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NCAA Board Chairman: No Super-Division Split Between Rich And Poor Leagues

rich-and-poorFor the past two years, the biggest conferences in the land have campaigned for the right to pay, er, I’m sorry, provide full-cost-of-tuition scholarships to their student-athletes.  While some media members have spoken of a complete split from the NCAA if the big boys don’t get their way, we don’t view that as a realistic option.  It would be nigh impossible to create an entirely new sports “government” with new rules, new enforcement options, and a new leadership structure that all of the large-budget schools could agree upon.  For that reason, we’ve envisioned a super-division at the tippy-top of Division I.

We still believe that will be the eventual result.  The top 65-80 FBS schools will someday have their own “players get a little sump’m sump’m” division.

In September, however, word leaked that for now –  for nowthere would be an attempt to keep Division I intact with some power given to the biggest conferences to pass rules and regulations that impact only themselves.  Instead of “separate but equal,” the scuttlebutt suggested the NCAA’s Division I would become “together but unequal.”

So much for the backstory.  This week, Wake Forest president and Division I board of directors chairman Nathan Hatch has told USA Today that he doesn’t believe we’ll be seeing a super-division any time soon:

 

“From what I’ve heard in the association, I think people would like to have one Division I, but in some ways, a structure that will make certain differentiations between small conferences and big conferences.  I think people like having one division…

I do think the big conferences have to be granted certain degrees of freedom; their issues are so much different than much smaller institutions that somehow if we’re going to have the big tent, one division, we’re going to have to take into account that they’re very different.  There’s great unity on certain things like student-athlete welfare, academic standards, those sorts of things, and it’s one of the reasons we want to stay together.”

 

Hatch will head a subcommittee of seven Division I board of directors who will work with president Mark Emmert to cook up a this new legislative structure.

Should such a system come to pass, there will apparently be some mechanism that allows schools and conferences decide for themselves if they want to provide full-cost-of-tuition scholarships, if they want to provide more meals for their students, if they want to increase bowl per diems, etc.  How such a system will work is anyone’s guess.  And if Mike Slive, Jim Delany, Larry Scott and John Swofford aren’t happy with the end result, you can be sure super-division rumblings will begin anew.

Our guess?  Super-division rumblings will indeed begin anew because the hybrid solution sounds like a Band-Aid rather than the full-scale procedure the biggest leagues desire.  We shall see.

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Dooley Talks About New SEC Signing Cap

When the SEC discussed adding a soft 25-man signing cap at last month’s league meetings, 12 SEC football coaches voted against the idea.  A day later, 12 SEC presidents voted the other way.  Now coaches like Tennessee’s Derek Dooley are having to adjust to the new legislation.

Dooley is still concerned about how coaches will be able to deal with attrition during the offseason:


“The unknown that you have every year from an academic standpoint, the unknown on the high school players’ academic standpoint, the unknown of injuries that might happen in the spring and summer of the high school player, the unknown of things that might happen on your roster — there’s a lot of unknown when you’re sitting there in January.  So many things can happen between January and August.  I think the bigger issue that I’ve said all along is that this is just a Band-Aid.  It’s not addressing the issue.

The issue is we have four enrollment periods that we did not have when I played.  We have a mid-year enrollment, we have a summer-school enrollement, we have a fall enrollment and we have a delayed enrollment.  The (National Letter of Intent) only addresses the fall enrollment period, so we have a flawed document that was created when the rules were different.  So we need to address the issue, and that’s revising and changing the NLI so it can speak on all those enrollment periods.”


The jury is still very much out on Dooley the Coach.  But Dooley the Man is a pretty sharp guy.  Law school will do that for a fellow.

The SEC has had the most liberal interpretation of signing day restrictions for several years.  That much really can’t be argued.  So we’re not moved by coaches who complain about dealing with attrition issues that coaches in other conferences have been dealing with for years.

However, the coach is correct in stating that the NCAA needs to take a bigger look at the fundamental problem — the national letter of intent is an outdated document.

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