PAUL BEATY/Associated Press
Perhaps no group had a better two days last week than athletes in so-called power-five conferences.
On Thursday, one day before Wilken's ruling, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly in favor of giving power-five conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) legislative autonomy. Assuming it passes a 60-day veto period, power conferences would have more authority to govern their own interests than ever before.
The first item on the agenda should be calculating the full cost of attendance for athletes. Since this was already a front-burner issue for autonomy, Wilken's ruling does little to affect the NCAA negatively on this front.
Couple the cost of attendance boost with the rest of Friday's ruling, and power-five athletes will be on the receiving end of more money beginning in 2015 and '16, respectively. Sports Business reporter Kristi Dosh does an excellent job of explaining how this works:
You’ve probably heard about the $5,000 tied to the trust fund idea. It does not mean every football and men’s basketball student athlete is automatically accruing $5,000 per year in a trust fund to access after graduation or exhaustion of eligibility. What the judge said was that the NCAA cannot prevent schools from offering at least $5,000 per year to football and men’s basketball student athletes (to be placed in a trust for disbursement upon graduation or exhaustion of eligibility). The NCAA will likely set the cap at the minimum $5,000/student athlete/year. Each individual school can then decide if they want to participate, but they are not required to do so. One school might decide on the $5,000 number, another might only be able to do $2,500, and yet another might decide they cannot afford to do anything. Whatever the schools choose, they must implement it equally across a recruiting class. You can’t offer higher-profile recruits more than other recruits. You can, however, change the amount with each new recruiting class.
Generally speaking, schools in power-five conferences are equipped to handle the task of further dividing the revenue pie to include players. That doesn't mean, however, that there won't be disagreement among members about how to calculate/cap the amount and from where it will come.
Much is made about the "haves" and "have nots" of college athletics, but in major college football and basketball, it's more about the "haves" and "have mores." Wilken wrote as much in her ruling:
The high coaches' salaries and rapidly increasing spending on training facilities at many schools suggest that these schools would, in fact, be able to afford to offer their student-athletes a limited share of the licensing revenue generated from their use of the student-athletes' own names, images and likenesses.
For example: Louisiana-Lafayette, a Sun Belt conference member, recently awarded head coach Mark Hudspeth a new contract that averages $1.075 million over the length of the now six-year, $6.45 million deal, per the Lafayette Advertiser. Clearly, ULL is able to find the money to pay its head coach, but it will be challenged to simultaneously pay football and basketball players for their NIL rights—if it can at all.
That's not much of an issue for schools like Ohio State or Alabama, which pulled in more than $100 million in revenue in 2013, according to USA Today.