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BMATT247: Change is coming

AUBURN, Ala. -- The message from the The Big 5 conference commissioners this past week has been loud and clear.

Slive and the other Big 5 commissioners are pushing for major changes in the NCAA.

Change is coming to the NCAA. And if you’re a school in the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac 12, that’s a good thing.

“The NCAA has not been successful in meeting the full cost of attendance of our student-athletes,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said last week. “...In recent conversations with my commissioner colleagues, there appears to be a willingness to support a meaningful solution to this important change.”

From Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Texas Monday...

“It is just very difficult to do anything that would benefit our student athletes or our institutions that doesn't get voted down by the larger majority,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

From ACC Media Days in Greensboro, N.C., Monday...

"I do think we've missed the boat in this new structure in terms of keeping people who really know college athletics and deal with it every day and know its nuances. The current structure just doesn't engage those people to the degree that I think they need to be engaged,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said.

And from Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Ill., Wednesday...

“From my conversations with all of my colleagues, they think change is at hand,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.

Yes, change is at hand. The days of smaller schools from smaller conferences dictating what the bigger conferences can and cannot do is coming to an end.

Slive made it clear that the Big 5 conference weren’t looking to secede from the NCAA. Instead, the momentum is for a new division within the NCAA that is governed by the Big 5 conferences and puts more power in the hands of athletic directors and those that are involved in the day-to-day operation of college athletics.

For Auburn and the rest of the schools in the power conferences, the changes will likely include the ability to provide more for student-athletes including the full cost of attendance and a lifetime commitment to an education. Changes in eligibility for borderline students, the time demands on student-athletes and year-round training tables have already been discussed.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a return to full athletic dorms and a relaxation of many of the silly recruiting rules. Can anyone really explain why schools can’t simulate a gameday atmosphere during a prospect’s visit?

The changes that need to occur are too long for this column. But they’re coming. And with all of the Big 5 commissioners on the same page and working together, that change is coming sooner rather than later.

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