Pac-12’s Larry Scott adds his voice to chorus of change

HARTFORD, Conn. — Larry Scott of the Pac-12 joined the chorus of commissioners calling for sweeping change in the NCAA, and he said it can happen without confrontation and with the five most powerful football conferences still competing with the other five.

Scott was the last of the leaders of the big five conferences to make a public push for NCAA reforms that will allow the schools with the most resources to have more freedom to determine how they use them.

“I don’t think of it as much of an us vs. them situation as maybe is the impression out there,” Scott said Thursday as the Pac-12 wrapped up a mini-media days on the East Coast that included their football coaches appearing on ESPN. “I’m certainly aligned with what you heard from my colleagues this week in terms of the need for transformative change, but I think it can be evolutionary and not revolutionary. I don’t think it will be as confrontational and controversial a process as some of the reports I have heard this week.”

NCAA President Mark Emmert told The Indianapolis Star on Thursday that he agrees with Scott and his fellow commissioners, and he promised significant changes to the way rules and policies are made.

“There’s one thing that virtually everybody in Division I has in common right now, and that is they don’t like the governance model,” Emmert said.

“Now, there’s not agreement on what the new model should be. But there’s very little support for continuing things in the governing process the way they are today.”

Emmert said he will call for a Division I summit in January to discuss revamping how Division I is run.

Scott, Mike Slive of the Southeastern Conference, John Swofford of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Bob Bowlsby of the Big 12 and Jim Delany of the Big Ten have taken turns calling for change to the way the NCAA passes legislation. The most notable issue has been a $2,000 stipend that would be added to the athletic scholarship to cover the full-cost of college attendance. The big five conferences want to be able to give the stipend to all scholarship athletes.

“Schools that have resources and want to be able to do more for student-athletes are frustrated, concerned that we’re being held back from doing more,” Scott said.

The stipend was shot down by some of the less wealthy Division I schools that might not be able to afford it. There are 349 schools in Division I and 125 at the highest level of college football.

“The idea that there is an even playing field in terms of resources is a fanciful and quaint notion,” Scott said.

Scott compared the stipend being stymied to the delays in bringing instant replay to college football in 2000s.

“Instant replay took longer than it needed to get into college football because not everyone could do it,” he said. “There are still some schools out there whose conferences can’t afford instant replay. It doesn’t strike me that the world’s fallen in or that it’s created some crisis just because everyone can’t have instant replay.”

Scott said he still wants FBS to have a “so-called big tent,” with more than just the top five conferences included.

“That’s why the reports of a possible breakaway and things like that are overcooked,” he said. “That’s not anyone’s agenda.”