A break-up of big-time college football and the NCAA isn’t a new idea, but it continues to pick up mainstream support. One very influential athletic director, Ohio State‘s Gene Smith, openly discussed the possibility while speaking to ESPN at the Big Ten’s spring meetings.
Telling Heather Dinich that she was “just throwing ideas out,” she proposed that the 10 FBS leagues move under the College Football Playoff banner, while having the NCAA continue to govern other sports, including basketball.
“We [can] create our own rules, create our own governance structure, have our own requirements, we have our own requirements, whatever that might be, ”Smith said in the ESPN interview. “Reality The reality is, those schools who offer 85 scholarships in football have made a different commitment and that needs to be addressed.”
Smith, who says he’d keep academic requirements in place, said that he’s received “mixed reviews” from his peers when discussing the proposal.
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The discussion comes as the NCAA is in the middle of significant upheaval. In April, the NCAA announced the impending departure of embattled President Mark Emmert. College sports have also been turned on their head by changes in both transfer and name, image and likeness (NIL) rules, leading to unprecedented player movement. College Football Playoff expansion has also been on the table, although it was tabled for the time being in February.
Smith believes the issues surrounding the CFP also play into his idea.
“The CFP model needs to be looked at differently,” Smith said. “As we consider expansion, we ought to consider the structure. The reality is we need to begin to control our own space. We’ve got to make sure we’re careful with antitrust, but at the end of the day, we need different rules. ”
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