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The NCAA has approved Power Five autonomy. Now what does that mean?


By a 16-2 vote, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved Thursday the much discussed plan to provide college athletics' richest conferences - the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC - a new governance structure that will allow them to right their own rules. 

This is how the new voting model will work:


Key takeaways here: it now only takes one conference to sponsor a piece of legislation, rather than three. And, as you see above, legislation passes with 60 percent of the popular vote and a simple majority from three of the five conferences, or a 51 percent of the popular vote and a simple majority from four of the five conferences.

While what exactly the Power Five will vote is on just another step in the process, we have a good idea of what it will and will not consist of. Expect issues like cost-of-attendance scholarships, larger medical coverage, guaranteed scholarships upon returning to school, and other benefits such as greater permission to fly players' parents to and from bowl games. This is all stuff that Power Five schools have campaigned to do for a while now. What is not on the able are any rules that would have an immediate effect on the way games are played. For instance, the Power Five will not have a different targeting rule, or the ability to provide 95 scholarships. That stuff remains inside the NCAA's big tent. The NCAA has a flow chart of where this all goes from here.

The other important thing to note from today - while the Power Five has the exclusive benefit to write its own rules, they are not the only schools that can choose to play by them. When cost-of-attendance scholarships get approved, they'll be approved for all of Division I. The American has been vocal about its plans to provide any new benefit the Power Five can offer, so there's nothing stopping them from adding the estimated $2,000-$5,000 per scholarship covering cost-of-attendance when the rule gets passed if they so choose. The difference is there's nothing requiring it, either.

For those who desire more in-depth reading, I'd suggest Jon Solomon's Q&A for CBS Sports.