Michael Conroy/Associated Press
The average college football fan doesn't want to concern himself with off-the-field issues, especially if it's not specifically related to a star player or coach. But this offseason featured two of the most significant news events in the sport's history, both of which could have a major impact on the game's future.
And both came to a head on the same day, Friday, Aug. 8.
That's when a federal judge ruled that the NCAA violated anti-trust laws by having policies that "unreasonably restrain trade in the market for certain educational and athletic opportunities offered by NCAA Division I schools" (via Lee Romney of the Los Angeles Times).
It was also the same day that the NCAA approved a measure that would give Division I's five power conferences an unprecedented level of autonomy when it comes to setting their own rules.
In simpler terms, the NCAA faces the loss of a lot of unilateral power and the ability to generate revenue from the names, likeness and images of student-athletes without having to potentially share in those profits.
Neither situation is completely set in stone, however. NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Sunday the governing body would appeal U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken's ruling in the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press (via Yahoo Sports), and the timetable for such an appeal could be lengthy.
And on the autonomy front, the vote by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors is able to be vetoed if enough schools put together a dissenting position, and the power conferences have to submit proposed legislation by Oct. 1 to keep the process moving forward.
Whatever comes from these news items, though, one thing is certain: The long-in-place structure of the NCAA, in terms of how it operates and oversees all collegiate athletics, will be a thing of the past.
Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.