The Big Ten and Southeastern Conference are officially trying to find solutions to the problems facing college sports.
The two richest and most powerful college conferences announced Friday the formation of a joint advisory group of college leaders and athletic directors. The members of the group and exactly what they will be tasked with examining have not yet been determined.
The major college sports business is trying to adapt quickly under constant legal and political pressure. The NCAA faces at least five antitrust lawsuits that challenge its authority to govern college sports, from how athletes are compensated to transfer and recruiting rules.
The SEC, Big Ten and other power conferences are also named as defendants in some of these lawsuits.
“The Big Ten and SEC have significant investments in the NCAA, and there is no doubt 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 between our circumstances and the urgency of finding solutions to the common challenges we face.”
Petitti and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, along with Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips and Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark, met with NCAA President Charlie Baker last week to discuss a number of issues, including Baker’s proposal for a new subdivision of Division I. discussed the issue.
College sports leaders are lobbying Congress both independently and jointly as the multibillion-dollar major college sports industry struggles to transition from its outdated amateurism model.
Fueled by massive media rights deals, the SEC and Big Ten are in the process of financially separating from their peer conferences at the pinnacle of college sports.
“There are similar cultural and social impacts on our student-athletes, institutions and communities due to the new collegiate athletics landscape,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “We do not have predetermined answers to the countless questions we face. “We don’t expect agreement on everything, but increasing interaction between our conferences will help focus efforts on common-sense solutions.”
A press release from the conferences stated that the group has no authority to act independently and will serve only as an advisor.