The Big Ten Conference and the Southeastern Conference have announced the formation of an “advisory group” as the two entities look to help shape and navigate the ongoing — and oncoming — changes in college athletics.
The group, which will consist of university presidents, chancellors, and athletics directors, will “address the significant challenges facing college athletics and the opportunities for betterment of the student- athlete experience.”
This is all seen as a precursor to big-time college football eventually breaking free from the NCAA as television money has continued to separate “the haves” from “the never-dids.”
Last month, Ohio State president Ted Carter and incoming athletic director Ross Bjork both spoke of the coming changes and OSU and the Big Ten’s role in having a large say in what happens next. Ohio State is not the only university that feels this way, as evidenced by this first step.
Current Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith released a statement offering his support of the advisory group.
“I support the leadership role that the Big Ten Conference and the Southeastern Conference are undertaking with the goal of improving our student-athlete experiences and also finding solutions to the challenges facing collegiate athletics today,” Smith wrote. “I applaud Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey on their proactive partnership and leadership role that will address the issues and seek solutions within the current environment.”
This is one of the first steps towards more significant alterations in college sports as universities try to stay ahead of lawsuits and Congress, while remaining focused on the betterment of the student-athlete experience.
Here is the full joint release from the Big Ten and the SEC.
ROSEMONT, Ill./BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference today announced the formation of a joint advisory group of university presidents, chancellors, and athletics directors to address the significant challenges facing college athletics and the opportunities for betterment of the student- athlete experience.
These challenges, including but not limited to recent court decisions, pending litigation, a patchwork of state laws, and complex governance proposals, compel the two conferences to take a leadership role in developing solutions for a sustainable future of college sports.
The advisory group will engage with other constituencies as necessary, including consultation with student-athletes and other key leadership groups from within both conferences.
“The Big Ten and the SEC have substantial investment in the NCAA and there is no question that the voices of our two conferences are integral to governance and other reform efforts,” said Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti. “We recognize the similarity in our circumstances, as well as the urgency to address the common challenges we face.”
“There are similar cultural and social impacts on our student-athletes, our institutions, and our communities because of the new collegiate athletics environment,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “We do not have predetermined answers to the myriad questions facing us. We do not expect to agree on everything but enhancing interaction between our conferences will help to focus efforts on common sense solutions.”
The advisory group will have no authority to act independently and will only serve as a consulting body. Its composition, charter and timetable, as well as the specific questions it might examine, have yet to be determined.