Syracuse Orange: Power Fives, including ACC, could break off from NCAA

The novel coronavirus pandemic may alter collegiate sports over the long term, which could affect Syracuse Orange athletics.

The Syracuse Orange and its fellow Atlantic Coast Conference members compete within a league that, along with the other Power Five conferences, could ultimately break away from the NCAA due to the economic damage caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, in a riveting and thorough piece where he spoke with economists, marketing experts, athletics directors, administrators and others, wrote in part that the NCAA’s “fading relevancy” and the “different needs of the Power Five leagues may make change necessary.”

The Power Five, by the way, consists of the ACC, the Big Ten Conference, the Big 12 Conference, the Southeastern Conference, and the Pac-12 Conference.

“I’m telling you, if you or I were going to place a bet on a stock … you could double down on the Power Five being a separate entity now within two years,” Vince Thompson, founder and CEO of MELT, an Atlanta-based sports and entertainment marketing firm, told Dodd.

The 2020 March Madness didn’t occur, as the pandemic began to surface in a significant and serious manner in the United States by mid-March (if not sooner). The NCAA’s decision to cancel its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments at that time dealt a huge financial blow to college athletics’ governing body.

University of Utah economist Ted Tatos, in the Dodd story, said, “If there’s no NCAA Tournament next year … I think then there has to be a breakaway from this model.”

Wow. Does that mean the Power Five conferences would create their own men’s and women’s hoops championships? Would that, in turn, mean that Syracuse basketball wouldn’t have the ability to face Dayton, Gonzaga, Richmond or Vermont – teams which the Orange has a history with in Big Dances over the years – in future post-season tourneys?

Syracuse Orange sports teams, and their ACC counterparts, could split off from the NCAA.

Nothing is known at this juncture, and we’re dealing with a lot of speculation here. Regardless, I’m not sure how I feel about this possibility of the Power Five conferences, and perhaps other more formidable leagues, breaking away from the NCAA.

I get that the economic realities brought on by the pandemic are clear. The NCAA, in most instances, fails to do the right thing, and its leaders often lack common sense. The Power Five leagues have a grip on the money, because they control football, as Dodd notes.

Yet if the ‘Cuse, in basketball, football or other sports, can’t or just won’t suit up versus squads in non-Power Five conferences down the road, that kind of stinks. I’d get used to it, similar to how I’ve sort of gotten used to Syracuse becoming an ACC school. But that doesn’t mean I will wholeheartedly like it.

In a further indication that the Power Fives could split off from the NCAA at some point, Stadium first reported a few days ago, along with the Associated Press and other media outlets, that the commissioners of the Power Five conferences are asking federal lawmakers to not wait for the NCAA’s process to play out before passing a national law centered on name, image and likeness options for student-athletes.

The landscape of collegiate sports may soon drastically shift, and Orange fans who fervently follow a variety of ‘Cuse crews should keep a keen watch over this massively important issue.

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