The NCAA is reportedly taking a step to try and introduce a new athletics subdivision that would feature athlete compensation as a foundational characteristic.

According to Ross Dellenger with Yahoo Sports, NCAA president Charlie Baker is planning to introduce a proposal that would create a new subdivision within Division I athletics. The new subdivision would grant schools increased autonomy on policy-making with compensation to athletes permitted.

Under the proposal, schools would have the opportunity to opt in or opt out of the new subdivision. Those that opt-in would be required to meet “a strict minimum standard” in regard to athlete investment per Dellenger.

Schools in the new subdivision would also be allowed to establish NIL deals directly with their own athletes. That is a key distinction from the current NIL model currently in play.

“It kick-starts a long-overdue conversation among the membership that focuses on the differences that exist between schools, conferences and divisions and how to create more permissive and flexible rules across the NCAA that put student-athletes first,” Baker writes in the letter. “Colleges and universities need to be more flexible, and the NCAA needs to be more flexible, too.”

According to Dellenger’s story, entrance into the new subdivision would require schools to invest a minimum of $30,000 per year per athlete into an “enhanced educational trust fund” for at least half of the school’s countable athletes. Title IX framework still applies which would assure at least 50% of the investment must be directed at women athletes.

Other decisions — including scholarship limits and countable coaches — would be up to the schools within the subdivision. The proposal is not yet a final product to be approved but is instead a “conversation starter” per Dellenger.

It will be interesting to see how this story develops, but it is another step in the ongoing evolution and development of college athletics as a whole.