In the wake of a vote by the NCAA Board of Directors Thursday that grants more self-governance power to the nation’s five biggest conferences, Maryland head coach Randy Edsall presented a more radical path down which he believes college athletics is headed.
“I think it’s one step closer to the five conferences splitting off,” he told the media on campus in College Park. “I really do, but again I think there’s bigger issues now that you have that in terms of who is really going to take charge of what’s best for football.”
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany responded to those comments later in the day as a featured guest on the Big Ten Network’s BTN Live program, which aired Thursday evening.
“My thought is we’ve all come together to stay together and so I wouldn’t agree,” he said. “Who knows, you know, what might happen, but I know that … the compromise has been achieved in order that we can stay together so everybody has the benefits of playing in the NCAA tournament, the NCAA championship system.”
Thursday’s vote by the Board of Directors grants the power to adopt rules and regulations as a smaller but more powerful five-conference bloc, likely opening the door for the passage of programs and benefits for athletes that lower-tier Division I schools cannot afford and have subsequently voted against in the past.
It’s as much an existential move in the face of lawsuits regarding compensation and likeness usage by the NCAA as it is an attempt at the modernization of a Division I pool that continues to grow.
Or perhaps the existence of the former makes the latter necessary.
“We didn’t get everything we asked for and that’s the nature of any compromise,” Delany said of the vote. “And so I’m hoping that under the big tent of the NCAA and the big tent of Division I that all student athletes ... I’m hopeful that by staying in the Big Ten, everybody benefits because I will tell you this I don’t think it’s a case where we care more than anyone else.
“I think we may have the wherewithal to do something that others not be able to do -- we should do that -- but I think it’s a misconception that somehow we care more for our athletes than other Division I schools care for their athletes.”
Edsall, too, has talked about the possibilities that this vote opens in regards to athlete care and compensation, those of which will follow soon on CSN.