Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

It’s no secret that many find the NCAA dysfunctional.  It’s bad enough that even the organization itself knows something needs to be done soon to get its act together.  (As to what that something is, we’re still waiting to hear.)  The question I’ve got is whether the natives are beginning to get restless.  And this shot across the bow fired by Jim Delany makes me think that perhaps some are.

… Simmering in the background is speculation that failure to find common ground now could lead the 60-some richest and most prestigious programs — all powered by football — to break away to conduct their affairs as they see fit.

Starting with the Big Ten’s Jim Delany and Southeastern’s Mike Slive, who run the colleges’ two dominant conferences, officials insist that’s not on any agenda. “Don’t blame structure,” Delany says, “until you have a group of core presidents, athletic directors, commissioners and coaches who are willing to embrace real change” and are shot down.

“At that juncture,” he says, “then I think it’s fair to look at how else you get it.”

We’re moving closer to the day when Delany and Slive, plus those who choose to align with them, threaten to take their ball home if the NCAA doesn’t embrace what they want.  (And if you don’t think they’re already in the process of making a list and checking it twice, you’re more clueless than Mark Emmert.)  Can the mid-majors live with what the big boys want?  Stay tuned.

13 Comments

Filed under College Football, The NCAA

13 responses to “Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

  1. TennesseeDawg

    If the mid majors don’t like it, they can take their ball and go play on the little league field down by the city dump. Many of them can’t put together a good argument for even being in D1A in the first place.

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  2. Lumpdawg

    If we’re breaking away, do we have to bring Jim Delany? He’s just going whine that the SEC needs to be handicapped in order for the OSU to compete.

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  3. The other Doug

    It is starting to get obvious that Slive and Delaney are flexing their conferences muscles in front of the outsiders. The threat of the big boys forming their own conference plus the financial burden of paying players sends a clear message to the mid majors.

    I’m still waiting for someone to suggest increasing the number of DII schools per season. That would kill the bottom half of DI.

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  4. There was a good discussion of this over at LHB a couple of days ago when Slive’s endorsement of “full cost” scholarships came up. It’s clear that for football, there are way too many FBS programs. I think the NCAA would be OK with a change in the structure of college football (a “super” D1) as long as the change doesn’t affect the goose that lays the golden egg, March Madness. If the break involved taking men’s basketball (and, eventually, the CBS contract), the NCAA and the smaller D1 schools will fight it like crazy. I like the idea of a “super” D1 where the schools can offer full-cost scholarships for all sports, and the NCAA basketball tournament stays where it is with the “super” and regular D1 programs all in one tournament.

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    • On the surface, adding another tier to D-1 seems like a sensible solution. The problem on the basketball side is the simple math. If the top 64 programs broke off completely and formed their own association, they’d still get paid handsomely for their basketball tourney broadcast rights – and would split those revenues among a pool of schools only 20% of the size of the one which currently exists. You don’t have to be a Jim Delany to count how much more each share could be.

      I suspect if these schools make a move, it will wind up being a complete break. It’ll be too profitable for them to do otherwise.

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      • Senator, great point as usual. The threat of a complete break is what scares the NCAA to death because the tournament loses its star basketball programs. For example, Duke will go with the “super” division purely for basketball even if they never win another football game. That’s why I see the NCAA enabling another tier in D1 for the top tier even if it screws the powerhouse mid-major basketball programs (Butler) and the basketball programs that support the rest of a school’s athletic program (Villanova). In my opinion, the Villanovas of the world get the shaft because the basketball players they recruit will now go to the programs that offer “full-cost” scholarships. The only issue is that a new March Madness can likely only support 24-32 teams in the current format (one and done) or they would have to go to an NBA style playoff based on series. This is likely less attractive to the networks than the existing format but may pay out larger on a per team basis due to the denominator.

        If the complete break happens, how long does CBS honor the existing NCAA Tournament contract? How long after that does the NCAA continue to exist?

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        • Darrren Rovell

          +1 on the March Madness assessment. Also, keep in mind that what makes the NCAA basketball tourney relevant/interesting for the casual sports fan is “the bracket.” Its relatively easy to understand, everyone can do it and make picks quickly. The bracket is really what brings it to life for the majority of folks. Deviate from an easy bracket and you most likely diminish the value of the basketball tourney.

          However, if there is a break and it comes with a reasonable college football playoff, I would guess the football playoff would more than offset the loss of value in the basketball tourney.

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          • Darren, I agree with you on the bracket. That’s why I think the NCAA will twist itself into a pretzel to make sure that the star programs stay in the fold for basketball. The 64-team field and how it breaks down nicely into three weekends is a perfect structure for the tournament. It’s compelling television over a month when you include the conference tournaments. It has also ruined the regular season in college basketball, but that discussion is for another day. I’m just not sure how the top 60 or so programs get the basketball side of the equation right.

            As a college football fan, I love the idea of a “super” division with an appropriately sized playoff that doesn’t ruin the best regular season in sports.

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  5. Go Dawgs!

    If the power conferences leave Middle Tennessee State behind, where is Georgia Tech going to find nonconference road trips?

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  6. Macallanlover

    Hate to see myself agreeingwith Delany and Slime but a divorce is in order here. The differences that divide the “haves” and “have nots” have increased with the huge revenue contracts. Either create a “super D1”, or form a new organization. (Yes, the ability for this to get us to the first true National Champion in CFB is the best part of this to me. It looks to be the only way to accomplish this in my lifetime.)

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    • Wonderful Ohio on the Gulf 'Dog

      D-1 is way too cumbersome with 120 teams, 70 of which play in bowl games.

      Five 12-team conferences seems about right sending eight teams to a seven game play-off.

      If the mid-majors want to play on that stage, they can up-grade their programs and facilities to make a bid to join one of the five conferences.

      The conferences can either harangue Vandy, Duke, Wake, etc. to up-grade or compete in the conference in non-football sports only.

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  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    Slive is doing a pretty good job hanging back and letting Delaney be the bird dog.

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