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Despite saber rattling from Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive that resuscitated talk of a separate division for the 65 wealthiest athletics departments, NCAA President Mark Emmert told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday that he remains confident the current framework for a new governance structure under the Division I umbrella will be approved in August.

"The reality is, they're not that far apart on the various ends of that, and I'm pretty confident the whole thing is going to work out and probably be successful," Emmert said after a closed-door meeting with more than 100 Division I athletics directors at the National Association of College Directors of Athletics convention.

Though Emmert said he understood "some people wouldn't mind exploring" a so-called Division 4 for the five wealthiest leagues plus independent Notre Dame -- a possibility Slive raised again last month after the SEC spring meetings -- the focus instead remains on an autonomous structure for those schools that would give them voting independence on a range of specific issues.

The NCAA steering committee, which is made up of eight college presidents, drafted a proposal last month calling for a two-thirds supermajority for autonomous votes to pass, plus simple-majority approval from four of the five conferences.

Slive and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany have called for a lower threshold. Slive said 60% and three conferences would be acceptable.

"I'm sure that the steering committee will find a sensible compromise," Emmert said.

A final version of the proposal is expected to go to a vote of the NCAA's board of directors Aug.7.

Emmert also confirmed he will take the stand in the ongoing Ed O'Bannon name and likeness trial in Oakland. He said he had no comment on the first two days of testimony.


June 12, 2014


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