Division IV and the next round of conference realignment

And while we’re on the subject of big conference autonomy, John Pennington asks an excellent question that I’ve pondered lately, namely, if the mid-majors call Mike Slive’s bet and the Power Five react by forming the Division IV Slive threatened to create if he didn’t get his way, will that lead to a new round of conference expansion/realignment?

Pennington’s in the “duh, of course it will” camp and cites a couple of reasons why.  First (and most obvious), there are going to be some programs left out initially that want to be brought into the tent.  Because, you know, money.  Second, a hyper division is going to lead to plenty of political jockeying among the power conferences and a bigger conference will be able to cast more votes on a contentious issue.

I tend to agree that a new division will set off another realignment whirlwind.  I’d like to think it would be for a positive purpose, as it would give the power conferences a chance to realign into something that could benefit the postseason in a way that would strengthen the regular season – the chance to organize four sixteen-team conferences, with the conference championship games serving as the first round of the playoffs for the national title.  But I’m kidding myself, of course.  For one thing, that would mean lopping off one school (current power conference members plus Notre Dame total sixty-five.)  Second, when’s the last time these people did the right thing?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Division IV and the next round of conference realignment

  1. Senator, I’m with you. The people running college sports at the top will screw this up so badly we’ll be pining for the days pre-1992.

  2. Macallanlover

    Do you really think they would not force ND into one of the four conferences? I cannot imagine that being allowed and do not think ND would even expect it. Such a structure would be unacceptable to a vast majority of fans, ADs, Presidents, etc., imo

    • Macallan, I agree with you. The other 63 can force ND to play by saying we won’t play you and won’t allow you in the playoff without conference membership. I would like to see a realignment proposal that maintains competitive balance and geographic integrity.

      • Macallanlover

        And for those last reasons alone you cannot give ND schedule autonomy while forcing the other 64 teams to play in a rigidly, structured environment with mandated schedules. There were times when ND might have had a strong enough hand to require special treatment but that time is long gone, and their broadcast partner, NBC, will squeeze them on this too…..for the first time ever.

  3. what about the soccer model where the bottom 2 or 3 drop back to Div 1 and the top Div 1 come up. I believe you mentioned this a while ago when speaking about the four 16 team conferences

    • Pipe dream. Not gonna happen, except in the mind of certain bloggers.

      • Mayor

        There is no reason why the 4 mega conferences would be limited to 16 teams each. Some could have 18 or even 20 members. The optimum playoff model requires 4 conferences with a likely minimum of 16 teams each with 2 divisions in each mega-conference.

      • Trbodawg

        I agree it’s a pipe dream. But sure would be nice. Competition at the top AND the bottom.

  4. joe

    No way gtu makes it to division iv