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Two decisions help student-athletes

Last week was a great one for major college athletes in the Power Five conferences.

Let's start with the news that the power conferences -- ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC -- received enough votes to change some rules to their advantage.

The NCAA's move to allow power conferences flexibility in decision-making regarding their athletes is a move in the right direction. It will be interesting to see if these conferences agree on everything. The SEC may not feel the same way about legislation that the Big Ten brings up, and then the fun really starts.

Of course, that raises questions for the little guys, the mid-majors. This shift gives additional power in recruiting to the big boys, who could offer more money, more exposure, and other benefits that the smaller conferences cannot match. That makes the job of recruiting that much tougher for the schools outside of the Power Five, unless the smaller schools decide to adopt the rules from the bigger conferences, which is a possibility.

This is not a totally done deal. All Division I schools will have the opportunity to veto this new model. Right now, the NCAA Division I board of directors is the group that passed the new model, giving the five major conferences authority to create some of their own legislation and voting rights for athletes. The idea that athletes will have their own representational group in the voting process is a positive step.

There are positives and negatives in everything. The time has come for these student-athletes at the big school to receive part of the pie.

Then there was the ruling from the judge's chambers that rocked college athletics. Student-athletes were jumping with joy as a federal judge ruled against the NCAA in the Ed O'Bannon case. The decision was the NCAA violated anti-trust rules. The images of college athletes should have been worth money to those kids.

Money will be set forth in a trust fund, giving cash to athletes when they complete their eligibility. The judge ruled that college athletics is a big business. Wow, there is a surprise.

Of course, this case is far from over, as the NCAA will appeal the decision.

Stay tuned to see how this influences the non-revenue producing sports down the line. The sports that raise cash for schools will continue to raise the bar, but now schools will have to pay out money for kids. Will that lead to elimination of some smaller programs?

The bottom line is student-athletes won big this week.