HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The commissioner of the American Athletic Conference said Saturday that his schools are committed to matching the power conferences when it comes to providing stipends to athletes.
NCAA President Mark Emmert and others have pushed for a stipend to help athletes defray some of their expenses that are not covered by scholarships, such as laundry and travel.
A big question has been whether the biggest conferences should be given autonomy to do that, without mandating it for smaller conferences that might not be able to afford it.
Aresco, who spoke before Saturday's basketball game between Memphis and UConn, says the American is committed to provide a full cost-of-attendance stipend if that is what is eventually approved.
''Whatever it ends up being, whether it is a fixed amount (or not), we have committed as a conference, pledged as a conference, that we're going to do it,'' he said.
A straw vote taken at last month's NCAA convention showed nearly 60 percent of Division I administrators, commissioners and other officials supported the concept of autonomy for the power conferences on issues including stipends.
The conferences that could be granted autonomy are the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten, Pac-12, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12.
''We have every intention of being a conference just like those other five,'' Aresco said.
Aresco said there are a lot of issues still to be decided, such as whether schools within the conference could provide stipends for some sports, such as football, and not others.
''You're going to have Title IX issues here,'' he said. ''We want to make sure obviously that if there is a stipend that it includes our women's sports.''
A steering committee overseeing the process is expected to have a plan for NCAA members to vote on this summer.