NCAA LogoThe NCAA, as an organization, is in jeopardy. You can read about it every day. First Penn State, then Miami, and then still more bungling trying to cover up the bungling. Mark Emmert and company are under fire from several directions.  Not only from the sports writers around the country but by the judicial system as well.  They are being sued on several fronts for everything from player safety to using player’s images for computer games for profit.

All that was plenty enough before the NCAA went totally off the wall with their reaction to the football team at Northwestern University making a move to unionize. How could they ask for money to play football for their university, Emmert’s office demanded? Except that the proposals made by the Northwestern athletes never once mentioned being ‘paid to play’ not once.

One wonders if Emmert and company even bothered to read the proposal before lashing out at the very young people they were supposedly formed to defend. But they had better pay attention this time. This time it’s not just a bunch of kids or even the federal courts that the NCAA must contend with. This time the rumbling is coming from within.

Finally a voice has risen that really does have the power to force change in the way college sports are governed in the USA. They are known as the Power 5 and power is something they have plenty of.

The Power 5 consists of the 5 most powerful conferences in colligate sports in America. They are the Big Ten, the Big 12, the ACC, the Pac12, and, of course, the SEC. Between them they represent 65 of the largest and most respected universities in this country, and a whole lot of money.

At the recent SEC spring meetings down in Destin, Florida, SEC Commissioner revealed that he and the other members of the Power 5 stood ready to do what is necessary to implement the changes they all want to see in their athletic programs, even though the NCAA continues to block those changes.

Speaking about the current deadlock over the issue of attendance stipends for student athletes, Bernie Machen, the president of the University of Florida put it on the table, “We would love to be part of the NCAA Division I, but we’re in a squeeze here.”

The Power 5 want autonomy to make their own decisions and they certainly have the power to force the move if the NCAA does not make some real changes soon.