The college football landscape is in a shift. The decisions that are to be made during the next NCAA meeting will determine if this shift is a smooth transitional slide toward improvement, or a 9.0 earthquake.
In case you haven't heard, this week during the SEC meetings, Commissioner Mike Slive stated that the NCAA will grant autonomy to the the major conferences within Division 1, or those top conferences would create a Division 4 level with it's own separate set of governing rules. Those conferences include the ACC, Big 12, B1G, PAC 12, and the SEC.
There is a tremendous amount at stake here. Money being the prime factor in all of this. The creation of a Division 4 would all but completely dry up said monies for the remaining schools in Division 1.
If you think all of this just popped up this past week, day, or year, you would be wrong.
Looking back over the past 5 years, we have seen conference expansions, and new conferences created. These are the building blocks that led to where we are today. Moves by the Mountain West to try and get to 16 teams, and the Big East losing it's grip on what was once their top programs, are all parts of the puzzle that has led to this point.
Positioning. Every school that wants a larger slice of the pie, has tried to position themselves for that reason. Louisville to the ACC is the latest example. Nobody wants to be left out. Who can blame them?
During the annual meeting of the South Eastern Conference this past week, a record 309.6 million dollars was distributed to the schools. Nearly 21 million dollars for each school. Think these schools and the conference itself won't fight to keep that? You better think again.
Much like the proposed 10 second rule, the reasoning used by the top conferences of student athlete well being, is a small part of the entirety in this demand. That student athletes on full scholarship aren't actually receiving "full" paid scholarships is deplorable at its core. That financial assistance to eliminate that under current rules provisions, and thus incurring a violation, is absurd. This should have never been allowed to happen. That it did, is proof that the NCAA is lethargic and incapable of making sound judgements on these issues.
Granting autonomy will allow for much more flexible and faster changing of rules. The dinosaur is dying a slow death, and autonomy will allow for the top conferences to self govern while remaining under the NCAA umbrella.
In an article posted by Charles Goldberg on the official Auburn Athletics website, Mr. Goldberg reports;
Big schools want to spread the wealth. If they're not allowed to, a new division could be next.
"By going to Division IV you would create rules for your division
just like you create rules for Division I. Division II has its own
rules," Slive said. "But we think the NCAA is better served, and college
athletics is better served, if we could all stay together in Division
"This is a way to retain the collegiate model. I think it would be a
disappointment, and in my view, a mistake, not to adopt the model.
"We've said we believe the NCAA is the appropriate umbrella
organization for intercollegiate athletics. Everything we've done and
thought about has been in the context of being in the NCAA."
Clearly, this move was to rally support of the autonomy issue from the schools that would remain in Division 1 if the Division 4 were to be created. The schools that would be left out with the creation of the new D4 will certainly be heard if they cry out in favor of autonomy for the major conferences.
In August, the NCAA will vote on the restructuring of the D1 program. Hopefully, the sleeping giant will awake to its senses, and grant autonomy, and not cut the throat of the remaining D1 schools.
Want to be in the middle of an earthquake? Or, nah?