Aresco: AAC will match Power 5

John F. Silver

There always have been have and have nots in the NCAA. The thought that Texas had anything in common with Texas State is one of the more naive notions about the NCAA. They never have, athletically, and never will.

The current Power 5 conferences are now searching for autonomy, and make no mistake it’s coming, and with it the inequality gets codified.

 The Power 5 wants to offer some kind of stipend to its athletes — cost of attendance — and the SEC, ACC, Big 12, B1G and Pac-12 are going to be able to do it. Where does that leave the rest of college athletics?

You can join them…or not.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco reiterated on Saturday in a 15-minute press avail before the start of the UConn-Memphis game that the American will do what the Power Five does. The American wants to compete at the highest level and the conference is committed to it – all of them.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco reiterated on Saturday in a 15-minute press avail before the start of the UConn-Memphis game that the American will do what the Power Five does. The American wants to compete at the highest level and the conference is committed to it – all of them.

“As a conference we’ve already committed to provide a full cost of attendance stipend if that’s passed,” Aresco said. “It’s unclear what that’s going to be, whether it’s going to be based on federal guidelines, what the cost of attendance is for each individual school and that can incidentals like laundry and travel. …Whatever it ends up being, whether it’s a fixed amount, we have committed as a conference, pledged as a conference that we are going to do it.”

That is easier said than done. Aresco talked about the dynamic that is coming and how the high resource schools have the ability to offer stipends. UConn remains one of the bigger non-P5 schools and should presumably be able to handle a stipend.

There are other smaller schools in the American, Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina coming in. Can they offer stipend at the levels needed to compete? How about in sports other than football such as men’s and women’s basketball?

Will the AAC allow some to offer stipends, and some not offer?

“We haven’t yet decided on that yet,” Aresco said. “But we are wondering if we’ll let individual schools make those decision or if we’ll have to do it as a conference.”

There are a lot of issues to work out. Not every school with every sport can afford a stipend (example, UConn women’s basketball can, how many others?) and whether conferences will allow some teams to offer and some don’t is open room to debate.

The AAC can off a stipend, even in men’s basketball. Can teams in the Northeast Conference or American East Conference do the same? That’s the issue going forward.

Aresco’s answer was that the field was never equal.

As conferences move into this brave new world, that couldn’t be anymore clear.

 




1 comments

Manual hitching UConn's athletic future on Aresco's plan to get into arms fight with Power 5 Conferences shows how the out of step the Athletic Department is and how they managed to ride a first class Athletic Department into the ranks of the Mid-Majors. UConn doesn't need new hockey and soccer facilities it needs to throw every resource they have into Rentschler and the Football program and find a spot in the Big12 now. Waiting for further Big10 eastern expansion, or for Notre Dame to to join the ACC may be better fits but are years away and UConn doesn't have that kind of time. They need to partner with BYU and leverage the NY market, and the best basketball program since UCLA into the Power 5 by way of the Big12 today.


Aresco's plan to match Power 5 incentives with a tenth of the Power 5's TV revenue is as laughable as placing UConn's athletic future in the hands of Wade Manual. UConn needs to bring in a bigtime football AD with strong ties to the Big12. Anyone that still believes that the "Group of 5" can every gain equal status as the "Power 5" is not just out of step they are just plain wrong.