What does it tell you that the most rational voice in Kristi Dosh’s piece about playoff revenue distribution comes from Gary Ransdell, the president of Western Kentucky University, who said this:
“It’s those five conferences who have invested the most, have the largest stadiums, and create the television marquee. We just want to be sure we get a little more proportionate share. For the BCS to survive it’s going to take all 120 institutions. The 50 to 60 in those five conferences can’t just play each other. There has to be competition across all the conferences going forward.”
Asked if the current non-AQ conferences would continue to pool their revenue as they do under the current system, Ransdell said, “I would prefer each conference receive whatever is determined. Now that AQ has gone away, I see no reason to have a pooling or gathering of revenue.”
It tells me that Delany’s epic bitch slap of then-WAC commissioner Karl Benson has begun to resonate with mid-major schools. You remember that, don’t you?
Delany sat between SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Scott, the Pac-10’s new commissioner. Only a few feet to Delany’s right sat Benson, but they may have been located on opposite sides of the Earth — much like their polar opposite views of the BCS.
At least on two occasions during the forum, Delany interrupted Benson to hammer his opinion home.
“The BCS has provided greater access,” Benson said. “Look at 120 schools, 11 conferences and to establish opportunities for those student-athletes. To play on the big stage, we’ve been to the big stage. …
“The problem,” Delany interrupted, “is your big stage takes away opportunities for my teams, to play on the stage they created in 1902.”
“If you think you can continue to push for more money, more access to the Rose Bowl, or Sugar Bowl. I have tremendous respect for Boise and TCU. … I think they are tremendous teams that can beat any team in the country on a given day. I think the only question is, ‘Does one team’s 12-0 and another team’s 12-0 equate?’ And that’s where the discussion plays out, not whether or not they’re elite teams or deserving access to the bowl system.
“I’m not sure how much more give there is in the system.”
There isn’t any. The mistake the mid-majors made was focusing on the AQ battle. The big boys just nuked that. And now it’s dawning on the mids that the real battleground is whether they’re going to be around much longer as proud members of D-1 (by the way, are they going to ditch the FBS designation now?). Conference expansion, student-athlete stipends and multi-year scholarships are all current developments that are mid-majors unfriendly – and ominously, two of those are being pushed by the NCAA. The trend lines suggest that a separation between the haves and have-nots of the Division may be coming, and coming soon.
Ransdell realizes that there’s little use in debating how big a share of the pie schools like his should be entitled to when there’s a distinct possibility that they may not even have dessert plates in the near future. College football has arrived at a very different place than it was at when Tulane’s Scott Cowen picked a fight back in 2003, even if Cowen isn’t quite ready to concede that. The big win for the mids this time around isn’t going to be about increasing opportunities for TCU and Boise State to crash the postseason party. It’s going to be for the San Jose States of the college football world to be allowed to continue to ride their coattails to pick up a check.
The next time Jim Delany snarls at you, pay better attention.