Holder Talks Power Conference Autonomy

The NCAA Board of Directors voted Thursday to pass a measure allowing the five power conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC) the freedom they desired to make their own rules and set up their own ultra competitive situation that would have never happened with nearly 250 other Division I members, most much smaller in size, enrollment, and budget also voting on measures.

Thursday on the radio, Oklahoma State Vice-President for Athletics and Intercollegiate Athletics Director Mike Holder sounded a warning that with schools like Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, and others with unlimited pockets that Oklahoma State had to be careful what those rich boys came up with in the way of new rules. Holder mentioned that Texas has an annual athletic budget of close to $179 million compared to Oklahoma State's $70 million.

In the Big 12, you have Texas and quite a ways back is Oklahoma as the upper echelon financially. In the SEC, you have LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina up at the top. In the ACC, there really aren't too many blue bloods. In the Big 10, you have Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin at the top. In the Pac-10 ,UCLA, Stanford, Oregon would possibly be the richest schools and USC is a private school.

That's roughly 15 schools on the blue blood list. That means some 50 schools aren't. Those 50 schools now must keep those others in check. School presidents, chancellors, athletic directors, and any other representatives must be smart, know the legislation, know the policies, know the intent and not allow that small number of schools to force rules and a situation where they cannot compete.

There always needs to be checks and balance. Oklahoma State and those other 49 must be the checks and keep the balance or they'll find their checking accounts won't be big enough to compete.

The most important portion of the conversation was that Holder definitely agrees with Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby that athletics need to remain a part of the education process at the University level and that it is more about education than preparing an athlete for the professional ranks that the majority will never achieve.

That said, Holder relished his time as a student-athlete when he started as a walk-on golfer at Oklahoma State before earning a scholarship. He said he would "trade everything" he has now (other than wife and family) to go back and be a student-athlete again.

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