NCAA president Mark Emmert has taken a lot of heat over the past year — and justifiably so — but he has been open to such issues as recruiting deregulation and further splitting up the levels of college football.
Of course, his job is to be open and listen to his membership. And listening is what Emmert said he’d do while visiting with Big 12 officials on Wednesday when it came to the topic of a possible new subdivision in college athletics — one that is geared toward the five power conferences.
From the Houston Chronicle:
Some have speculated the fourth subdivision would include teams from the five power football conferences.
Emmert conceded that the idea could work within the NCAA’s current framework but ultimately will have to be decided by its member institutions.
“That’s not my decision,” he said. “That’s the members’ decision. And I hope they look at it. I think it would be healthy and the right thing to do.”
Emmert conceded that the biggest issues facing his organization include a growing economic disparity across the Football Bowl Subdivision, particularly among those institutions with huge budget differences from smaller schools outside the big conferences. UT led all NCAA schools with $163.3 million in athletic revenue in 2012. Louisiana-Monroe had the smallest athletic revenue among FBS schools with $11.3 million.
As it stands today, schools like UT and ULM vote for and follow the same rules, yet their respective athletic departments operate on opposite ends of spectrum. Should the same rules, or even the possibility of new implementations like additional athlete compensation, apply to two entirely different programs?
Those are questions the NCAA’s membership will ultimately have to figure out answers to, and it’s no secret Emmert is willing to go in either direction.
Whether an additional split with an entirely new governing structure happens sooner or later — if it happens — it seems far more likely than a complete break from the NCAA. If nothing else, the Big Ten’s stink about recruiting deregulation shows there are plenty of powerful people in college athletics who still feel they need the NCAA.