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NCAA under siege as talk of major change abounds

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Echoing recent concerns voiced by Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive and Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, ACC commissioner John Swofford said Monday that the NCAA faced some seismic changes at its annual convention in January.

A fault line seemingly has developed between the five power conferences — the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-12 — and the rest of the NCAA over their governance, and whether they should form a “super division’’ within the NCAA’s framework or break away from the intercollegiate athletic organization.

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“If the five conferences were to break off, I mean, that’s a complicated move,’’ Swofford told USA Today. “You’d have to, in essence, duplicate the NCAA in some form or fashion, and then what does that mean for intercollegiate athletics? So if you’ve got another division, if that’s the answer within the NCAA, you can maneuver and find an appropriate way, I think, to address those kinds of issues.’’

The NCAA is under siege on several fronts, from the class-action suit brought by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon seeking compensation for the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses, to the internal controversy brought on by its enforcement division’s mishandling of University of Miami’s infraction case, to the frustration over the lack of movement on stipends for student-athletes.

Those issues could bring imminent changes to the NCAA. “I think that message has gotten through,’’ Swofford said.

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