Emmert Thinks College Football Playoff Will Spark More Conference Realignment
NCAA President Mark Emmert “believes another round of conference realignment could be sparked by schools trying to position themselves to play in a proposed four-team college football playoff,” according to Dave Skretta of the AP. Emmert said, "If there's going to be significant movement by FBS institutions over the course of the summer, it will be driven by that." Skretta noted that while a four-team playoff “is being worked on by college football officials, how the teams are picked and how a new format affects the rest of the postseason is still to be determined.” Emmert said of the playoff structure, "There's a laundry list of issues. Is it going to be part of the bowls? Isn't it? How do you handle the allocation of money? How do you pick four teams? Do you play on campuses or not?" He also “cautioned that a playoff could deepen an existing gulf between high-resource schools and those with limited financial means.” Emmert added, "When you go back and look at history, the financial differences have always been there, but some universities have huge competitive advantages through history and geography and decisions they've made over decades that are in some ways insurmountable. It just reinforces some of those inherent advantages that some universities have had for a century" (AP, 5/31).
TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN: CBSSPORTS.com’s Dennis Dodd wrote the NCAA “has had an increasingly smaller stake in football … but that doesn't mean Emmert shouldn't be heard.” Emmert said that “the rapid reorganization of college conferences is an adjustment of a very large market.” Dodd noted the NCAA's budget “is largely funded by the multi-billion NCAA tournament contract with CBS and Turner.” Its influence on football “has decreased to the point that, during the bowl season, it does little more than assign officials” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/31). SPORTING NEWS’ Matt Hayes cited a source as saying that “even though there are distinct differences in the search for a college football postseason, the money generated will not vary depending on the playoff model.” ESPN, which currently holds rights to the BCS bowl games and national championship game through the ‘13 season, “will have serious competition for both the semifinals and the championship game.” CBS and Fox “will also bid on the new postseason, and NBC -- desperate to get more deeply into college football -- could push the payout to a staggering level no matter the model” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 5/31).
CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT: SI.com’s Andy Staples wrote with only “three weeks until the June 20 deadline when conference leaders hoped to have a final playoff model to sell to television executives, the time for compromise draws near.” Univ. of Florida President and SEC BOD Chair Bernie Machen said that the SEC “would not compromise on having the four highest ranked teams in the playoff rather than a group of conference champions.” Machen at the SEC spring meetings said, "We won't compromise on that. I think the public wants the top four. I think almost everybody wants the top four." Staples wrote at this juncture, “such a bold statement raises some serious questions about whether conference leaders can reach a consensus.” It is “one thing for a league leader to say the conference prefers a particular model,” but it is “quite another to eliminate all wiggle room on a particular issue” (SI.com, 5/31). CBSSPORTS.com’s Brett McMurphy wrote SEC Commissioner Mike Slive “will get the bowls or neutral sites for the semifinals” and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany “will get some version of conference champions only.” But then “they will have to reach some level of compromise with the most likely scenario being that perhaps the top three ranked conference champions would qualify along with the highest ranked non-conference champion” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/31).