Gary PinkelThe NCAA Division I board of directors voted 16-2 to allow the schools in the top five conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12, plus Notre Dame) to write many of their own rules.  The autonomy measure  allows the top 64 schools to decide for themselves, the cost of stipends, insurance benefits for players, the size of the football staff, rules on recruiting and more.

Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel commented on the situation after practice on Friday and said this was done in the best interest of the student athletes.

“It was very difficult to try to help do more for the student-athlete with restrictions that we had totally and so that’s what this thing is all about.”

An 80-member voting panel, which will include 15 current players, will be assembled to determine the new policies for the five leagues. Stipends, which could range from $2,000 to $5,000, are expected to be one of the topics addressed immediately.  Four year guaranteed scholarships are also expected to be discussed early.

Other new rules the bigger conferences could enact include lesser restrictions on contact between players and agents, allowing student-athletes to pursue outside paid opportunities, plus and covering expenses for players’ families to attend postseason games.  Pinkel is cautiously optimistic that this is the right thing for college football.

“I think its a plus, I think its a good move, but yet you have to watch ourselves too, to make sure we do the right things.”

This panel must be careful.  Opening up some of these restrictions could have a Pandora’s Box effect.  Nobody at this point has a crystal ball to see what potential problems could arise, but a conservative implementation of plans could help ease into this new era of college football.