The ‘Big Five’ Power Grab: The Real Threat to College Sports

In what may have been an all-time first, the Chronicle of Higher Education listed seven authors of an op-ed piece published on June 19, 2014. “This was truly a group effort,” said Brian Porto, a professor at the Vermont Law School who is an expert on antitrust law. The article, written by scholars affiliated with the Drake Group, appeared in the commentary section.

The collection of authors who wrote and did research on the piece argue that the threat by the “Big Five” conferences (Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, and Southeastern Conference) to break away from the NCAA poses a bigger threat to the future or college sports than any court decision or union campaign. According to Gerry gurney, another contributor to the article, “the Big Five Power Grab appears to put the financial interests of their football and basketball programs ahead of the well-being of other college athletes.” According to article, the Big Five Conferences appear to be saying to the NCAA’s other 1000 plus members “give us autonomy or you will lose your primary funding source. “This may make perfectly good sense if the Big-Five conferences were a professional league like the NFL or NBA,” says co-author Allen Sack, but this is supposed to be college sports not the pros, and pros pay income tax, bargain over player’s salaries, and can’t draw on a university’s general fund when they end up in the red”.

To read the article click here.

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