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College Football: Is This the Year the Big 5 Conferences Leave the NCAA to Form Their Own Organization? | WVUPressBox

Author: Michael Walker

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It seems to become more likely every passing season that the 120 schools in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision will not reach a compromise or consensus on major issues.

The SEC, Big 12, PAC 12, Big 10 and the ACC total 64 schools in what is often referred to as the Big 5 Conferences.

These schools plus the 6 major independents comprise over half of the NCAA FBS total. And they are not happy. The commissioners of the Big 10, SEC and Big 12 have made it clear that the status quo is unacceptable to their members.

Despite what some may believe, It’s really not about the money. The NCAA does a pretty nice balancing act of taking care of the have-nots as well as rewarding the champions. The 2012-2013 NCAA budget was $797 million, of which $712 million came from broadcast rights payments.

Approximately 60% of that income is distributed to Division I schools for operating expenses. About 36% could be considered a “redistribution of wealth” to the smaller schools and non revenue producing sports. The NCAA only spends about 4% for administrative costs. The handling of finances is simply not the issue.

The point of contention for the Big 5 conferences is not being able to control their own destinies. One of the primary complaints is illustrated by a section of the NCAA website regarding athlete eligibility issues:

“NCAA member schools create rules to ensure that the Association’s 430,000 student-athletes compete on equal footing. Various NCAA committees and the national office staff members work to make sure rules are applied fairly.”

The NCAA doesn’t exactly have an impressive track record when dealing with matters related to either players or member schools. The entire body votes on issues that may affect primarily those top 5 conferences. If I’m the president of Bethune-Cookman University, should I have a say in issues related to Alabama, Oklahoma or Oregon?

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference doesn’t have a lot in common with the SEC. They both have  sports teams, that pretty much covers it. The member schools of the SEC have problems with the interaction of players with potential agents that some smaller conferences may not have.

Commissioner Mike Slive of the SEC said in an interview“What we had hoped for was for a total rethink of the rules and regulations as they relate to agents,” Slive said. 

“A task force was formed and began to do some work and then for reasons I’m not clear on, the conversations ended.”Slive also said, “I feel like the current NCAA rules and regulations are part of the problem, they’re not part of the solution.”

That is just one example of the NCAA not being in a realistic position to set policies and rules for such a large number of schools. The ability of current NCAA committees to investigate alleged violations by any one of 120 members in a timely and competent manner is questionable to say the least.

The Big 5 conferences apparently believe they are much better equipped to not only identify the issues faced by their member institutions, but also to investigate and enforce them. How would you like to be the president of a school kicked out of a conference?

Commissioner Bob Bowlsby of the Big 12 said of the NCAA during an interview in July, “It’s probably unrealistic to think that we can manage football and field hockey by the same set of rules. I think some kind of reconfiguration of how we govern is in order.”

He’s confident the commissioners of the five major BCS conferences are unanimous in their belief that transformative change is not only necessary but also imminent. “This is not a time when trimming around the hedges is going to make very much difference,” he said.

On enforcement, Bowlsby believes it’s time to re-evaluate the core purpose of NCAA oversight and restructure the entire process. While he believes a small minority of programs are bending the rules, Bowlsby said enforcement decisions are being made that are inconsistent with the values and aspirations of the organization.

The debacle of the Penn State investigation, conclusions and punishment are just one example of the questionable ability of the NCAA to conduct a competent investigation.

Regardless of your opinion relating to the outcome of that case, it is a perfect example of an investigation being decided largely by perceived public opinion. The punishment levied by the NCAA is still changing.

Another example is the University of Miami investigation. Not only has that been going on for over 2 years without a decision being rendered, the NCAA has had to apologize for the actions of its investigators.

Despite the fact that conferences for the most part are composed of like-minded administrators, they have relatively little involvement in deciding the NCAA rules affecting their members.

This is a situation where individual schools are not well served by the diversity of the organization. Members of the larger conferences are wondering out loud if the conference rules shouldn’t trump those of the NCAA.

After all, the outcomes of criminal allegations are decided by a group of 12, not 120. There is logic and reason behind the idea of being judged by a group of your peers.

I’m neither predicting nor advocating the idea of  5 conferences leaving the NCAA to form an independent or competing organization.

But if they are not given a certain amount of autonomy and self-determination, it could happen. That would not only bankrupt the NCAA, it would destroy it.

Originally published at WVUPressbox.com For many other free national sports articles follow the link below:

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Big 12 Football: Can a Big 12 Team Reach the National Championship Game This Year?

Author: Michael Walker

Is it possible for a Big 12 team to make it to the national championship game this year without a conference championship game? It looks as though it would take Baylor going undefeated in combination with Texas Tech or Oklahoma winning the rest of their remaining games with the exception of Baylor.

Baylor still faces those two teams plus Oklahoma State on their remaining schedule. If the Big 12 had a conference championship game, winning it would practically guarantee a berth in the national championship game provided they were undefeated.

The other undefeated Big 12 team is Texas Tech. The Red Raiders, who I consider one of the best blue collar teams in the Big 12, have quietly reached 6-0 and are ranked number 16 in the AP poll.  Both teams started the season low in the polls and that is hurting them now.

Texas Tech still has the toughest part of their schedule ahead of them. After travelling to play an unpredictable WVU team in Morgantown on October 19th, the Red Raiders still face Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor before finishing against an improving Texas team.

Despite having three teams in the top ten, there is a chance the SEC could miss the national championship game. Number one Alabama and number 14 Missouri are the only SEC teams left undefeated.

The Tide has some tough games remaining with Tennessee and LSU, which just knocked off Florida. LSU is the second highest rated SEC team at number six with one defeat.

Number 14 Missouri still faces Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M. The winner of the SEC East could knock Alabama out of the national championship game without being ranked high enough to make it themselves.

So the conference championship game could knock the SEC out of the national championship game, while the lack of one could keep the Big 12 out. No wonder the Big 12 is conflicted about expanding for the sake of a conference championship game.

The extra quality win of a conference championship game can seal the deal on getting you in, but losing a possible rematch to a team you’ve already beaten can keep a team out of it.

Oregon is undefeated and ranked number two at 6-0. The Ducks still must play Oregon State and Stanford, both currently at 5-1. If Oregon wins out they probably face undefeated and ninth ranked UCLA in the conference championship game. UCLA still faces Stanford and Oregon this year.

In order to reach the national title game, either Oregon or UCLA has to defeat the other one twice. I would guess that neither one of those teams is particularly fond of conference championship games this season. It is definitely a double edged sword.

Then there is Ohio State, currently undefeated and ranked number four. The Buckeyes still face Penn State and finish the season against traditional rival Michigan. If the Buckeyes get past Michigan, they will likely have to face either Michigan State or Nebraska for the Big 10 conference championship.

Then there is the ACC. That’s right, welcome back to the big time, East coast. Third ranked and undefeated Clemson is a shoe in for the national championship game. That is, provided they first overcome undefeated and fifth ranked Florida State this Saturday.

Then Clemson somehow has to find a way to beat SEC rival South Carolina in the final game of the season. That’s something the Tigers haven’t even come close to accomplishing since 2008. And they are playing at South Carolina this year.

Should FSU get by Clemson, the undefeated Seminoles still must face undefeated and 10th ranked Miami and close the season against SEC rival Florida in the swamp. Then there is the ACC title game against Miami, if the currently undefeated Hurricanes can get past 5-1 Va. Tech and FSU.

Now that we’ve cleared all that up, anyone can see the odds of a Big 12 team playing in the national championship game, right? Does anyone have a coin we can flip? Or will it be rock paper and scissors?

From where I’m sitting it looks like Baylor against Oregon. Or not.

Originally published at WVUPressbox along with many other free articles and more!

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