SEC commissioner Mike Slive addresses ‘angst’ of autonomy

HOOVER, Ala. | In his annual address to kick off media days, league commissioner Mike Slive quoted Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela while speaking of reform in the NCAA.

“We are not deaf to the din of discontent across college athletics that has dominated the news,” he said.

Those include the O’Bannon court case against the NCAA and a push for unionization at Northwestern.

Slive addressed the SEC’s pursuit of autonomy for the big five conferences (the others being the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12) to carve out some rules of their own with a key NCAA vote scheduled for Aug. 7 by its board of directors.

“If we do not achieve a positive outcome under the existing big tent of Division I, we will need to establish a venue with similar conferences and institutions where we can enact the desired changes in the best interests of our student-athletes,” he said.

He didn’t call it a division or a “Division IV” the term he used in Destin.

“I used that word carefully,” he said afterwards of “venue.”

Slive said autonomy would provide “meaningful change,” like the scholarships tied into the cost of attendance instead of just tuition, room, board and books as well as expanded health and wellness support.

While he said he said he is optimistic it will pass, he acknowledged there is “angst on the part of many.”

“I think when push comes to shove, it will pass,” Slive said.

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