In recent months, SEC commissioner Mike Slive has referenced the possibility — the possibility, mind you — that a new division could be created within the NCAA’s existing football structure. We, like many others, viewed such comments as a reminder to all that the big-money schools might just someday form their own private football club at the top of the NCAA food chain if no ground could be gained toward providing athletes with full-cost-of-tuition scholarships.
Today, Slive did talk about scholarships but he did not talk about any new split between the haves and have-nots of college athletics. The commissioner stated instead that recent conversations with his fellow commissioners gave him the impression that a “meaningful solution” can be reached.
Keep in mind, however, that any move that allows the richest schools to provide more financial help to student-athletes will in essence increase the gap between the richer schools and the poorer schools. The toothpaste is already oozing out of the tube and that will continue to be the case regardless of whether schools in the same division offer different levels of scholarship help or some of those schools are broken off into a new division.
UPDATE – Slive was asked later in the day what the alternative might be should the NCAA not make changes on the financial aid front. “I’m going to let you decide that.”
He might not have rattled it too loudly during his opening speech, but the commissioner did have his saber with him, it turns out.