|By Marek Warszawski, The Fresno Bee|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Based on the football team winning 11 games and a second straight
In total, the
So as the 2013-14 school year ends and we begin the long, scorching three months until football season, it's easy to kick back in the chaise lounge sipping strawberry ice tea and think everything is rosy.
If it were only that simple.
While Castro and Athletic Director
Not someday in the distant future. This is happening right now.
Last week, the
Essentially, the five wealthiest conferences want the power to set their own rules without being beholden to the 22 other Division I leagues. The
Some of the changes the Pac-12 is calling for:
--Allow universities to grant a cost-of-attendance stipend designed to meet out-of-pocket expenses that scholarships don't cover. How much depends on the school, but the average gap is
--Provide ongoing medical care and insurance assistance for athletes who suffer incapacitating injuries.
--Grant scholarship athletes in good standing enough time to complete their degrees.
--Decrease time demands on student-athletes, both during and after the season.
--Liberalize the transfer rules.
There's talk of allowing athletes to pursue careers without sacrificing their college eligibility, as well as increasing the scholarship limits for certain sports. Some schools want the ability to pay for parents' travel expenses to
"We acknowledge the core objectives could prove to be expensive and controversial, but the risks of inaction or moving too slowly are far greater," the letter states. "The time for tinkering with the rules and small adjustments is over."
Recruiting against the power conferences is tough enough. Image how tough it'll be when even a
The MW presidents meet
But, right now, a few questions come to mind: Does the MW go along with the proposed reforms? Would any vote be league-wide, or would each school fend for itself?
One day after the Pac-12 letter went public, Kustra issued a scathing response in which he called many of the reforms "subterfuge for fueling the arms race" of college sports and urged the
"This is all about trying to separate out the so-called resource five," Kustra wrote, "and leave everybody else in the dust."
While vowing to fight the reforms, Kustra gave himself enough wiggle room to do the Harlem Shake.
If they pass, Kustra told
Because that's the only way to stay competitive.
"I want to hear the discussion (at the MW meetings) before I make a final decision," Castro said. "The one thing that does concern me is some of the calls to increase benefits to the point where it makes it very hard for universities like
Sorry, Joe, but very hard was before. It'll soon be next-to-impossible.
These sweeping changes may seem like they're coming all of a sudden and in a hurry. And they are, as a response to the threat posed by current unionization efforts at
But, really, this has been years in the making, and some people saw them coming.
In my first long conversation with the former
It was a big dream, one that never materialized. But the rest of the prophecy did. And reality is about to set in.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6218, [email protected] or @MarekTheBee on Twitter.
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