Pat Haden: Autonomy good for athletes

USC athletic director Pat Haden weighed in on the subject of the NCAA “power five” vote that took place on Thursday, giving greater autonomy to the top five conferences in creating rules that apply to their group.

“This isn’t a surprise; it’s an expected result,” Haden said. “It’s good for the student-athlete and it doesn’t mean those outside the power-five conferences can’t do more, but we probably have the resources to do more than others, and that’s the way it’s been for a long time.

“If you look at what we’re doing at USC, we’ve already implemented the four-year scholarships and we’ve made changes in our eating policy; we’re always going to do as much as we’re allowed to do. There are still going to be some things that are outside of this autonomy vote. We can’t just sit here and say ‘OK, we’re going to have 15 baseball scholarships now.' That would be putting those other conferences at a disadvantage.”

The power five - which is made up of schools from the Pac-12, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC, along with Notre Dame – can submit legislation by Oct. 1 with the goal to having it enacted in January 2015 at the NCAA meeting. The goal will be to establish certain rules and guidelines that apply to the 65 schools within the power five rather than the entire 350 schools that make up the NCAA. Among the first items to be considered will be full cost of attendance, an issue that was first approved three years ago but was eventually voted down by the full NCAA membership.

“I’ve been arguing for years that we need to do more for these kids, and this is just the first step,” Haden said. “I don’t know that it’s a game-changing type of step because we don’t know what legislation is going to move forward; that hasn’t been decided yet. We have an athletic director meeting later this month and I’m sure we’ll be talking about this a lot.”

“I think it’s important to get kids more break time. It’s a grind to be involved in a sport, certainly more time demands than when I was in school. I think that’s important, to allow kids to enjoy the full college experience, and that’s one of the things that could be equal across the board so that nobody has a competitive disadvantage.”