAA, but not a complete one. Players will be able to recover a minimum of $5,000 a year in a trust fund when that player either graduates or has exhausted athletic eligibility for revenue generated by schools from video game sales and television contracts.
“We note that the Court’s decision sets limits on compensation, but are reviewing the full decision and will provide further comment later,” NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy said in a statement. “As evidenced by yesterday’s Board of Directors action, the NCAA is committed to fully supporting student-athletes.”
Hopkins said Friday night he had only heard about the ruling but had not had an opportunity to review the ruling.
“It was not unforeseen,” Hopkins said. “We’ll have some other options we’ll look at in regards to that.”