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NCAA leader confident amid adversity

By Matt Murschel Orlando Sentinel (MCT) • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:39 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. — NCAA president Mark Emmert was not surprised by fiery comments from the SEC’s Mike Slive, but he’s confident everything will work out for the organization and its members.

Emmert met with athletic directors in a private session during the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention in Orlando.

The NCAA has been under fire on a variety of fronts, with some of its former athletes questioning whether they deserved a share of the organization’s profits, wealthier schools anxiously trying to defend themselves against anti-trust claims and lower-income schools balkingat anything that further stretches their limited budgets.

“It was mostly a listening session,” Emmert said following the two-hour meeting. “Hearing what things the athletic directors are pleased with and what they are unhappy with. I thought it was very constructive.”

The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, now known as the Power 5, are backing a slew of changes that would alter the NCAA structure. They want the authority to pass rule changes for their schools, swiftly addressing heavily debated issues such as unlimited meals for athletes, stipends to better cover cost of attendance, compensating athletes for jersey sales and relaxing restrictions on transferring between schools.

Emmert said he’s aware the Slive said the SEC would push for the formation of a new Division IV if its push for autonomy, or the authority to pass rule changes it deems necessary for its schools, isn’t approved.

“That’s been widely discussed and everybody knows that’s an option that some people wouldn’t mind exploring,” he said. “I understand that.

“The reality is that we’re not that far apart on the various ends of that and I’m sure it will get worked out. I’m pretty confident the whole thing is going to work out and be successful.”

Emmert said he was pleased with Wednesday’s discussion, calling the talks “frank” and he added that the athletic directors are excited about weighing in on the organization’s future.

“The athletic directors are pleased with their new role that’s going to exist should this new model get adopted,” he said. “Obviously, there’s anxiety about what the details of any new rules changes will be. But overall it was very, very positive.”

UCF athletic director Todd Stansbury said it “was very positive.”

“Regardless of the level, there was a lot of consensus among the athletic directors,” he said.

Emmert left quickly after the session ended. He confirmed he will testify during the ongoing Ed O’Bannon federal trial against the NCAA. O’Bannon is among former college athletes seeking compensation for the revenue generated by the NCAA’s use of their names during their careers.

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