U of I’s AD Thomas Weighs In On NCAA Autonomy Ruling
By Jeff Bossert
The University of Illinois’ Athletic Director says an NCAA ruling on autonomy among top conferences will only enhance the student-athlete experience.
Thursday’s tentative decision lets schools in the top five conferences, including those in the Big Ten, make some of their own rules, and increase the amount of scholarships and stipends.
For instance, the big conferences could act on their own to approve cost-of-attendance stipends that were approved by the NCAA three years ago, but later voted down by the full NCAA membership.
Athletic Director Mike Thomas said there may some truth to comments made by critics who say top schools will try and outspend the others.
But he expects the stipend to be the only variable.
“If you’re not within the group of five, I’m sure it’s a mixed bag," he said. "I’m sure that not everyone out there would sit there and say, ‘hey, it’s a good day for us.’ But I think for us to have the means to do these kinds of things for these young people, we certainly should be doing them.”
The NCAA structural changes still face a 2-month weigh-in period from universities before becoming final next year, and can be suspended with enough 'no' votes from the full membership.