There has been much discussion in the past few years about changes in the college football landscape. Conferences have expanded, schools have bounced all over the place, and all of this led everyone to speculate about what the changes would mean and what the end product would be. Many have taken on the belief that it is an inevitability that there will be the creation of a new division, consisting of four or five "super conferences", each consisting of sixteen teams. Add in the drama over whether or not players should be paid, and the stage is set for some dramatic changes in the near future.
Mark Emmert shed a little more light on that conversation when he talked to the Indianapolis Star about the topic. Apparently, Emmert has called a summit of Division one schools in January. He's not pulling any punches about the magnitude of these meetings either:
The NCAA’s leadership --- the executive committee and the D-I Board --- will meet Aug. 8 in Indianapolis and begin discussing models for a drastically different way to govern the 348 schools in the association’s top division. Emmert said he expects significant changes to how the NCAA operates to be adopted within the next year.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of an atom bomb screaming through the sky as it draws ever closer to a system that will be left ravaged and unrecognizable in its wake. So what will the aftermath look like? Emmert has an idea:
One structural change being discussed is a subdivision within Division I of the power football conferences. Delany said he can see a situation where schools would compete in the same NCAA championship, such as the Division I men’s basketball tournament, "but provide a different package of benefits (for athletes) based on high resource vs. middle resource."
Said Emmert: "We don’t know what either of those models would look like. But I certainly think it’s a viable option for conversation."
First off, I like that nobody in this discussion is "low resource", only "high vs. middle." My two cents? Not. Gonna. Happen. The idea to keep disparate teams in the same division but give them different rules is absurd. You have to give a clean break and establish a new division, or you have to maintain a single set of rules. In my mind, there is nothing in the middle. Since the single rule set seems unlikely, that means we are probably correct to anticipate a divisional split.
But what would be the fallout of a split? Will we see inter-divisional bowl games? It's basically impossible to fill the existing bowl slot with only the 64 or 80 teams that would be in the new division, and the bowls aren't going to just go quietly into the good night.
Can the lower-tier "BCS teams" even afford to support a split?
How will this affect tax-exempt status? Divisional barriers have existed, but anyone can buy their way into the current Div I, provided they have the funds. In this new division, that won't be the case. Whoever gets in gets in, and after that the door is shut to future callers.
So what do you guys think? What will come of these meetings? How will the college football landscape look in 5, 10, 20 years?