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What Does Power Five Autonomy Mean to Xavier?

Will the Musketeers be able to remain competitive when the BCS conferences have the ability to make their own rules? And what might that look like?

This guy...
This guy...
Jamie Squire

The Power Five conferences - here defined as the SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big Ten, and Big 12 - have been approved by the NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors to have the authority to create their own legislation and have voting rights for athletes. The process for actually creating their own rules is a little bit complicated. Any proporsed rule would have to receive 65% support from a panel comprised of one delegate and three student-athletes from each school in the power five, as well as majority support from 3 of the 5 conferences. A rule can also be ratified by approval of 51% of the panel plus majority support from 4 of the 5 conferences.

Basically, the groundwork has been laid to smooth over changes that were probably already coming, but anything significantly revolutionary will likely still take time and red tape.Schools from other conferences can then choose whether or not they want to abide by the rules put in place by the power five. According to VUHoops, the areas where autonomy will be granted to the five power conferences are:

Health and Wellness - providing more robust health-insurance for athletes.
Meals and Nutrition - potentially the end of nonsensical "cream cheese rules"
Financial Aid - allowing the power conferences to increase the aid available to scholarship athletes
Student-Athlete Support - allowing an increase in awards and benefits to cover athlete expenses
Pre-Enrollment Support (financial) - assistance to families to visit universities and in the recruiting process or in the summer prior to enrollment.
Insurance and Career Transition - rules governing athletes' loans and insurance against career-ending injuries and rules relating to agents and advisors.
Career Pursuits - the ability for athletes to promote themselves and their career ambitions.
Time Demands - limitations on practice time and academic time.
Academic Support
Recruiting - rules related to the infringement of recruiting activities on athletes' academic preparation.
Personnel - related to non-coaching positions, titles, and other staff issues.

What does this mean? Well, it means that changes that bigger schools supported that got blocked by smaller (poorer) school will now have their path cleared to be put in place. Think cost of living stipends and other compensation, better medical care, possibly full four-year scholarships... things that UK wouldn't blink at but would be a significant obstacle to NJIT. This will likely widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots, but it's not like those two schools were competing for signees anyway.

The real impact may be in recruiting between underachieving power five teams and the better mid-majors. If a player is contemplating offers from, say, Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth, and Va Tech is offering several thousand dollars of real money that VCU isn't, that will muddle the equation. Time will tell what exactly will come out of this, but it's likely going to be a case of the rich getting richer at some level.

What does all this mean to Xavier? That depends on how the Big East responds. The worst-case scenario would be that the conference does not adopt anything the Power Five ratify, leaving Xavier with significant disadvantages on the recruiting trail. This seems unlikely though. Gun to my head, I think that X is going to be okay. The schools that formed the Big East did so promarily because they prioritize basketball and competing on the highest level, and I don't think they will let things they can avoid get in the way of that. These aren't schools that don't have the money to remaining competitive, and I'm guessing they will take steps to ensure that they do. Exactly what that will look like is anyone's guess.