That the AAC will try to play the game of the power five conference is not a surprise. It is something that the AAC has to do to survive in the near term, and in the long as well. The new structure under which all NCAA schools will operate could be in place as early as this coming August. So the AAC's decision to announce their intentions to opt into stipends makes sense.
The conference as a whole could not make this declaration without the expressed permission of the member institutions, which is precisely what Aresco has.
"As a conference, we've already committed to providing a full cost of attendance stipend if that's passed," he told media in Hartford shortly before UConn faced Memphis at home. "Whatever it ends up being, whether it’s a fixed amount, we’ve committed as a conference that we’re going to do it."
There isn't a soul alive who can speak eloquently on how this system is going to work, and what kind of money is going to be involved for those providing the stipend.
The 2,000$ idea that was floated a couple of years ago could wind up being the system, because it had (at the time) a fairly broad base of support among the power schools. That was torpedoed almost instantly by the smaller, less affluent schools that make up the bottom half of division 1. That proposal could find new life under a new system where those schools have no say in how a place like Texas or Alabama is run,
Likewise for Steve Spurrier's reasonable (in my opinion) idea to pay players out of the contract's of coaches where a portion of any coaches salary is set aside for the players. I liked that idea when he first brought it up, I continue to enjoy it when he breaks it out during SEC media days year after year.
Another idea that I have heard is setting up a trust system where a set amount is set aside for the athlete for every year they compete in whatever sport. When they graduate or exhaust their eligibility they gain access to that trust to do with the money as they plan.
The bottom line is that no one has a clear cut vision for how this thing should work today. Someone in a position of power could have such a notion, but have kept it quiet to this point, only to unleash it during negotiations and win the day with it. All we as fans know is that it is going to happen sooner rather than later.
For now we wait to see how it shakes out.