The dividing line between the haves and have-nots in college football, and collegiate athletics in general, continues to widen. Concern over the possible vote for autonomy has been a major talking point this offseason, and the viewpoints for and against the extra power for the power conferences have been sparking debate left and right. Now Texas Athletics Director Steve Patterson has gotten involved, suggesting those opposing autonomy are trying to revert to a past generation of NCAA governance.
“It’s a part of the everyday business right now,” Patterson said in an interview with Sports Business Journal. “There’s five conferences that want to do the best they can for their student athletes and provide them with the best outcomes. There’s a bunch of other schools that are fairly atavistic in their viewpoints and want to take the rules back to 1950. That’s not going to happen.”
Boise State president Bob Kustra previously took aim at the power conferences, suggesting the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC are being selfish and putting academics second for the benefit of athletics. That notion has been disputed by those from the power conferences, of course. Patterson says Texas and other schools are in a position to be able to do more for student-athletes, and every school should be able to respect the differences each school has.
“There’s nothing wrong with having different kinds of programs at different schools,” Patterson said. “We’re in a different position. We ought to be able to respect our differences.”
Patterson even went so far as to suggest the five power conferences should be able to operate under a separate set of guidelines or powers or threaten to leave and start a new organization. That is a concept that has been mentioned before, with the whole Division IV idea.
“They need to let the more well-resourced conferences operate, or these five conferences need to leave. It’s that simple,” Patterson said, referring to the non-power conferences. “We’ve waited far too long and we’ve been far too accommodating. … I think there’s a harder and harder resolve as each day goes by for the institutions in higher-profile conferences to take the necessary moves.”
The line has been drawn. Choose your side.
Helmet sticker to Dr. Saturday.
Boise State never officially joined the Big East during the height of the conference realignment madness in the past couple of years, but the university will have to pay some sort of an exit fee after initially agreeing to join the conference. According to a report by The Idaho Statesman, Boise State and the American Athletic Conference are heading to mediation next month to come to a settlement over exit fees stemming from when the university left the conference at the altar.
Boise State decided to back out of an agreement to join the Big East when the conference lost the core of its basketball operations. The “Catholic Seven” took the Big East flag and started a new conference under the same name while the remains of the football conference rebranded under the American Athletic Conference. But Rutgers accepted an invitation to the Big Ten and Louisville accepted a spot in the ACC. Boise State and San Diego State decided it was best to stay put in the Mountain West Conference, but Boise State filed a lawsuit against the AAC claiming the school was damaged by the inability of the AAC to maintain the conference membership Boise State thought it would be a part of. The conference countered with its own lawsuit seeking $5 million from the university as a fee for backing out of a membership expansion agreement.
“I’m hopeful that we can put this to bed,” Boise State President Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman. “… There wouldn’t be a mediation if the two parties didn’t agree we were closer.”
Boise State actually may have come out ahead in the whole realignment process anyway by getting a better deal with the Mountain West Conference when it comes to media rights and not having to pay for increased travel expenses that would have come with playing in the AAC, which will add Tulsa, Tulane and East Carolina this fall. Had Boise State (and San Diego State) joined a Big East conference that managed to keep Rutgers, Louisville and Notre Dame (in all sports besides football), then things may have been different.
Before Boise State got cold feet with the Big East, TCU also left the Big East before ever officially joining. TCU accepted a spot in the Big 12 following the loss of Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC. The Big 12 also added West Virginia. Though never officially a member, TCU agreed to pay the Big East an exit fee of $5 million. Boise State had a similar agreement in place, calling fo a $5 million penalty if it did not join the conference. The Big East sued TCU to get the money but dropped the suit once TCU agreed to pay.
This has been a busy couple of days for Boise State news of course. This week Kustra took aim at power conferences looking for NCAA reform and the university sold the naming rights to Bronco Stadium. Who knows what tomorrow might bring?