Loren Tate: Uncertain times ahead for college football
With fingers pointed high to test wind currents, NCAA committees, administrators and politicians are weighing multiple plans to reshape collegiate sports -- meaning football -- as they try to make sense of excessive name-image-likeness inducements and wild free agent transfers. • The California State Assembly is refining a complicated bill to, among other things, require the state's colleges and universities to set aside half of football revenue, less the scholarship package, for players of that sport. • Federal legislation is desperately needed to bring all states into reasonable compliance on NIL payments, particularly where recruiting is involved. • Universities must determine how to award the court's newly approved "cost of attendance" bonus, which can go as high as $5,980 for student-athletes. • Scuttlebutt grows on the logic of 131 Divisions 1 football programs splitting from the NCAA into their own governing body, the most extreme alignment highlighting a Super Conference of 48 or 60 teams (pick a number).
• Gary Barta, Iowa AD and former president of the current 4-team football playoff, leads those who would require players to sit out a year on their second transfer. Meanwhile, the Big Ten is deeply divided on the serious business of football alignment and/or whether to have divisions. Problem is, wherever you put Ohio State, that creates an immediate imbalance. With new NCAA rules influencing the Pac-12 to drop divisions, Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour is on record favoring the end of East-West alignment. The Illini AD is on record suggesting a maximum of one realignment move at most, and preferably around the 12-team playoff arrangement which is expected to 2026.
For now, like every member of the West Division, he almost certainly would prefer status quo. Face it, the seven West Division programs have their best chance for success with the current setup. But status quo in the alignment business will always be what's best for Illinois.
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