Mike Slive: Playing field is shifting

Updated: August 11, 2014, 2:01 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- SEC commissioner Mike Slive says college athletics are "going through a historic evolution.''

Slive released a statement Monday after a judge's ruling that players on Football Bowl Subdivision teams and in Division I men's basketball are entitled to at least $5,000 a year for rights to their names, images and likenesses.

He said the judge on Friday appropriately recognized "the importance of integrating academics and athletics in this decision.''

The NCAA says it will appeal U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken's ruling against the NCAA's argument that its model of amateurism is the only way to operate college sports.

Slive said "the ultimate consequences'' won't be known until legal questions are resolved. He said the judge's decision and recent changes in NCAA governances represent "a historic evolution of the landscape of college sports."

In his first public comments since Friday's ruling, NCAA president Mark Emmert told ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" that college sports' largest governing body found a lot in the decision that was "admirable" and some parts it disagrees with so strongly that it could not let them go unchallenged in court.

"Yes, at least in part we will," Emmert said when asked whether the NCAA planned an appeal. "No one on our legal team or the college conferences' legal teams think this is a violation of antitrust laws, and we need to get that settled in the courts."

[+] EnlargeMike Slive
Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY SportsAlthough legal questions remain, SEC commissioner Mike Slive said on Monday that significant recent changes in NCAA governance represent "a historic evolution of the landscape of college sports."

On Friday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was unapologetic as the Power Five start to move ahead after securing more control than mid-major and smaller conferences. The NCAA Division I board of directors on Thursday voted 16-2 to allow the schools in the top five conferences to write many of their own rules.

"I think the only message is that our student-athletes and our programs are largely the face of what America knows as college athletics," Bowlsby told ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Friday. "We win more than 90 percent of the NCAA championships every year.

"I think this [vote] recognizes that there are some differences, and programs at our level have some unique challenges, have some relationships with student-athletes that are evolving. We need to have rules that respond to that evolution and those changes. I think it's an acknowledgment that some of us have challenges that are unique. It's because of those challenges that we felt like we needed an opportunity to control a little more of our destiny."

Ed O'Bannon, the former UCLA star whose name adorns the historic lawsuit, told ESPN and ABC News that the spending controls imposed by Wilken could evolve as the leaders of college sports, and those challenging the existing rules, reshape the industry in the coming months and years.

"What we did is just a small amount of change," O'Bannon said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg. I think that a lot of change is going to happen. This is just the beginning."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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