Plan would empower big conferences

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors endorsed a plan on Thursday that would change the way college sports are governed and give the five major conferences the authority to make many of their own rules. The board still must take a final vote on the measures in August after it solicits feedback from member schools.

If the plan is put into place, the 65 schools in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC would have autonomy to set their own rules on issues such as cost-of-attendance stipends, medical coverage and travel to games and tournaments for players' families. The board will continue to discuss whether the power conferences could set their own policies in areas such as per-week time limits, recruiting, coaching staff limits and outside career interests for players and transfers.

A new structure for governing Division I also would be put into place. The board of directors, led primarily by university presidents, would remain but would focus mainly on oversight. A new council composed of at least 60 percent athletic directors, plus two voting players and four league commissioners, would be in charge of day-to-day policy and legislative action.

"The model we sent to the membership today is not a final product," Division I board chair and Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch said in a statement. "Some aspects of the model remain under discussion, and we hope the membership will provide us further input."

The board also decided on Thursday that any rules adopted by the power five conferences would not require separate votes by the other 27 leagues. NCAA officials said they would seek more input from those conferences on how they would want to handle those decisions.

The board of governors resolved to begin the transition to a new structure by fall 2014, with the new council in place by 2015.

In other actions, the board adopted a proposal that would change eligibility for some transfers. Players who cannot transfer and play immediately without a hardship waiver will be given a sixth year of eligibility. The new rules eliminating restrictions on how much schools could feed their athletes also gained final approval.